We would like to update you on what we, the Ponsonby Park Community-Led Design group, have been doing recently and how we would like to see the Ponsonby Park project progress whilst under the Emergency budget constraints, imposed by COVID.
Unfortunately, yet understandably our Ponsonby Park project has been temporarily delayed by COVID.
Ponsonby Park as the Waitematā Local Board’s One Local Initiative was scheduled to obtain funding approval at the Finance and Performance Committee meeting, on Thursday 19th March. However, the published agenda was set aside in order to address the implications of the COVID outbreak instead.
A necessity our Community-Led Design group understood and fully supported.
Whilst NZ was in Level 4 lockdown, the Project Control Steering Group for Ponsonby Park continued their work via virtual meetings, and progress was maintained. (Our Community-Led Design Chairperson Chris Bailey, is our representative on the PCSG). The re-zoning process is well underway with no objections received. However the five design companies that had been invited to submit ‘Request For Proposals’ – have been temporarily postponed.
Council actively sought ways to ensure long-awaited and needed community projects were achieved. We promoted Ponsonby Park and it was included in the long-list of ‘shovel ready’ projects drawn up by Council for consideration by Government as suitable infrastructure projects to help re-boot the economy.
Ponsonby Park filled the requirements of creating jobs, supporting key trades, and providing real public benefit. Unfortunately, it did not make the short-list.
It was 20 years ago that the need for Ponsonby Park was first identified.
It has been 14 years since the site was purchased for the purpose of fulfilling this community need.
The Waitematā Local Board initiated the ‘Community-Led Design’ process 5 years ago.
We understand that these are extraordinary times and that we need to ‘cut our coat according to our cloth’. So we are proposing and promoting that Ponsonby Park, although 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.
The Waitematā Local Board is now undertaking Phase two of the 3-year budget consultation. Ponsonby Park is the Waitematā Local Board’s priority capital project, aka ‘One Local Initiative’ project.
We request that the Waitematā Local Board join with our Community-Led Design group in requesting work for Ponsonby Park continues to progress through the ‘Design and Planning’ stage. This makes practical and financial sense. The momentum for the development is maintained, jobs are created without committing the full Capex, and the community is rewarded for all of the ongoing support and effort they have put into the project to date.
The vision for Ponsonby Park has always been of a place for people to gather; to rest, relax, and recreate. A place to meet new people or catch up with old friends or to simply spend some time to chill and take a moment. These things are even more important now.
We all need to be able to come together, to have the common ground and public spaces where both optimism and resilience can be nurtured and sustained.
Ponsonby Park is this place.