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Q and A for the Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay Residents Association

August 28, 2019

SARAH FREE

STANDING FOR WCC EASTERN WARD

POLICIES:

Rates: Ideally we would keep rates at not much more than the rate of inflation, but this is often not possible, partly because the costs of things Council provides (roads, water infrastructure etc) have risen faster than the average rate of inflation, and partly because residents and businesses often want more for their city. City Council rates provide essential services, sewerage, clean water and storm water disposal, roads, footpaths and walkways, street lighting, sea walls; and also some of the nice-to-haves such as parks, community centres, libraries, sports facilities and swimming pools, events and festivals. The totality of what is provided perhaps puts the amount paid into perspective. Rates must be spent wisely, but enough needs to be rated to provide the things that residents collectively support through the long term and annual plan process. It’s worth noting that there is a rates rebate available for those on low incomes.

Housing: Most housing is provided by the private sector, but Council has a role in setting the District Plan, which sets out where housing can be built and restrictions such as height, site coverage, etc. Council also has an extensive social housing portfolio (over 2000 units), much of which has been recently upgraded. Council’s recent consultation on “Planning for Growth” saw residents agree that growth should be focussed on the CBD and suburban centres. This will mean more dense housing, but it must be done well to achieve liveable, pleasant outcomes for everyone, and houses that will be warm, dry and durable. Dense housing needs green space and community gardens and play areas around it. I’d also like to see Council continue to build more social housing in areas where there are good services.

Roads: Roads cost a lot to maintain and also take up space which could be used for other purposes, so we need to think carefully before building more. I do support getting back a two way road for public use between Strathmore and the south coast, ( the old Steward Duff Drive or similar), and much better public transport, including from the Airport to relieve congestion around the Cobham Drive roundabout. We will need to negotiate with WIAL to achieve both of these, but must have some leverage with our ownership share (34%).

I also support an underpass (rather than an overbridge which would need to be very high) to enable people to safely cross Cobham Drive between the two roundabouts. People try to cross there frequently and we know it is very dangerous. The “underpass” would be at the present road level or very slightly below and SH1 would rise up over it by about 4m. I know it would be more expensive than a pedestrian crossing, but I think both motorists and pedestrians/ cyclists deserve a grade-separated solution. I’d at least like this solution investigated and costed.

I think we do need another tunnel through Mt Victoria, or enlarge the existing one, in order to improve the cycling and walking access from the eastern suburbs to the city, but I am not necessarily in favour of a lot more space being given over to roads. I would like to see some creative solutions.

Id like to see slower speeds through all our suburban shopping centres, school zones, and in the CBD.

Public transport: Better public transport will be my top priority if I am re-elected. I have consistently advocated to the Regional Council to fix its broken services in the eastern suburbs, and I will continue to do so. In particular we need from the Regional Council (Metlink):

– Strathmore services that go via Newtown and Adelaide Rd to the Railway Station
– A genuine express service from the Miramar peninsula to the city
– An express airport service that is affordable and part of the Metlink services
– More buses so people are not left behind in Hataitai and other areas.
– Better weekend services in all areas
– Better wages and conditions for drivers to solve driver retention.

As the road controlling authority, there are also things the City Council needs to do:

– bus shelters on almost all inward-bound (to the city) stops and the major outbound stops
– Better bus priority at intersections, easier bus stops for drivers and people, removing pinch points on narrow roads, more bus lanes.

Climate + Environment: We need action to deal with the causes of climate change and the impacts;

– Safer and easier walking and cycling, a safe crossing for Cobham Drive (I prefer an underpass)
– Much more reliable and affordable public transport
– More charging points for electric vehicles
– Encourage businesses to employ local, purchase local
– Encouraging local food production
– Planting trees
– Sea walls where appropriate, and rebuilding and stabilising dunes
– Urban design that contains and deals with water through swales and planting
– Looking at emissions caused by air travel and seeking community-led solutions.

On other environmental matters, id like to see us deal with plastic waste ending up on our beaches, give residents incentives to reduce waste to landfill, continue the predator-free programme and do more to address climbing weeds in our reserves.

Infrastructure: We will need to spend more on water infrastructure (including emergency water storage), sea walls and retaining hillsides, and building and maintaining roads and tunnels. There will be some difficult questions to be answered in consultation with the community about where the balance lies.

Shelly Bay Development: The proposed development at Shelly Bay has been very divisive. I didn’t support the establishment of a SHA (Special Housing area) there. However, when the SHA went ahead, I did support the sale/lease of Council land on advice from Council officers that it would result in a better development overall and because I believed it was in line with our MOU with Iwi. Now that we have a new resource consent process and new information including revised traffic data, the CEO has indicated Councillors can revisit the sale/lease decision.

Local facilities (like parks and libraries): I’m very supportive and looking forward to the creation of a heritage park on Watts Peninsula. I’d like to see some green space retained on the Miramar South school site regardless of what else happens there. I also think we could do with some play equipment beside the little skate park on the Leonie Gill Pathway.

On that note, we need to look at the provision of play spaces in the eastern suburbs and make sure all our children have reasonable access to a local playground. I’d also like to see drinking fountains provided for playgrounds and popular beaches.

I’ve asked for a review of library hours in our suburban libraries as I’d like to see Miramar library in particular open longer on Saturday, given the traffic pressures in the weekends.

Finally, we need to fix the Central library with a speedy and pragmatic solution and get it back for the public as this is a resource for the whole city to use.

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