Deputation to the Waitematā Local Board – October Business Meeting

Good afternoon Madam Chair,

And Kia Ora members of the Waitematā Local Board. 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today in support of the approval of the preliminary design for Phase One of the new civic space, at 254 Ponsonby Road. And for the approval to proceed with procurement & delivery of the enabling works package.

Ko Jennifer Ward ahau and I am here today as a representative of the Community-Led Design Group that was created by the Waitematā Local Board in 2015 to progress this project.

A brief history

A Boffa Miskell report produced in 2000, confirmed the wider Ponsonby area was under-supplied with public amenity space. Consequently, the land at 254 Ponsonby Road was purchased by Council in 2006 to remedy this shortfall. 

In July 2013 the Waitemata Local Board released the ‘Draft Ponsonby Road Masterplan’ for public consultation. This plan included the civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road and a key finding from the received submission feedback was the intense interest in the planned open space development of the site. 

In 2014 a petition with over 1,240 signatures, including those of 43 local businesses, specifically requesting a whole site civic space, was presented to the Board. 

This resulted in the site being ‘de-coupled’ from the ‘Ponsonby Road Masterplan’ and a site specific consultation was held. 

77% of the 698 respondents to that consultation chose the ‘whole of site’ option.

In 2015, the project was devolved to the community by the Waitematā Local Board who established the Community-Led Design Group (CLDG) to further the development of the new civic space.

The brief was to;

‘Develop a design concept with an indicative budget, for a whole of site civic space using Community-led Design principles’. 

So we got down to work!

Firstly, determining what such a process might be, in our context, and Secondly, how to best and effectively engage with our diverse local, as well as the wider, communities. 

We chose to undertake a series of ‘needs based’ enquiry cycles and from the responses, we gradually created a design brief that was taken up by 11 professional and non-professional landscape designers, pro bono.

The clear majority of the 1,208 respondents to the final consultation chose the PARK+ concept design submitted by LandLAB. This consultation included a physical exhibition, as well as a virtual online exhibition, of all of the submitted designs. 

In 2017 the PARK+ concept design by LandLAB was formally presented to the WLB with an indicative budget. Later that year the Board selected the new civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road as their ‘One Local Initiative’ project for inclusion in the 10-year plan.

In Feb 2019, the ‘Environment & Community Committee’ unanimously supported the whole site civic space development at 254 Ponsonby Road – with NO prerequisite land sale. 

Council has, over the past several (long) years, engaged in meaningful consultation through the CLDG. And the Community has responded with significant and sustained engagement in the process, as well as showing continued support for the project during this time.

And so all this work has led us to being here today.

Now is the time and the opportunity to progress the community’s vision by approving the preliminary design and approving the enabling works package.

Because the new civic space will:

  • Ensure Maori culture is seen and experienced on Te Rimu-tahi
  • Protect our harbours by mitigating storm-water run off  and  improve the Mauri (life energy) of the Taiao (our natural environment). Taiao ora, Tangata ora. If the natural world is healthy, so too are the people.
  • Be an exemplar of sustainable development by the sensitive and adaptive re-use of the existing structures and features & it includes a rain-garden, green walls and (still) some green roofs
  • Encourage bio-diversity 
  • Be a green lung for the busy Ponsonby Road
  • Support the urban Ngahere strategy by creating shade and shelter, and reduce the impacts of climate change through carbon sequestration
  • Be an educational food forest & (still) optimistically, a community garden too, that will be accessible to everyone – including pupils from Ponsonby Intermediate School who have their first meeting for this in 2 weeks
  • Be a major connector and contributor to the pollinator pathway network
  • And action most of the ‘Waitematā Diversity in Parks Planning’ report’s recommendations.

Including being:

  • A place to build social capital
  • for celebrating Matariki
  • it will provide a place for families during the Christmas lights, or Diwali and other cultural celebrations & festivals
  • A place to be married
  • To learn to ride a bike
  • To rest and relax
  • Or to be energised and entertained
  • It will be a place for our hospitality and retail workforce to enjoy a break or their lunch
  • A tourist destination that will stimulate & support the business community
  • It will be a place of diversity and inclusion, where EVERYONE is welcome

It short, it will be an urban oasis that will be good for the people, good for the environment and good for Tāmaki Makaurau.

The CLDG respectfully requests the Waitematā Local Board approve the preliminary design that Mana Whenua and the design group have developed, working alongside LandLAB, for new civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road. And approve proceeding with procurement & delivery of the enabling works package.

It’s time.

Nga mihi and thank you.

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