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Decision digest :Environment and Community Committee

Decision digest | Environment and Community Committee

17 October 2017

Protecting the Hunua Ranges, Smokefree policy and Western Isthmus water quality approach approved

Three years on from the first range-wide pest management operation in the Hunua Ranges, the council will apply 1080 to the parkland and some neighbouring DOC and private land. At yesterday’s Environment and Community Committee, it confirmed the use of this pest management methodology to continue the fight against rats and possums.

Committee Chair Councillor Penny Hulse says the programme is proposed for winter 2018 and will now go through a similar operational planning process as the 2015 operation.

“We achieved significant environmental outcomes from the first pest control programme and it’s now time to do it again. This decision is for the future health of this forest, and the species that live within it, and will enable staff to begin the permission and planning process to get a pest control programme underway.

“Kohukohunui is treasured by all Aucklanders, but particularly by the iwi that identify with this area. We look forward to working alongside iwi once again to protect the taonga of this forest,” says Councillor Hulse.

The committee also approved the council’s Smokefree Policy and the implementation plan for the policy which guides the council’s goal of all parks and reserves, children’s play areas and other public spaces (areas where the council has responsibility) to be smokefree by 2025.

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Items 1-8 were administrative items, with the exception of Public Input (Item 5) and Local Board Input (Item 6).

Item 5: Public Input | 5.1 Weed Management and Implementation Policy

Hana Blackmore, Julian Bartrom, Alex Strever, Jodie Bruning and Lisa Prager spoke to the committee on weed management and the use of glyphosate.

Item 5: Public Input | 5.2 Te Arai

Aaron McConchie and Heather Rogan of Save Te Arai, joined by Rodney Local Board member Colin Smith, spoke to the committee about their concerns around development activity and compliance and how this could impact on parkland (Item 14).

Item 5: Public Input | 5.3 Hunua Pest Management

Tricia Cheel and Tony Gyde spoke in opposition to the proposed pest management programme, using 1080, in the Hunua Ranges (Item 15).

Item 5: Public Input | 5.4 Western Isthmus Water Quality Improvement Programme

Dirk Hudig of Stop Auckland Sewage Overflows Coalition and Liz Walker of STEPS (St Lukes Environmental Protection Society) spoke to the Western Isthmus Water Quality Improvement Programme, presenting the community’s point of view. (Heard ahead of Item 12).

Item 6: Local Board Input

Saffron Toms of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board spoke to the committee on her board’s opposing position on the revocation of road reserve at 315a Glengarry Road in Glen Eden (Item 18).

Item 9: Approval of the Ethnic Peoples and Youth Advisory Panels' 2017/2018 work programmes

The committee approved the work programmes of the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and the Youth Advisory Panel for the 2017/2018 financial year.

Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel chair Sunil Kaushal and deputy chair Jade Tang-Taylor spoke about the goals of the panel. Youth Advisory Panel chair Veisinia Maka spoke to the committee about how the Youth Panel has aligned its work programme to the seven goals of I am Auckland, the Children and Young People’s Strategic Action Plan, with a particular focus on youth engagement and civic participation.

Item 10: Progress report on the implementation of the Auckland Council Weed Management Policy

The committee received an update on how the council’s Weed Management Policy has been incorporated into council activities and the ongoing programmes and processes in place to ensure the policy objectives and vision are integrated across the council group.

A significant focus area has been the recent renegotiation of maintenance and ecological contracts for parks and open spaces. The new contracts are outcome-based, resulting in weed control only when required and include mechanical edging to reduce herbicide use; continuing manual removal of weeds in playgrounds; reducing agrichemical use (tracking down from a baseline established in the first year of the contract) and an integrated approach to weed management including mulching and replanting, supporting better horticultural practice.

The committee also signalled its intention to work with the community and local boards on spray free areas and how these groups can collaborate to actively reduce herbicide.

The committee will be updated again in April 2018.

Item 11: Healthy Hunua - Kohukohunui (Hunua Ranges) Pest Management

The committee endorsed a proposed second pest management programme in the Hunua Ranges using 1080, to be undertaken in winter 2018. It also noted that the aerial application of 1080 will continue to be used in Kohukohunui until a new methodology is identified that can deliver the same level of pest management outcomes in a safe and efficient manner.

