At the time of writing, we are in Level 2 of the COVID-19 response and are all beginning to find our way back into the world together. Although as a nation we appear to have done an incredibly good job of ‘eliminating’ the virus, the economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for a long time to come.
For this reason, Auckland Council has proposed an ‘emergency budget’ as it responds to the financial impacts of COVID-19. A new round of public consultation is now being carried out and it will run until mid-June, with adoption by the council’s Governing Body in late July 2020 We encourage everyone to make a submission. Your input will help Council prioritise their efforts for the upcoming year.
Council advises that it has focused operational activity and spending to prioritise essential services only, as a consequence of the financial impact and the new urgent needs created by COVID-19. This potentially means that the much anticipated and needed development of Ponsonby Park, the civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road, may be delayed. However, the well-documented need for this community amenity continues to increase, with significant population growth in the 20 years since the original Boffa Miskell report first identified it.
We understand that these are extraordinary times and that we now need to ‘cut our coat according to our cloth’. So, how can this be achieved?
We suggest that Ponsonby Park, although likely to be delayed in the immediate future, be provided with a meaningful and symbolic physical presence on Ponsonby Road in the meantime. That a portion of the site at 254 Ponsonby Road be made available for the community and beautified as a place for people to meet, gather, rest, and relax – until the project can be fully completed.
Exactly what this might look like would need to be determined, but it would be a tangible result for the community for their ongoing commitment to this project. Ponsonby Park, the civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road, is a Community-Led Design (CLD) initiative. It was instigated by the Waitematā Local Board with the CLD group itself being comprised of an enthusiastic and steadfast group of volunteers from the community. The CLD process has generated sustained and ongoing support from the community and many local businesses, for the entire 5 years it has been underway. You can view our workload on the website 254ponsonbyrd.org.nz
It is clear that now more than ever, we all need to be able to come together, to have the common ground and public places where both optimism and resilience can be nurtured and sustained. Ponsonby Park is that place.