Last chance to have your say on safer speeds

Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Transport’s consultation on its draft Speed Limit Bylaw closes this Sunday 31 March.

Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the amount of feedback received so far is impressive.

“Slower speeds are definitely something that Aucklanders care about and have strong views on, and we’re very pleased with the amount of feedback we’ve received so far.

“You still have a few days to submit feedback and I encourage you to have your say. This is one of the most important consultations AT is holding this year and we want to hear from Aucklanders.”

AT is proposing to lower speed limits on approximately 700km of Auckland’s roads.

90 per cent of the roads are in rural areas, where speeds are proposed to reduce from 100km/h to 80km/h or 60km/h.

In the city centre and some town centres, speed limits are proposed to be lowered to 30km/h to keep people walking, cycling and riding scooters safely.

Find out more about the draft Speed Limit Bylaw and have your say here.

MIL OSI

From the ranges to the sea – engineering safe water

Source: Auckland Council

The first Pasifika woman in New Zealand to study chemical and materials engineering, Watercare Senior Project Engineer Paula Steinmetz is a familiar face at Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant.

At an open day in her final year of high school, Paula was intrigued by the chemical engineering displays.

“I was always interested in maths and science when I was at Onehunga High School, and in Samoan society becoming a doctor has real status so there was a lot of pressure to do medicine – but I hate hospitals!” says Paula.

“So although I was accepted into medical school, I was allowed a year’s deferral and persuaded my parents to let me do a year of engineering.”

By the end of that first year, she knew it was the career for her. After working for ExxonMobil and Shell, Paula joined Watercare five years ago.

“What we do really makes a difference,” she says.

“I’ve lived in countries where the water gave us giardia or the toilets were sheds on stilts built out from the seashore – think long bench seats with cut-out holes. This gives ‘communal’ a whole new meaning!”

Paula was recently part of a female-led team that completed a new air extraction system for the biosolids building at Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plan. Biosolids are types of sewage sludge, with all the associated smell.

The new system has improved the air quality in the biosolids building, making maintenance more flexible. Before the upgrade, work had to be done at certain times of day – after the odours from the biosolids had dissipated.

“The ducts are connected to two fans capable of pumping out 40,000 litres of air per second,” explains Paula.

“They are the largest fans in this plant but, amazingly, they are also very quiet. They use less energy and are less expensive than other options we’d investigated.”

Paula has been working on the $50-million solids stream upgrade at Māngere for the past year. “It’s a complex project,” she says. “The area is congested and we can’t stop the operations, so it involves a lot of communication and co-operation.

“When I started, wastewater was a new field for me, I’ve found the projects I’ve been involved in to be a real learning experience, I’m proud to have been a part of them.”

Exciting things are happening at Māngere, says Paula. “We’re starting to think of the plant as a resource recovery facility, not just a treatment plant. We’re continually looking at new ways of harnessing energy, along with water and nutrients to be re-used.

“At the moment the plant produces 56 per cent of its power needs. By 2025, we plan to be energy neutral, which would be a world-first for a plant of this size.

“There are no downsides to being sustainable and the work of wastewater engineers allows us to be innovative and improve lives at the same time.”  

MIL OSI

Eden Park opens its gates for Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch

Source: Auckland Council

Aucklanders are being invited to come together at Eden Park this Friday (29 March) in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch mosques attack.

Eden Park will open its doors for an afternoon of prayers and remembrance activities to honour the 50 victims of the 15 March tragedy.

‘Together’ – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch is being organised in conjunction with the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) and will be part of a national day of remembrance activities across the country.

Mayor Phil Goff says all Aucklanders are invited to attend the event to remember those who tragically lost their lives in New Zealand’s worst terror attack. 

“I encourage all Aucklanders to come together on Friday to show our support for the Muslim community and the people of Christchurch, and to reaffirm our belief in a multi-cultural and multi-faith city and nation,” says Mayor Goff.

“This will undoubtedly be a poignant occasion and time for reflection as a nation, and the council will be working hard over the coming days to finalise a detailed programme for the event which reflects this.” 

In Christchurch, the National Remembrance Service will begin at 10am in Hagley Park and be broadcast live. Those wishing to watch this event on a large screen can also do so at Eden Park. Those wishing to attend prayers at Eden Park must arrive by 1.15pm. The main remembrance programme will begin at 2.15pm and will include music and performances.

“We welcome Aucklanders to join with us in remembrance of the precious lives that were lost on 15 March,” says FIANZ President Br. Mustafa Farouk.

