Seven car parks are worth more than $1 million say business owners on Auckland’s North Shore

Seven car parks are worth more than $1 million

Business owners in Auckland’s North Shore would rather turn away Birkenhead’s $1 million upgrade, than lose seven car parks.

Kaipatiki Local Board voted on a design for the Birkenhead’s Highbury Corner upgrades at the April 19 board meeting.

The contentious plans to upgrade the area around the main roundabout, will shave seven car parks from the main street’s shops.

Birkenhead Town Centre Association chairman Pete Taylor said this result is really disappointing and concerning.

The association’s research found each main street car park is worth $3000, per week, to local businesses, and removing them would cost more than $1 million a year, Taylor said.

“We are talking around a million dollars in pure income per annum being taking out of the town centre’s revenue, for pedestrians and beautification, and I think that’s shocking,” Taylor said at the meeting.

“The members would rather the money was spent elsewhere, than to invest in something that will have a negative impact to local businesses,” he said.

Highbury Corner is where Birkenhead Ave, Hinemoa Street and Mokoia Rd meet at a roundabout.

Upgrades to Birkenhead’s Highbury Corner, follows on from the 129 parking space expansion to Rawene car park, and the building of lookout, Kaimataara o wai manawa.

North Shore Councillor Richard Hills said major community consultation was undertaken in the planning of these upgrades and showed 60 per cent of the public submissions were in favour of the upgrade plans.

Taylor said the objection against losing carparks has been consistent from the businesses from the start.

“In a survey conducted by the association, 54 out of 56 businesses say they don’t want any upgrades,” he said.

Taylor said that the design ignored expert advice and will damage the livelihood of businesses in the area.

Local board member Paula Gillon said she is “struggling” to see how this upgrade will be detrimental to businesses, with the amount of people it will encourage.

However, Taylor said the revenue lost can not be replaced by wide footpaths and trees alone.

“The extra parking added to Rawene car parks are not the issue here, as the businesses are concerned about main street car parks only,” he said.

Local board member Ann Hartley said the accusation that people won’t walk 100 metres from Rawene car park to the main centre is “nonsense”.

“Birkenhead does not have a parking problem,” she said.

“This is just a mess.”

OPTION ONE DESIGN

At the centre of a heated debate around the upgrades to North Shore’s Highbury Corner, stands a pine tree.

Alongside a loss of carparks, fears around pedestrian safety have also been raised.

Also, the decision to redesign the upgrade to include the tree has reignited the longstanding debate, between those who wish to keep the tree and those who don’t.

Option one, will increase public open space and seating areas, as well as introduce a new decked area at Highbury Corner.

Local board member Lindsay Waugh said the amount of effort the board had spent on keeping the tree is a “travesty of urban design”.

Equally concerned is Birkenhead Town Centre Association chairman Pete Taylor, who said that he is as worried about losing the seven car parks as he is pedestrian safety.

“The plans shows encouraging people to hop across the roundabout in an increasingly busy intersection,” Taylor said.

“I wonder when organisation members become liable for such decisions.”

Local Board chairwoman Danielle Grant said option one will deliver the main street its “much needed” facelift.

“These projects have been a significant part of the board’s focus for the past four years,” Grant said.

Option one will now go to tender and work is expected to start in June.

The final design vote was so contentious, members Ann Hartley and Lindsay Waugh abstained from voting.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 24 April 2017 > The North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz

Panoramic viewing platform opens in Birkenhead

Panoramic viewing platform opens in the heart of the North Shore's Birkenhead

Construction has finished on the split-level viewing platform in the heart of North Shore’s Birkenhead, offering panoramic views of Le Roys Bush, Auckland City, and Rangitoto.

Kaimataara ō Wai Manawa held an opening event on September 3, which drew in a large crowd of local board members, councillors and community families.

A few finishing touches remain to be made on a cafe and public art display, but public are still free to enjoy their newest public asset.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Kay McIntyre says the “soft launch” was a way to celebrate the end of construction and acknowledge the name.

The name, Kaimataara o Wai Manawa, was gifted to the community by mana whenua.

