Council approves the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road aka ‘Ponsonby Park’

Presentation to the ‘Environment & Community’ Committee – 4th December 2018

Ponsonby is iconic, diverse and urban. Our vision for the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road involves the contemporary values of democracy, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

 

A brief history

A Boffa Miskell report in 2000 confirmed the wider Ponsonby area was under-supplied with public amenity space.

In 2006, the land at 254 Ponsonby Road was purchased. Since then, Waitematā has become one of the fastest-growing areas in Auckland with the population increasing by 6.7 percent.

In July 2013 the Waitemata Local Board released the ‘Draft Ponsonby Road Masterplan’ that included the civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road.

In 2014 a petition requesting a whole site civic space was presented to the Board and the site was ‘de-coupled’ from the Masterplan and a site-specific consultation was held.

77% of the 698 respondents to this consultation chose the whole site civic space option.

In March 2016 the project was devolved to the community by the Board, with a brief to:

Develop a design concept with an indicative budget, for a whole 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 – community.

We created a comprehensive communications strategy. This enabled us to reach and update people, and receive feedback on a routine basis and included; email, social media, a website, letter-box drops, in-person events, hosting information sessions and, regular updates via local media publications.

We then conducted a series of ‘needs based’ consultation cycles and the responses to these informed the creation of a design brief that was taken up by 11 designers. All working pro bono.

In 2017 we held a final consultation that included a physical exhibition, as well as an online virtual exhibition, of all the submitted designs with the clear majority of the 1,208 respondents choosing the LandLAB design.

In May 2017 we formally presented the LandLAB design, with an indicative budget, to the WLB.

In December 2017 the whole of site project was included in the Auckland 10 Year Long Term Plan. This received strong support from 60% of local residents who responded to the LTP.

In November this year Council Officers presented their report to the Board and recommended:

The development of the whole site (2,326m2) as a civic space, with no associated disposal – as the preferred option.

We are delighted that also in November, the LandLAB design won the international ‘World Architecture News – Future Civic category’ award and additionally it was shortlisted at the prestigious ‘World Architecture Festival’ in the “Future Civic’ category.

Council has over the past several years, engaged with the community and presented a whole site development as an option. And it is this option the community has consistently selected as their preference.

In 2014 – 1,243 people signed the initial petition and in 2016 – 1,208 people responded to our final Community-Led Design consultation.

The Community has shown significant and sustained engagement for a whole site civic space outcome.

And why wouldn’t they when it has so much to offer? It will:

– Protect our harbours by mitigating storm-water runoff

– Be an exemplar for sustainable development by sensitively and adaptively reusing the existing structures on the site and will include a rain garden, green walls, and green roof

– It will encourage bio-diversity

– Be a green lung for the busy Ponsonby Road

– Provide an educational food forest that is accessible for everyone

– Be a major connector and contributor to the pollinator pathway network

– Reduce the impacts of climate change by providing shade and carbon sequestration

It will also be:

– A place to build social capital

– A meeting place for people attending the Christmas lights and a place for the choir of St. Johns Samoan church opposite to rejoice!

– A place for Matariki, Diwali and other cultural celebrations & festivals

– It will be a place to be married

– To learn to ride a bike

– To rest and relax

– Or to be energized and entertained

– It will be a place for our hospitality and retail workforce to enjoy a break or to have their lunch

– A tourist destination that will stimulate and support the local business community

– A place for a Farmers market

– It will be a place of diversity and inclusion – where EVERYONE is welcome and will ‘buzz with the sound of people’

In short, it will be an urban oasis that will be good for the people, good for the environment and good for Auckland.

On behalf of the community, we respectfully request the ‘Environment & Community Committee’ support a whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road, with no prerequisite land sale.

Nga mihi and thank you

About Jennifer Ward 53 Articles
Film industry Art Director.

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