“The devastation our community has felt has been countered by the love, compassion and support from New Zealanders and from people all around the world. We thank you for standing with us and we look forward to coming together with you again on Friday.” 

Those travelling to the event are advised to plan ahead and aim to get to the venue early where possible.

Further event information will be released later this week.

MIL OSI

Services and passenger trips surge on Auckland’s new transport network

Source: Auckland Council

A complete re-working of Auckland’s public transport network has delivered more services and strong growth in passenger numbers.

Auckland Transport’s New Network saw an 11 per cent increase in trips in February. There were close to 98 million trips for the year, the highest number of passenger trips since the 1950s.

Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the surge in public transport services and patronage.

“The number of people now using public transport has reached record levels, not seen since the days when trams ruled Auckland’s streets. While the distance travelled by Auckland buses has increased 32 per cent each year, running costs have been held to just seven per cent.

“Aucklanders are getting both better services and value for money. And every person using public transport is one less car congesting our roads.”

Mr Goff says more people are using public transport because it is a reliable and efficient way to get around Auckland. “Our services have become more regular and built up around taking people where they want to go.”

The mayor says the process of change region by region was sensible and worked well. “This avoided the issues which occurred in other places such as Wellington. Despite the complexities involved, the implementation of the changes has gone smoothly.”

Colin Homan, Group Manager Integrated Networks Enablement says in 2012 Auckland Transport decided something had to be done to drive an increase in the numbers using public transport.

“We had about 70 million trips a year but the rate of growth was barely matching the population rise. We had to do something radical so we threw out the route map and started again.”

Mr Homan says simplicity is the key. “On 30 main bus and rail routes we introduced a minimum 15 minute frequency, 7am to 7pm, seven days a week.”

The new services have arrived at the same time as electric trains, newer buses, double-decker buses, new stations and integrated ticketing which means passengers now pay for their entire journey rather than each part of it.

Rapid and frequent services

Stacey Van Der Putten, Group Manager Metro Services says Auckland now has a public transport system which is working for more people.

“There has been an increase of 163 per cent in the number of people that live within 500 metres of a rapid or frequent service. Patronage is up in all parts of the city. When this has been done overseas there has often been a downwards turn in patronage but that didn’t happen here.”

She says there are still some issues to work through including the national shortage of bus drivers.

“We’re nearly there, the last region to be changed is Waiheke in October. We are also working to complete additional infrastructure and we want to improve capacity on some services and provide even more frequent routes.”

Auckland Transport is also investigating first-and-final leg solutions to access the New Network without needing to use the private car. AT is currently developing an On-Demand Rideshare roadmap to expand AT Local services to complement or replace Local scheduled feeder bus services. Other options to get people to public transport are bike, e-bike, e-scooter, and ride-share – services that are likely to be delivered by the private sector.

Click here for a PDF guide to the new transport network.

MIL OSI

Making a splash just got easier at Browns Bay Beach

Source: Auckland Council

Pontoon paddling will delight swimmers at Browns Bay Beach and other nearby sites for years to come thanks to funding by Hibiscus and Bays Local Board.

The new Browns Bay pontoon will be installed in time for the school holidays in April.

Manly and Waiake beaches, and Arkles, Tindalls and Stanmore bays, all have pontoons open from October to April each year.

Although several areas will have pontoons for swimmers to enjoy, Little Manly Beach dippers will have to make a splash at a nearby pontoon because the seabed makes it risky to install one there.

Auckland Council Community Facilities team assess all pontoon sites. Criteria include shelter from winds and storm swells, adequate low tide water depth and distance from the shoreline at high tide, as well as being accessible from popular recreation spots but being unlikely to impact other activities such as boat ramps, surfing or ski lanes.

Assessed and ruled out, are sites at the Ōrewa estuary, Matakatia, and Rothesay, Murrays, Campbells and Mairangi bays.

Project delivery head John Schermbrucker says, “It is very disappointing that a pontoon can’t be installed at Little Manly but it is the right decision.

“The site is deemed unsafe for a pontoon because at all tides people have to cross a rocky seabed to get to it, which becomes hazardous.”

Pontoons have no moving parts or pinch points and are anchored in place with a concrete mooring block.

MIL OSI

From the ranges to the sea – for the health of Auckland’s water

Source: Auckland Council

“Water quality has always been a concern for Aucklanders,” says Arash Farjood.

“And at Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters team, our aim is to improve water quality in the region.”