Wai Manawa is the historical name for this part of Birkenhead. Wai Manawa meaning the “source of the water” refers to the basin nature of the Le Roys Bush area, alternatively Wai Manawa (maanawa – mangroves) refers to the collection of water in the mangroves at the base.

Kaimataara means both the purpose of a space as a lookout, and to be watchful.

Together it translates as “the Lookout of Wai Manawa”.

The 10-month long construction project was a part of the Birkenhead Centre Plan.

North Shore City bought the land in 2004, with the intention of creating just a platform overlooking Le Roys Bush.

In 2012, board member Lindsay Waugh formed a liaison group to reignite the original aspirations.

Key features needed a bit of rearranging, and Moller Architects drew the final plans.

Sustainability solutions were included for the project, such as a water tank placed under the deck.

“The rainwater coming off the roof will now go into this tank,” McIntyre says.

“Recycling this water will result in saving 105,000 litres per year of water.

“It’s a good sustainability initiative. We always have got to find ways to make our water go further,” she says.

Another addition to the project, was the look-out cafe.

“It became clear that this space needed a commercial operation to return money,” McIntyre says.

Now ratepayers don’t have to pay the renewals and upgrades to the same extent, because it self-generates a rent for the council, McIntyre says.

Bungalo cafe owner Chris Jones will open the lookout cafe around November.

Visit the lookout at 35 to 41 Birkenhead Ave.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 08 September 2016 > The North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz

Birkenhead wharf bike shed cost $60K has gone

Birkenhead wharf bike shed cost $60K has gone

A bike shed on Birkenhead wharf on Auckland’s North Shore which cost $60,000 to build only three years ago has already been removed.

Soon after it was built, a petition found it obstructed fisherman, impeded views of the harbour and there had been inadequate community consultation prior to its construction.

Constructed in June 2013, the Bike Park at Birkenhead wharf was, according to Auckland Transport, “installed to cater for people currently cycling and to encourage others to cycle to the Birkenhead Ferry Terminal.”

However, the jetty bike shed was at the bottom of a steep hill and a subsequent review found it was seriously underused.

In the following two years, the public petition and two reports by Lee Consulting and AT itself confirmed the bike shed was underused and a nuisance for residents.

In June 2015, a Community Led Working Group (CLWG), made up of representatives from various user groups, the Kaipatiki local board and AT, was established to fix the problem.

After thorough resident consultation, a report from CLWG in 2015 requested the Bike Park be removed from Birkenhead wharf.

“This report was handed in in September of last year. I went overseas for six months and, when I came back, it was still here,” CLWG representative Mere Roberts says.

“But, in the meantime, the shed was getting more and more derelict, panels were missing, and we really started to begin wondering if it was going to be left here to deteriorate.

“It’s quite a sad waste of public money due to poor decision-making and no consultation,”

AT now admits the shed was a failed piece of infrastructure but will not reveal how much it cost to dismantle and relocate.

“This bike shelter has not been used as much as anticipated so, following consultation with the local board, Auckland Transport has removed it for redeployment to another yet-to-be determined location,” an AT spokesperson says.

“Bike shelters with a similar design have been installed in Glen Innes and Albany where they are working well.

“The removal of the bike shelter is being completed in a cost-effective manner to minimise budget expenditure.”

Initially supportive of the bike shed, the Kaipatiki Local Board accepted the need for its removal some time ago.

“It hasn’t been a successful project,” board member Danielle Grant says.

“There has been a lot of community goodwill and I thank them for their patience but it’s taken too long to get to this point.”

AT will now monitor Birkenhead wharf to determine what smaller bike facilities are needed.

Article by Tom Dillane
Published 25 July 2016 > The North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz

Cycleway will affect carparks on Queen St

Cycleway will affect carparks on Queen St

A proposed cycleway through Northcote’s Queen St is dividing residents.

Auckland Transport says their 5.2 kilometre Northcote Safe Cycle Route will encourage more cycling.

But Auckland Transport’s plans would remove off-street parking from significant portions of the route between Northcote Point and Smales Farm, including Queen St.