This programme follows on from the 2015 1080 operation which saw rat and possum numbers reduced to zero. As expected, rat numbers have slowly crept up to near pre-2015 operation levels and a further aerial operation has been proposed.

As a result of the previous operation, Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward representative Bill Cashmore looks forward to a red blanket of rata flowers appearing soon.

“Kohukohunui contains some of the only virgin forest in the Auckland region. With the exception of a few areas, this forest is largely untouched – except by pests. We have already seen native species and the forest canopy bounce back, it is important that we maintain this approach and work towards the eradication of pest species altogether,” says Councillor Cashmore.

A political advisory group of Councillor Alf Filipaina (Chair), Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Franklin Local Board member Malcolm Bell, Councillor Greg Sayers and James Brown of the Independent Māori Statutory Board was set up.

Item 12: Western Isthmus Water Quality Improvement Programme

This project was jointly undertaken by Watercare and Auckland Council to develop a proposed programme of works to improve water quality, to enable growth and to reduce wet weather overflows in the western part of Auckland’s inner city.

The programme of works will be considered as part of the Long-term Plan 2018-2028 and will include:

i. a new tunnel from the Central Interceptor’s termination point at Western Springs through to Grey Lynn

ii. bringing forward $310 million of Watercare investment, from decade two and three to decade one, to increase wastewater capacity for growth and reduce wet weather overflows in the area

iii. bringing forward $285 million of Healthy Waters investment, from decade two and three to decade one, to improve stormwater management, allow capacity for growth and reduce wet weather overflows

iv. funding separation of private combined systems, where appropriate.

Auckland Council’s General Manager Healthy Waters Craig Mcilroy joined councillors Hulse and Casey in acknowledging the input of the community at a local forum held last night.

“There is still some way to go and are still a number of unanswered questions, however the only way to address them is to get around the table and collaborate. In that vein, the council is committed to working closely with our community on this project,” says Mr Mcilroy.

Item 13: Approve the Smokefree Policy 2017 - 2025 and Implementation Plan

In August 2017, staff were asked to further revise the Smokefree policy and implementation plan documents before bringing them back to this committee. The committee adopted the amended policy and implementation plan.

Councillor Hulse emphasised the council’s role in providing signage, initiatives to denormalise smoking and working with sector and advocacy groups.

“We have an important role to play in supporting smokefree messaging in public outdoor areas that the council and its CCOs manage and in working with the groups that champion smoking cessation across the region,” she says.

Item 14: Regional Park Management Plan 2010 - Variation to incorporate land at Te Arai

The committee agreed to notify the council’s intention to vary the Regional Parks Management Plan 2010 policy relating to the existing regional parkland at Te Arai to incorporate open space to the north and south of Te Arai Point.

It is anticipated that the intention to vary the management plan will be notified in November with the closing date for public submissions in late January.

The council owns and manages 78 hectares of land for regional park purposes at Te Arai Point. In 2015, an additional 217 hectares of open space land was vested in council by Te Uri o Hau for regional parks purposes as part of a development of the former pine forest to the north of Te Arai Point. A further 180 hectares of land has been identified by Ngati Manuhiri as public open space as part of a development of the former pine forest to the south of Te Arai Point.

The vested land is also required to be zoned as open space for regional park purposes within the Unitary Plan.

Item 15: Revocation of Road Reserve - 315A Glengarry Road, Glen Eden

The committee agreed to submit a request to the Minister of Conservation to uplift the road reserve status on a 4,105m2 site at 315a Glengarry Road Glen Eden. This decision is supported by the recommendation that the land is not required for roading purposes, nor for open space purposes.

Item 16: Exchange of part of Taniwha Reserve for other land

The committee approved public notification of the exchange of 375m² of Tāmaki Regeneration Company land in Harlow Place, Glen Innes, with 132m² of land at Taniwha Reserve.

This will improve sightlines and physical access into Taniwha Reserve, improve the safety of users accessing the reserve by removing the existing accessway and provide better connectivity with the open space network in the area.


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