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The benefits of the council's progress

14 December 2005

Aucklanders reap the benefits of the council's progress

As Auckland City's committees undergo a 'one year on' review this month, all things point to the council having ticked off many of the objectives it had in its sights when it came into office last year.

Auckland City's Mayor, Dick Hubbard says the council has made considerable progress in the past 12 months and Aucklanders are reaping the benefits.

"The framework set by this council in its first few weeks has provided a strong sense of direction, and we have moved quickly to do what we said we would do," he says.

Deputy Mayor, Dr Bruce Hucker said, "We adopted a three year approach to achieve our goals and already this term of council has charted new directions, funding has been approved and major changes in direction have occurred as a result of political initiatives."

"There has been a significant increase in the level of activity over the past year and this has been with much more involvement from the community than in the past," said Dr Hucker.

The council adopted a new committee structure under the Leading in urban sustainability framework adopted by the council in October last year.

The framework includes six interrelated themes that are clearly linked to the council's objectives. They are: the right urban form, the right transit system, a smaller footprint on the earth, an engaged community, and inclusive community and a flourishing economy.

These themes were used as the basis for the preparation and adoption of the annual plan and budget for 2004/05.

The framework also assigns each committee responsibility for one of the four well-beings (social, economic, cultural and environmental) that are outlined in the local government legislation.

An initial review of the council's first year shows significant progress has been made towards achieving its objectives, particularly in the areas that are being accelerated by funding from the targeted rates introduced earlier this year:

Transport

* Removed the highway component of the eastern transport corridor between Auckland's CBD and Glen Innes, and rescoped the project, renaming it the Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative.

* Began investigations into local road improvements to unlock the potential of the city's Tamaki Edge and eastern suburbs.

* Purchased land along Great South Road as part of Project Greenlane, Park Road for the central transit corridor, began Dominion Road negotiations

* Worked with Transit NZ and progressed Project Greenlane to tender stage with construction beginning in 2006

* Bus priority lanes extended on arterial routes and key CBD streets, including Mt Eden Road, Albert, Sturdee and Vincent streets

* Widened Fanshawe Street to extend bus lanes and improve North Shore bus service reliability

* Signal pre-emption and real time information for bus services along arterial roads, (of the 150 buses that visit the city only 150 have yet to get the technology)

* Walking school bus programmes and school travel plans implemented for Mt Albert Grammar, Waiheke Primary, May Road Primary and Ellerslie Primary.

* Increased walking school buses by 44 per cent since February 2005, with over 1500 students involved

* Committed to developing a travel plan for the universities and the CBD's learning quarter

* New technology offering alternative ways to pay and display and have begun introducing the new meters in the CBD.

* Upgraded over 80km of footpaths and invested $28 million in the local road network * Committed to $5 million investment in Newmarket's footpaths

* Completed strategies for increasing walking and cycling in Mt Albert, Ellerslie, Newmarket and Onehunga

* Progressed plans for the Waikaraka Cycleway, stretching from Pikes Point in Onehunga to Richardson Road in Wesley

* Kingsland rail station and pedestrian plaza completed * Park and ride facilities underway for Orakei, Meadowbank, Glen Innes and Panmure

Heritage and urban design

* Mayoral Task Force on Urban Design set up
* Plan changes on urban design and minimum apartment sizes introduced
* Urban Design Panel strengthened
* Demolition controls put in place for Queen Street and Karangahape Road and for buildings constructed prior to 1940
* Plan changes to protect more than 16,000 villas in character suburbs

Open spaces and volcanic cones

* Upgrade of Maungawhau and ongoing work to manage, conserve and increase public access.

* Open space strategies prepared for the CBD, isthmus and Hauraki Gulf islands

Community development and affordable housing

* Community development initiatives including the youth strategy and action plan, the child and family strategy, regional migrant strategy, city-wide library strategy.

* Procurement policy adopted for $9 million investment in partnerships and joint ventures to increase the stock of affordable housing in the city.

* Homelessness action plan adopted and being implemented

Other achievements include:

* Waterfront vision adopted jointly with the ARC and the start of discussions and negotiations with key stakeholders over a plan change for Wynyard Point due by end-May 2006.

* Launch of the city's events strategy which includes increased investment in city-wide events, providing a proactive one stop shop for event managers, the new Harbour Festival and Regatta Anniversary weekend 2006

* Britomart redevelopment progress including renovation of the Chief Post Office

* Outside the square think tank design principles adopted for Aotea Square

* Land purchased at Matiatia, Waiheke Island for potential development

* Action on the Arts Agenda including funding for a new flexiform theatre, additional funding for the Auckland Philharmonia, Black Grace Dance Company, Auckland Theatre Company and Opera New Zealand

* Plans launched for a major renovation of the Art Gallery

* Behind the scenes work on the Rugby World Cup bid by the Mayor

* Continued support for international education through Study Auckland * Zero-waste policy adopted

* Liveable community plans and plan changes for growth areas as part of the city's growth strategy

* Establishment of the Property Enterprise Board to manage the council's property portfolio

* Pacific peoples' participation project to increase participation in local governance

* Inter-faith dialogue to bring people together and improve ethnic relations

* Plan changes to include principles of crime prevention through environmental design

* CBD development including quarter plans approved for the Victoria, Aotea and Queen Street quarters.

* Re-opening of the Western Springs Speedway

ENDS

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