Ponsonby News Update – February 2019

Ponsonby Park UNANIMOUSLY supported by Council.

Ponsonby is iconic, diverse and urban.

The vision you informed for the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road involves the contemporary values of democracy, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

On behalf of the community, we thank the ‘Environment & Community Committee’ for unanimously supporting the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road – with NO prerequisite land sale.

The journey

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

2006 Land at 254 Ponsonby Road was purchased for a ‘Town Square’.

2013 The Waitemata Local Board (WLB) released the ‘Draft Ponsonby Road Masterplan’ that included the civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road.

2014 Due to intense interest in the site, it was ‘de-coupled’ from the Masterplan and a site-specific consultation was held. 77% of the 698 respondents chose the whole site civic space option.

2016 The project was devolved to the community by the WLB 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 all got down to work!

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

Together we created a comprehensive communications strategy. One that reached out and updated people, and pulled in regular feedback. We used email, social media, our website, letter-box drops, in-person events, information sessions and regular updates via local media publications (thank you, Martin!).

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

 

2017 The final consultation (a physical and online virtual exhibition of the submitted designs) resulted in the LandLAB design being chosen.

May 2017 This design, with an indicative budget, was formally presented to the WLB.

December 2017 The whole site project was included in Auckland’s 10 Year Long Term Plan (LTP) as the WLB’s ‘One Local Initiative’. This received strong support from 60% of local residents who responded to the LTP.

November 2018 Council Officers presented their report to the WLB, recommending:

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

Also, LandLAB’s design won the international ‘World Architecture News – Future Civic category’ award. And was shortlisted in the ‘World Architecture Festival’, ‘Future Civic’ category.

 

The Community has shown significant and sustained engagement for a whole site civic space. And why wouldn’t they when it has so much to offer?

It will:

  • Protect our harbours by mitigating stormwater run-off
  • Be an exemplar for sustainable development by sensitively and adaptively reusing the existing structures and includes a rain garden, green walls, and green roof
  • It will encourage bio-diversity
  • Be a green lung for the busy Ponsonby Road
  • 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 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.

 

We are grateful for the WLB’s trust and support in both trialing, and championing the Community-led Design model. And we are delighted Council has unanimously supported the vision chosen by the community for the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road.

We look forward to being part of the realisation of Stage One of the development.

Bring it on!

 

Contact: 254ponsonbyrd.org.nz

About Jennifer Ward 53 Articles
Film industry Art Director.

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