As Senior Healthy Waters Specialist in Auckland Council’s Wai Ora Strategic Programmes team, Arash Farjood’s role is about the big picture.

He’s currently working on collaborative projects that aim to improve the management of Auckland’s on-site wastewater systems on Waiheke Island and across Auckland and is part of the team developing a water strategy for our region.

It’s a good thing he’s passionate about water.

“Improving wastewater management for areas of Auckland that rely on on-site wastewater systems fascinates me,” says Arash.

“At Healthy Waters I have been given the opportunity to get involved in projects I am interested in – to follow my passion and make a difference in our water future.”

A crucial step toward safeguarding public health, Arash explains, is protecting our natural ecosystem and building resilience in our community for the future. Aucklanders need to be using our precious water resource wisely and preventing pollution to our pristine environment.

“Coming from a water-scarce region in the Middle-East where we hardly get 200mm of rain in most years, every drop of water has always been precious to me,” he says. “We are blessed to have plenty of that in Auckland.”

Arash’s role means he is always on the lookout for knowledge gaps so that he and the team can develop forward-looking strategies for improving the way we are managing our waters.

And it’s for this reason that Arash urges people to have their say on Our Water Future. The document is not about telling people what Auckland Council has done or is planning to do, he says. “Rather, it is to have a conversation with the community and to hear from them their concerns and hopes about our waters.”

Clean, healthy water is essential to our future. As our region continues to grow and change, we need to look after this precious taonga. Visit akhaveyoursay.nz to have your say on how we should waterproof our future. Feedback is open until 19 April.

Read more about the Our Water Future: Auckland’s water discussion on OurAuckland.

MIL OSI

Papakura Art Group needs a hand

Source: Auckland Council

When Old Central School Hall users complained to Papakura Local Board about access to their cherished facilities, they painted a grim picture.

Many of the members were older and struggled to haul easels, paints and other associated artistic paraphernalia to their classes from the car park – if by some miracle they could find a park close to the hall in the first place.

Papakura Art Group members Glenda Kenney and Lyn Garrett were chosen to attend a board meeting and outline member’s problems, and they found a receptive audience.

A common-sense approach

Just a few weeks later board chair Brent Catchpole and Manurewa-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman were on site with council facilities staff and Auckland Transport representatives.

Art group members called in reinforcements from the Papakura Budgeting Service, also based in the hall, and came armed with solutions of their own.

“We are just asking for a little common sense. We used to be able to access the hall from the carpark, but car stops went in. There is already one space marked for no parking, but people just park in it anyway,” Mrs Kenney says.

“All that’s needed is to take the car stop out, enforce the no parking, and let hall users access the hall.”

Board chair Brent Catchpole says it seems crazy to be renting out a hall and then denying users easy access to it.

“We are confident we can get something sorted out, but we have to be careful we don’t just create parking around the hall only for it to be snapped up by people using the nearby public carpark.”

Cr Newman was impressed by the artist’s willingness to provide solutions. 

“They have a short-term fix, a proposal that would work medium-term and even a long-term solution to introduce angle-parking.”

Council officers have been asked to investigate a range of options.

MIL OSI

From the ranges to the sea – a day in the life of a dam technician

Source: Auckland Council

Music videos, TV shoots, assisting migrating fish, maintaining water quality, dams, pipes and valves – all of the above could be in a day’s work for Watercare Dam Technician Gareth Whittington.

“The dam technician’s role is really diverse,” says Gareth.

“There is a lot that the public doesn’t see – all the parts that make the system work need constant maintenance.”

When his role doesn’t require assisting Kiwi musicians on video shoots or facilitating scenes for Power Rangers at Waitakere Dam, Gareth looks after the infrastructure that keeps Auckland’s water stored safely.

“Dam technicians and the Environmental Assets team are also responsible for water quality tasks related to the reservoirs, both upstream and downstream,” he says.

The catchment area is part of this responsibility. Gareth and the Watercare team advocate that no herbicides or chemicals are used within the catchment and monitor this to keep the fresh water uncontaminated.

“The trees and vegetation in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges are part of what makes New Zealand iconic around the world,” says Gareth.

“It still needs maintenance, so we make sure this is taken care of by watching for anything that may overgrow or slip into the water. Slips or loose debris floating in the reservoir can have an impact on the treatment process down the line.”

“Water clarity, biological and algal content, and temperature all play their part in the quality of water,” explains Gareth.