Queen St resident Briar Walsh’s family of five would lose three car parks if a dedicated cycleway replaces parking on her side of the road, she says.

“It’s just the most illogical idea, there needs to be another plan,” she says.

Walsh estimates her family will face a 200 to 300 metre walk every day to find a car park “even if they’re lucky” and local businesses will suffer too.

Kaipatiki Local Board member Richard Hills says the plan, which the board supports, is out for public consultation and it is not “100 per cent clear how much parking will be taken out”.

Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman, who lives on Queen St, says he has received a “hell of a lot of correspondence from residents who have huge issues” with parking.

A recreational cyclist, Coleman rides the proposed route frequently, but says he cannot see the justification for it.

“I see very few cyclists along the route and there’s nothing in the consultation document about cost,” he says.

An Auckland Transport spokeswoman says the estimated cost of the cycle route is less than $4m.

Coleman believes the cycleway is a “trojan horse” to get the Skypath’s northern landfall from the Harbour Bridge built at Northcote Point.

Birkenhead resident and Cycle Action member Steve Southall says the cycleway plan has received “generally positive feedback” but it will not please everybody.

Auckland Transport has come up with “a good design, given the constraints along the route,” he says.

“There’s insufficient road width for everyone to get a slice of the pie,” the former roading engineer admits.

Southall, a commuter biker, cites Belmont Intermediate’s 30 per cent increase in student cyclists because of the Lake Rd cycleway.

“You really have to ask ‘what is the priority for our road space, is it giving people free off-street parking, or is it getting our kids to school?’ “.

Auckland Transport is holding open day consultations, starting August 9, at the Northcote Library. Construction on the route is planned to start in late 2015.

More: at.govt.nz/northcotecycleroute.

Credits:

Written by Simon Maude
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times 05 August 2014

Off-leash dogs a big problem

Off-leash dogs a big problem

Letitia Reddington has had enough of the dog droppings left on her property.

She has seen dogs “challenging” small children and had to put down the family cat after it was attacked at the secluded Chelsea Bay Reserve, which borders her house.

The 24-hour off-leash rule in place since 2004 needs to be revoked before a real tragedy happens, she says.

“We just want the beach turned back to what it was.”

Mrs Reddington says she is not anti-dog – they should just be on a leash while at the Birkenhead park for safety reasons.

The 10-year-old bylaw passed by the former North Shore City Council is under review, as are all dog access rules at Kaipatiki beaches.

Mrs Reddington and her husband Pat have lived on the border of the reserve since 1984 but she says they were never asked about the dog rule change.

Kaipatiki Local Board initiated the review of all access beaches in its area and any proposed changes will be publicly notified mid-2014, an Auckland Council spokesperson says.

The board may consider other off-leash areas as part of this review.

Decision-making on the review is guided by the council’s 2012 policy on dogs, the spokesperson says.

“The council has received two complaints in the last year about this reserve, with people being concerned about dogs running loose in an uncontrolled manner.”

If owners do not clean up after their dogs the public must contact council with identification, such as car registration, the spokesperson says.

“Most often council officers are not present when an offence occurs so we rely heavily on the public to provide the evidence needed to follow up.”

Credits

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times – 21 February 2014

‘Gross’ wall causes ruckus

Legal action is being taken over a three-metre-high retaining wall.

Birkenhead Pt residents are seeking a judicial review of the Auckland Council-approved resource consent at the High Court.

Residents are adamant the wall is the only issue with the 83 Palmerston Rd development.

David Rawlings, who lives directly opposite the property, says he is disgusted it has been allowed to go ahead.

The first three hours of sunlight on to his property will be blocked by it.

It is as tall as Mr Rawlings’ two-storey house because it is being built on a one-metre-high slope, elevating it to four metres.

A handrail will be built on top of it.

“It’s very ‘in-your-face’.”

Planned conciliation meetings between residents and the consent holder have not occurred, Mr Rawlings says.

Mr Rawlings says it is a failure on council’s part to not see out the due process.

“Council is behaving regardless of the intention of their district plan.”

Birkenhead Pt is a zone 3 heritage area.

Many residents believe the wall goes against in keeping with Birkenhead’s heritage.

