With Otamatea Ward Councillor Jonathan Larsen
Success at Council Meeting
At the March Council meeting I had three items on the agenda, and after considerable debate all three were passed. As a result the CEO will now prepare three separate reports to bring back to Council for consideration.
The first two reports are for the approval of funding from the reserve contributions fund to help complete the skate park at Mangawhai Activity Zone, and to fund the exercise equipment for the outdoor fitness trail at the Kaiwaka Domain. Reserve contributions are collected every time a new lot is created through subdivision. These funds are intended to be used for upgrading existing, and acquiring new reserves, to compensate for the effects of growth. Both Mangawhai and Kaiwaka have seen considerable growth (and collected considerable funds) in recent years. It is therefore really important to start adding to the outdoor recreation facilities in our communities.
The third report is on the feasibility of building a pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Insley St/ Tomarata Rd bridge. With an ever increasing flow of traffic, and proximity to Mangawhai Beach School, it is becoming really important to get this work underway. The Mangawhai Community Plan (MCP) does include a pedestrian bridge for this location, but it is currently not scheduled to be built until after 2028, which is obviously an unacceptable timeframe for the community. The report will look at options for building the bridge and required footpath linkages much sooner.
I’ll keep you updated as these matters progress.
The Local Government Commission (LGC) has released its decision on appeals on the ward structure for Kaipara District’s next election. Despite robust evidence presented by several local appellants, the LGC approved the dividing of the district into four wards with two elected members per ward, including a new ward for Kaiwaka/ Mangawhai.
Although on the surface this looks like a balanced arrangement, it actually results in reduced representation for Kaiwaka/ Mangawhai. Under the current arrangement there are three elected members in the Otamatea Ward (which includes Kaiwaka/ Mangawhai) versus five members in the western part of the district. This has traditionally made it difficult to get items approved for the east, especially with a west-leaning Mayor. The new arrangement will reduce the representatives for Kaiwaka/ Mangawhai to two, versus six in the western part of the district.
The next opportunity to review this arrangement is in three years time, although Council is not obliged to carry out a further review for a further six years.
Alamar Crescent Walkway
I recently attended a meeting of Council staff and residents about the building of a walkway through the Alamar Crescent Reserve. Residents were told that the building of the 2.5m wide gravel walkway was about to commence, that they had been consulted on it, and it was what the community had asked for. There was a large turnout of locals concerned about the impending destruction of their reserve and privacy, and a lively discussion ensued.
What emerged was that in fact what had been consulted on in this regard in the Mangawhai Community Plan (MCP) was a very general large scale route of an 'All tide coastal access'. The specifics of its route or construction had not been traversed in any way with the locals. Furthermore, it emerged that the MCP contains a number of different walkway/access/footpath issues that were being conflated and confused.
Since the meeting measures have been put in place to allow community input at a more detailed level. Elected members, staff and the former Community Advisory Panel (CAP), which worked on the formulation of the MCP, will soon meet to review all priority one MCP projects. Agreement will then be reached on the next steps regarding public consultation, workshop dates etc. which will be communicated in due course. In the meantime all physical works on Alamar Crescent walkways will be put on hold.
If you have any community projects or issues that you would like assistance with, I can be contacted on 021 185 8389 or Cr.Larsen@kaipara.govt.nz. Check out my ‘The WorkBoot Councillor’ Facebook page for regular updates.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not represent the consensus position of Council.