“Dam technicians look after the aeration lines that mix the water in the reservoir to make sure the water contents and quality varies from top to bottom.”

This is done by releasing compressed air at the bottom of the dam, the bubbles rise to the top causing a mixing current. At Upper Huia and Upper Nihotupu, diesel generators run the air compressors as there is no mains power at these more remote sites.

Watercare dam technician Gareth Whittington releases native whitebait and juvenile eels into Lower Nihotupu Dam

“We also maintain turbidity meters to measure the ‘dirtiness’ of the water being piped to the water treatment plants – which gives an idea of how much suspended solids are in there,” says Gareth.

“These require regular cleaning and calibration. We also do weekly lake condition reports to track water quality.”

To ensure the downstream water quality and environment are not negatively affected, water is regularly flushed through the pipework system through the dam to the downstream waterways, simulating the stream’s natural flow. Staff have to be on-site to open the valves, record times, lake levels and turbidity of the stream, both before and after flushing.

As part of the responsibility of running our water-supply dams, there are also fishing programmes. The dams can be hard to traverse for our native migrating fish, so Gareth and the Watercare team give them a hand by collecting īnanga (whitebait) and juvenile tuna (eel elvers) and bring them from the sea to the reservoir. Similarly, when it comes time for adult eels to migrate out, they are transferred in the other direction.

For dam enthusiasts or an out-of-the-ordinary outing, the public are welcome to visit the Lower Nihotupu Reservoir in Huia.

“We have a fairly unique system there: an ultrasonic algae control system. There is a series of five buoys floating on the reservoir, these are solar powered and use ultrasonic waves emitted into the water to destroy algal cells, and keep the water clean and clear,” explains Gareth.

“We take our small boat out for regular maintenance runs – not a bad day at work!”

About Watercare

Watercare is dedicated to providing the people of Auckland with a water supply that is safe, reliable and sustainable, and wastewater services that are efficient and effective.

Watercare delivers A-grade water to 1.5 million customers every day – and they’re upgrading and extending core water and wastewater infrastructure to make sure they can keep up with Auckland’s growth.

Clean, healthy water is essential to our future. As our region continues to grow and change, we need to look after this precious taonga. Visit akhaveyoursay.nz to have your say on how we should waterproof our future. Feedback is open until 19 April.

Read more about the Our Water Future: Auckland’s water discussion on OurAuckland.

MIL OSI

Laying the foundations for new communities in the north

Source: Auckland Council

With thousands more homes planned for Auckland’s north over the next 10-20 years, the council is developing a plan to support job growth to match the needs of new communities.

The Silverdale West Dairy Flat Industrial Area Structure Plan sets aside sufficient land to provide up to 10,000 jobs from light industry and business development, enabling people to both live and work locally.

The plan is open for public feedback until 28 April and details how the environment can be protected at the same time as commercial development is introduced. It also covers essential transport needs to service the area, including various travel choices, cycleways and walkways and motorway connections.

Commenting on the importance of supplying local jobs, Hibiscus and Bay Local Board Chair Julia Parfitt said: “We must strive to provide employment close to where people live. Long commutes place a huge, unproductive strain on both people’s quality of life and our transport infrastructure.”

Albany Ward Councillor Wayne Walker said he understands the potential for growth in this area, along with the importance getting the planning right.

“It is vitally important that with any development we maintain environmental safeguards to protect our significant ecological areas, particularly our local streams and rivers.

“It’s important for people to have their say on the transformation of this area, so make sure you give feedback on your views and suggestions.”

From 25 March, information on the draft structure plan and ways to give feedback is available on aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/haveyoursay

You can also visit one of two drop-in sessions at Dairy Flat Hall,6 Postman Road, Dairy Flat on Saturday 6 April (10am – 12 noon) and Wednesday 10 April (5.30pm – 7.30pm).

Planners will be available at these sessions to answer questions on the plan’s proposals.

Public feedback will be analysed, and the draft plan amended where considered necessary, prior to the council’s adoption of a final plan later in the year.

MIL OSI

Auckland’s vibrancy enhanced through sport, art and culture

Source: Auckland Council

People love participating in Auckland’s wide range of sporting, artistic and cultural events. These events help to shape a city we are proud of, want to stay or return to, and a place that others want to visit, move to or invest in.

To enhance the vibrancy of our city, Auckland Council’s Community Development and Safety Committee recently allocated $192,000 to 17 organisations undertaking events throughout Auckland.