The Birkenhead Residents Association is also opposed.

Environmental affects from the wall were deemed “less than minor” in the consent report.

Mr Rawlings says the report also said the impact on him was minor.

He feels council has told him to “stuff off”.

“It’s a big, bad world out there and we might be stuck with it.

“It’s just gross, it’s bloody gross.”

A council spokesperson says land use consent, which authorises the construction of the retaining wall, was granted May 8.

“This consent was processed on a non-notified basis following a consideration of the district plan and affected parties”.

“While that application is before the court, it is not appropriate that we make any further comment.”

Consent holder Manu Withers did not return requests for comment by deadline.

Credits

Written by: Jess Etherridge
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times – 30 December 2013

Strong voice for Kaipatiki

Giving Kaipatiki a stronger voice is a top priority for new local board members.

Several developments, such as the Hinemoa St boarding house, Birkenhead Wharf bike shed and Onewa Rd Z station, have gone ahead despite a public outcry.

Approval for these has come from Auckland Council officers.

Kaipatiki Local Board members want more thorough consultation on projects such as SkyPath and the second harbour crossing.

Two tickets vied to secure a majority on the board.

Kaipatiki Voice won a mandate, with Ann Hartley, Lindsay Waugh, Richard Hills, Kay McIntyre and Danielle Grant winning seats.

Grant Gillon, John Gillon and Lorene Pigg of the Team of Independents got in but will struggle when it comes to decision-making.

Mr Gillon says a lack of meaningful dialogue has Aucklanders feeling disempowered.

Kaipatiki has worked hard and had successes, such as Beach Haven’s civic square project, he says.

But the contentious bike shed needs to be moved or got rid of, Mr Gillon says.

“When the wrong decisions are made, we need to have the fortitude … to admit a mistake was made.”

He says a decision was made on “erroneous” information given to the board.

Richard Hills says any decision on the $66,000 shed needs to respect the community.

More than 600 people signed a petition opposing its location.

Changes to the Unitary Plan and details on SkyPath also need to be discussed, Mr Hills says.

Ann Hartley says “misinformation” and lack of understanding over Unitary Plan changes saw her miss out on a council seat.

She hopes a deal between the SkyPath group and the council will be made within 12 months.

Several exits may be needed on the northern side to ease traffic, Lindsay Waugh says. More analysis of the $28 million pathway is needed, she says.

Crossing the harbour by tunnel, however, will impact on North Shore residents either side of the motorway.

A route is to be outlined by the New Zealand Transport Agency by December.

Mrs Waugh says bringing the tunnel’s landing to Onewa Rd would impact on congestion.

But bringing the tunnel up to Esmonde Rd may boost Northcote’s economy, she says.

Public transport will also make a drastic turn this term. Buses could run every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week on The New Network.

John Gillon says new routes connecting Beach Haven and bus stations should ease Onewa Rd traffic.

The biggest loss for the board was former police officer and lawyer Nick Kearney.

He is disappointed he was not re-elected.

Kaipatiki is the most underfunded local board per capita in Auckland so securing a decent budget from the council will be crucial, he says.

Mr Kearney says he will continue his triathlon training, join a Kaipatiki placemaking group and learn to play the clarinet.

Credits:

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times 17 October 2013
– © Fairfax NZ News

Shed decision delayed

Despite overwhelming demand, a decision on the contentious Birkenhead Wharf bike shed has been delayed until after the election.

Kaipatiki Local Board officers were investigating if the $66,000 bike shed could be moved.

A report on options was requested by September 11.

If the report wasn’t finished, four members were to make a decision anyway using a $40,000 budget.

But it has been pushed back until after the Auckland Council elections.

Several options will come to the new board and it is up to members to have read up on the issue before making the call, Kaipatiki chairwoman Lindsay Waugh says.

Residents and community groups are angry the shed was put in at the end of the wharf, claiming it blocked the view and created several safety issues for young people on the water.

A petition opposing the shed, which can store 30 bikes and 10 scooters, gathered 628 signatures.

Auckland Transport investigated and said the spot at the very end of the wharf was most suitable, Ms Waugh says.

