Ponsonby News – December update

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other. The advent of CoVID-19 has upended the very concept of normality for many, if not most of us. Progress on so many things has been affected including the realisation of Ponsonby Park – the new civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road. So as 2020 draws to a close we thought it a good time to once again take stock of some of the things that have been achieved this year to advance the park.

The ‘Project Control Steering Group’ completed the business case for Ponsonby Park, after another Community-Led Design consultation that sought feedback on design options. This resulted in a new build being chosen through a submission process that then informed the business case.

In February, the business case was presented to the Waitematā Local Board and the board voted unanimously to approve and endorse the business case for Ponsonby Park.

The next step was to present the business case to Council’s Finance and Performance Committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday 19th March, to obtain approval for the remaining funding. However, the published agenda was set aside in order to address the implications of the CoVID-19 outbreak and to enable emergency planning instead.

Since then, the Ponsonby Park development has been on hold, along with all other local board ‘One Local Initiative’ projects.

We have continued our advocacy work by making presentations to Waitematā Local Board meetings and to the independent Commissioners tasked with reviewing the RMA zone. We have also kept the community informed via updates;

  • Here in the fabulous Ponsonby News (thank you Martin)
  • on our two Facebook pages, Ponsonby Park and 254 Ponsonbyrd
  • on our website 254ponsonbyrd.org.nz 
  • on our on-site ‘Ponsonby Park‘ noticeboard next to Dizengoff café by the bus stop
  • on the Neighbourly.co.nz noticeboard
  • plus email notifications to all of those already on our extensive digital database.

Physical work was scheduled to have already begun on-site at 254 Ponsonby Road. Finally, the dream that so many have supported and nurtured for so long was to have been underway. But CoVID-19 has temporarily delayed this. The Waitematā Local Board has publicly stated their desire for this delay to be for no more than one year. A desire we fully endorse.

In the meantime we have another exciting focus as “Auckland Transport (AT) is working with the community to trial people-friendly spaces and safer ways to travel along Ponsonby Road. This is part of several Innovating Streets projects across Auckland designed to test quick, temporary changes to create safer, more vibrant, people-friendly streets that are accessible for all”.

We have proposed a ‘pop-up walk-in terrarium’ (similar to the Green Air project image below) for Ponsonby Park and a much-needed pedestrian crossing. We think this will be a brilliant attractor of people to the area, provide a small piece of the magic that will one day be Ponsonby Park, and make it safe for everyone (access for all) to cross Ponsonby Road at this mid-point. Please support our ‘pop-up walk-in terrarium’ proposal by going to;

https://letschat.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/ponsonby-road-innovating-streets-for-people/#/marker/48371/discuss

And please also include your own concerns and ideas for Ponsonby Road’s Innovating Street project there too.

So to conclude, to EVERYONE who has been part of the Ponsonby Park journey to date; from the original members of the then Auckland City Council who had the vision to purchase the site in 2006, to the current Auckland Council who have continued to support the vision of the civic space through the retention of the entire site and the allocation of the endowment funding, to our Ward Councilor Pippa Coom, to the past and present members of the Waitematā Local Board and their support staff, but most importantly to YOU our community, who have consistently and continuously engaged with us throughout the Community-Led Design process, supporting us through this long and ongoing journey –  we THANK YOU.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

Ponsonby Park will be a place of diversity and inclusion, where EVERYONE is welcome and it will ‘buzz with the sound of people’. It will be an urban oasis that will be good for the people, good for the environment, and good for Auckland. We know that one day this beautiful civic space will be available for all of our residents, visitors and local businesses to access and enjoy.

But for now, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season, full of good cheer, rest and relaxation and we look forward to continuing our volunteer advocacy work for the new civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road that is Ponsonby Park, next year.

Arohanui

About Jennifer Ward 93 Articles
Designer

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