Enforcement of Auckland Council bylaws – including those relating to pollution from building sites, dog control and camping in tents on beach reserves – is being sought by the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board. And they anticipate that other local boards could join them to provide strength in numbers.
The local board is hoping that it could lead to a review of the entire enforcement process, and funding for that, within Council.
Member Alexis Poppelbaum presented her Notice of Motion seeking bylaw and legislative compliance enforcement at the local board’s first business meeting of the year, on February 17.
She says the issue was highlighted by the overnight camping that took place on local beach reserves this summer.
“It demonstrates that something is needed to address lack of action, delayed action and the inability of Council and Auckland Transport to enforce bylaws,” she told the local board.
“What point is there in having all these bylaws if they are not enforced? Signs are not enough,” Poppelbaum said.
Board members agreed, saying that resourcing and the skeleton staff available, particularly over summer, were part of the problem.
“The staff we do have are proactive and fantastic, but there are not enough of them. Council’s money is tight but there is an opportunity to streamline and efficiencies to save money.”
Members consider the Notice of Motion could open the door for a ‘whole of system’ review of enforcement by Council and its CCO’s, with Poppelbaum noting that other local boards in north Auckland are supportive and doing similar notices of motion.
She says local boards in other parts of the city may also join the call for more enforcement.
“Power in numbers would send a strong message,” she says. “Each local board has issues that need enforcement.”
Among other things, the Notice of Motion states that: “enforcement of its many bylaws, including enforcement responsibilities … is a core and essential function of Council”.
It seeks “an increase in employed compliance enforcement officers; that work be routinely contracted out to third parties during peak times; and that issues regarding who is responsible in certain areas (Auckland Transport or Council, for example) be sorted out.
It also thanks staff in the Compliance and Community Facilities teams “who are doing an outstanding job under the circumstances of being severely under-resourced to deal with the sheer volume and variety of compliance breaches”.
Poppelbaum says what happens next remains to be seen, but it is an issue that needs urgent attention, especially given the wide range of bylaw breaches reported by residents and elected members across Auckland that are not being responded to.