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Annual report highlights busy year

Annual report highlights busy year

7 January 2008

Auckland Regional Council has released its annual report 2007, highlighting how it performed against the first year of its ten-year plan 2006-16. The report details the progress made in addressing challenges facing the Auckland region, over the period 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007.

ARC chairman Michael Lee said that the ARC Group continues to fund and deliver public transport improvements and get ‘runs on the board’ in a range of critical areas.

“The ARC spent over $100 million on public transport improvements last year, continuing the steady funding increases of recent years. Much of it funded new rail stations, interchanges, refurbishing rolling stock and improving rail services.

“To the year ended June Auckland trains carried a record 5.7 million passengers, an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year. Public transport patronage overall increased 2.4 per cent over the previous year, an increase of 1.2 million boardings.

“We welcomed the Government’s budget announcement decision to enable the ARC Group and OnTrack to electrify the Auckland rail network with fast, clean quiet new trains.

“Progress continues on the Northern Busway, which saw a 48 per cent increase in patronage from January to June 2007, compared to the same period in 2006.

“Last year we launched the Metro Action Plan - 30 practical actions to boost Auckland’s economic performance, developed in conjunction with other stakeholders.

“And in June we reached agreement with Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Holdings and Ports of Auckland Ltd over the future redevelopment of the Wynyard Point area, which over coming years will be transformed into a mixed-use urban village and major asset for the Auckland region.”

ARC total income was $229.1 million, with expenditure of $199.7 million. Fifty-five per cent ($126 million) came from regional rates and 20 per cent from Auckland Regional Holdings The remainder came from service fees, grants and facilities income.

Funding public transport made up 51 per cent of ARC’s total activity spend. Natural environment and heritage took 24 per cent and regional parks 14 per cent. The remaining 11 per cent was made up by economic development, regional leadership and community development, the built environment and safety.

For full details please go to http://www.arc.govt.nz/albany/main/plans/annual-plans-and-report/annual-report.cfm

Key highlights

Transport

- The Government’s proposed regional fuel tax will enable the ARC to provide funding to ARTA to purchase new electric trains, and to increase train, bus and ferry services across the region.

- The ARC confirmed its support for investment in electrification of the Auckland rail network, after considering ARTA’s rail development plan.

- Following discussions with the ARC and ARTA, the Government agreed to proceed with the electrification of the Auckland urban rail system, subject to Parliament agreeing to the necessary funding mechanism.

- Ontrack and ARTA completed the latest stage of double-tracking the western rail line between Titirangi Rd, New Lynn and Henderson.

- ARC agreed to fund a rail service to Helensville, a bus service to Waiuku and above track expenses to upgrade the Onehunga line.

- The ARC successfully campaigned with other regional councils to ensure the continuation of the long-distance Overlander rail service.

Built environment

- Developed a sustainability framework for the Auckland region with partner councils, which establishes a shared vision for a sustainable Auckland and how it can be achieved.

- Completed an evaluation of the Regional Growth Strategy with local councils across the region, which indicates that progress is being made, and the core principles of the strategy remain sound.

- Endorsed the development of One Plan for the Auckland region.

Natural environment and heritage

- A 40 per cent decrease in the number of repeat pollution incidents from industrial and trade premises, indicating a downward trend in industrial pollution.

- Fifteen brown kiwi were released into Tawharanui Open Sanctuary in 2006, followed by robins and whiteheads in 2007. The sanctuary now has a large self-introduced population of bellbirds, which are dispersing around the nearby countryside. Eighteen kokako were released into the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, and stitchbirds into Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, in partnership with Ark in the Park.

- $2.8 million was provided to local councils in the region to help the development of integrated catchment management plans.

- Seven new air quality factsheets and a good practice guide on woodburners were published, accompanied by a regional campaign alerting the public to the environmental and health impacts of domestic fire emissions.

- Advice and assistance was given to landowners and community groups on riparian restoration in the Mahurangi Harbour catchment, including 24km of fencing installed.

- Successfully implemented the Regional Pest Management Strategy with an increased emphasis on community and site-related programmes, the Hauraki Gulf islands and freshwater pest fish.

- Assistance and advice given to 56 community groups undertaking pest control, to 100 landowners on biodiversity protection.

- Undertook intensive possum control on 15,432 hectares of land of high conservation value, including the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, Albany, Orewa, Waiwera and Maraetai hills.

- Improved water quality in seven lakes monitored across the region.

Economic development

- The Metro Action Plan was launched, aimed at transforming Auckland into a world-class city.

- Expanded the role of AucklandPlus.

- The Accelerating Auckland Information Communications and Technology skills pilot was successfully completed and funding secured for initiatives to encourage more students into tertiary programmes.

Regional leadership and community development

- Reached agreement with Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Holdings and Ports of Auckland Limited, on a framework for the redevelopment of Wynyard Point which will include 2.4 kilometres of publicly accessible waterfront and a 4.25 hectare headland park.

- Developed the Auckland Sustainability Framework.

- 117 Enviroschools registered in the Auckland region.

- 24,994 students participated in Learning Through Experience education programmes in regional parks.

- 342 people from migrant and refugee communities took part in activities in regional parks, including beach clean-ups, planting days and beach safety education.

Open space and recreation: regional parks

- Opened Waiheke’s Whakanewha Regional Park and began developing Atiu Creek Farm, donated to the region by the Chatelanat family.

- Hosted two U2 concerts and the Big Day Out at Mt Smart Stadium.

- Provided ‘stepping stones’ for people to venture into the outdoors through Diverse Communities programmes, summer activities and school holiday programmes.

- Completed a third successful West Coast rock fishing project, to promote safety at West Coast beaches.

Safety

- The introduction of a 12-knot speed limit in the inner Waitemata harbour.

- Improved knowledge of the consequences of volcanic activity and cyclones.

- Modelling the impact of tsunami on the Auckland region.

- Strengthened involvement in civil defence and emergency management.

- Began work on a new set of harbour charts for Auckland with Land Information New Zealand and Ports of Auckland Ltd.

ENDS

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