Ponsonby Park – July Update

Out of the blue, the Waitematā Local Board (WLB) has NOT approved the appointment of the design studio selected to advance the Ponsonby Park development. This appointment was scheduled for May 2023. This delay has effectively stalled the project. 

The Community-Led Design Group (CLDG) has enquired as to why this is, what the hold-up may be, and most importantly, when will the appointment be made.

From what we have been able to glean, it would appear that the WLB simply needs to continue with the CLD process that has served it and the community so well to date. Then the design process, supported by the ongoing Community-Led Design (CLD) work, can address any concerns the Board has.

The CLDG has worked inclusively, transparently, and reliably with the WLB, by providing regular updates, presentations, analysis, and information, for over 9 years. We have also kept the community informed and engaged over this time. The CLD process has delivered sustained and ongoing community engagement and participation, at levels rarely seen by local government.

Once the appointment is approved;

– The Design Studio that has already been selected to develop the LandLAB Park+ Concept Design*, will work through a design process to deliver Ponsonby Park. 

– The design process is the tool to collectively, collaboratively, and transparently address any issues and concerns that may exist, or arise. 

– The design process is the lens that enables other considerations to be collectively assessed, rather than doing so in an isolated silo. 

– Any concerns the Board has can, and will be addressed as the project develops from Concept design through to Preliminary designs, with the support of the CLD process.

A brief history of the CLDG 
– 23 years ago the need for the civic space was first identified** 
– 17 years ago the site at 254 Ponsonby Road was purchased to address this open space shortfall
– 10 years ago a petition of over 1200 signatures called for the retention of the whole site for the civic space***
That petition resulted in the WLB establishing the Community-Led Design process to ensure the creation of an urban space that matched the needs of the local residents, the local businesses, and visitors to Ponsonby.
The WLB invited stakeholders to further the whole site, civic space objective. This included; the Ponsonby Business Association, Residents’ Associations, Community Leaders, Police, Community Groups, and other interested people. An inclusive and broad stakeholder representation was established from the very first meeting through to the final design selection submission process.
Everyone has had the opportunity to participate, submit, to comment freely during the many consultations undertaken. 
By all metrics, the Community-Led Design process has been hugely successful, as evidenced by the significant and sustained interest it has generated over several years;
– 1,243  people signed the petition for the whole site civic space
– 698  people responded to the WLB’s 254 Ponsonby Road consultation
– 190  people responded to the 1st CLD consultation
– 115  people responded to the 2nd CLD consultation
– 1,208  people responded to the 3rd CLD consultation which resulted in the selection of the LandLAB Park+ concept design

The Waitematā Local Board needs to urgently appoint the design studio to progress the Ponsonby Park project and to continue with their 10-year-long CLD engagement process.
The delivery of Phase One of the development can then get back on schedule. 
The funds for this are available, they are ring-fenced, but they are devaluing fast. It is fiscally imprudent to delay further. 

All of this leads the CLDG to be optimistic that the design studio appointment will be made soon and that our constructive working relationship with the WLB will continue. Because the CLD process will deliver a great result for everyone – and it will be a result that we will all be proud to have been a part of.

Watch this space.

For more information please see our webpage: 254ponsonbyrd.org.nz Or our Facebook page, Ponsonby Park.
*In November 2018 LandLAB’s Park+ concept design won the International, World Architecture News – ‘Future Civic category’ award
** 2000, Boffa Miskell report http://www.254ponsonbyrd.org.nz/uncategorized/boffa-miskell-survey-2000-open-space-assessment-ponsonby/
***‘December 2018 ‘Environment & Community Committee’ unanimously supports the whole site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road with no prerequisite land sale https://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2018/12/ENV_20181204_MIN_6846.htm

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