Ms Waugh says there was a “keenness from the board to meet the call for cycle storage” at Birkenhead Wharf.

“We are trying to meet competing needs of a number of users in a finite space.

“We seem to have missed a step on this one,” Ms Waugh said last month.

The Birkenhead Residents Association says it is supportive of cycling facilities but the shed’s spot is inappropriate.

Chairwoman Gillian Taylor says the community wants the shed relocated and to be consulted on any similar public works in future.

Credits:

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 24 September 20123
– © Fairfax NZ News

Birkenhead Wharf Bike Cage

Have you seen the new bike cage at Birkenhead Wharf?

bike-cage-wide

This new bike shelter at the wharf is a great idea to encourage cyclists but the shelter has been put in a prime place on the wharf – without any consultation with people and groups who use the wharf.

The bike cage blocks a panoramic view!
It disrupts harbour related activities & safety!

Many people are expressing concern:

  • People young and old who have enjoyed the panoramic views of the upper harbour for generations
  • The yacht club, waterwise and the canoe groups who do a great job providing healthy sports activities and water safety training for our young people; volunteers need visibility from the wharf to ensure safety
  • People who come to fish in the deep water off the wharf or to watch their families take part in boating activities

Prime Birkenhead Wharf space must be for harbour activities!

We fully support parking for cyclists and motor scooter users.
But this bike shelter is in the wrong place!

Petition to move the bike cage

In association with other users of Birkenhead Wharf, we have organised a Petition to request that Auckland Council and the Kaipatiki Local Board act now to:

  • Move the bike cage from the part of the wharf where it blocks the view and interferes with harbour-related activities such as water safety, regattas and fishing
  • Create facilities for cycle and scooter parking in other locations at the wharf in consultation with community groups and local people
  • Ensure that in future for any other public works, full community consultation is undertaken by relevant departments or CCOs of Auckland Council

If you haven’t already received a copy of the petition in your mailbox you can get more forms or other information from one (or more) of the following:

You can also sign the petition at:

  • Coffee General (100 Hinemoa St)
  • Hinemoa St Café (138 Hinemoa St)
  • Casual Foodie (23 Enterprise St)

Post signed petitions to 7 Awanui Street Birkenhead 0626 or email movethecage@gmail.com for collection.

Please return it asap but by 3 August 2013 at the latest

Contractor ‘placing lives at risk’

Residents angered by a 45-bedroom boarding house in Birkenhead claim developers started construction illegally and are “placing people’s lives at risk”.

And Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman has publicly criticised the developers and the Auckland Council, saying the public should have been told.

Around 45 people turned up at Birkenhead Library for a meeting with Mr Coleman, Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh and owner-operator of the Hinemoa St boarding home Brett Cranston.

Concerns have been raised over the council’s process and the potential to attract residents with anti-social behaviour.

A neighbour says permission was never sought to block her driveway and is in breach of her rights.

One Birkenhead resident says he made a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment because of the nature of construction work at the site.

“The contractor is placing people’s lives at risk.”

Mr Coleman said at the beginning of the meeting he had “no public position” but by the end he slammed the council and Mr Cranston, saying it should have been publicly notified because there was “no upside for residents”.

It was also a lesson in “public relations”, Mr Coleman said, as Mr Cranston admitted the meeting was the first time he had ever consulted with Birkenhead residents.

Mrs Waugh also changed tack on her previous stance, saying construction work and safety on the site must now be investigated.

“The level I’m hearing today I find very disturbing.”

Mr Cranston, who runs two similar establishments in Panmure and Otahuhu, says the Scottys-branded accommodation does not accept those referred by Work and Income or any similar services.

Rumours it will become a brothel are untrue and it is marketed as “adults only” because it is not acceptable living circumstances for those under 18, he says.

Mr Cranston says the boarding home will actually have 48 rooms, despite official council reports saying 45.

He also disputed the size of the rooms, saying council’s 14 square metre size was wrong.

The boarding home has a three car park-shortfall with residents saying time-restricted on-street parking for boarding home tenants is not an option.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

Credits

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 28 May 2013