Councillor Casey, chair of Auckland Council’s Community Development and Safety Committee, says that regional events build pride in our city, diverse suburbs and neighbourhoods.

“We have funded a wonderful range of events this round. They are events that contribute to an inclusive Auckland, a city of opportunity, a culturally rich and creative city and an Auckland with a Māori identity; Auckland’s point of difference in the world. Our events support a beautiful Auckland that is loved by its people.”

A snapshot of events

The extremely popular and iconic Pacific Music Awards, an annual awards event celebrating Pacific music and Pacific artists, has again received funding from the regional events fund.

The event honours the achievements and successes of ‘current’ Pacific artists and also pays tribute to legacy and developing artists. The event is a platform for our Pacific communities and music industry to come together for one fantastic night of celebration.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Pacific Music Awards and is an event that supports Auckland as a City of Music having joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network last year.

Petrina Togi-Sa’ena, Event Producer and Trustee of the Pacific Music Awards, is proud of Pacific artists and says that the event loves celebrating their music.

“We sincerely appreciate the long-term support we have received from Auckland Council, which significantly contribute to ensuring the Pacific Music Awards are held each year.

“This year, we celebrate 15-years, which is an important milestone for the awards, the Pacific music community and music industry. We wouldn’t have reached this anniversary, without the support of our sponsors.”

The well-loved Cargo Plus Coastal Challenge has also received funding. The Coastal Challenge has been running (excuse the pun!) for over 15-years. The Challenge is a favourite event for many Aucklanders and a great way f to experience the beautiful coastline in their own backyard on the North Shore.

A new event to receive funding this year is the ‘Raise Up Youth Festival’ a food, music and well-being event that will bring young people together with youth support services and opportunities.

The event, proposed for later this year, will feature a diverse range of performances by local young people who will showcase the talents of our youth. Youth organisations and support services will be invited to participate in the event. Raise Up is a youth designed and delivered event.

The council’s Community Development and Safety Committee allocated funding to the following organisations from the Regional Event Fund in February 2019:

Regional Event Grants – Round 2 2018/2019

Organisation

Event

Location

Proposed dates are subject to change

Te Pou Theatre Trust

Kōanga Festival Whānau Day

Te Pou Theatre, New Lynn

8 September 2019

New Zealand Eid Day Trust

New Zealand Eid Day

Auckland Central

June 2019

Interacting

InterACT 2019!

Corbans Estate Arts Centre, Henderson

30 October – 1 November 2019

Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation

Iwi of Origin 2019

Bruce Pulman Park, Takanini

12 – 13 October 2019

New Zealand Rugby League

2019 National Secondary Schools Tournament

Bruce Pulman Park, Takanini

2 – 6 September 2019

Total Sport

Partners Life DUAL

Motutapu & Rangitoto Islands

23 March 2019

North Harbour Hockey

Vantage National Under 21 Tournament

North Harbour Hockey Stadium

5 – 11 May 2019

Badminton New Zealand Incorporated

Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open

Eventfinda Stadium (formerly North Shore Events Centre)

30 April – 05 May 2019

Touch Compass

InMotion Matariki Parade (2019)

Wynyard Quarter (incl. Silo Park)

6 July 2019

Total Sport

Cargo Plus Coastal Challenge

North Shore Coastline: Arkles Bay to Devonport

2 March 2019

Aktive – Auckland Sport and Recreation

M2M 2020

Mangere and Kaipara

2 and 16 February 2020

Aktive – Auckland Sport and Recreation

Whare Tapere o Matariki 2019

Auckland Netball Centre, St Johns

24 July 2019

Aktive – Auckland Sport and Recreation

Mauri Toa Wānanga 2019

Hoani Waititi, Kia Aroha College

April, July, September, December 2019 (dates TBC)

YMCA North Incorporated

Raise Up Youth Festival

Western Springs

12 October 2019

Pacific Music Awards Trust

2019 Pacific Music Awards

Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau

23 May 2019

Waiheke Jazz, Art & Music Festival

Waiheke Jazz, Art & Music Festival 2019

Multiple venues across Waiheke Island

19 – 22 April 2019

Auckland Region Outrigger Canoe Association

Auckland Regional Waka Ama Sprint Championship

Sylvan Park, Lake Pupuke, Milford

7 – 8 December 2019

Read more about the council’s Regional Event Fund Grants and see if your organisation’s regional event may qualify for future funding here. You can also read the council’s Events Policy on the council’s website.

MIL OSI