It’s heartening to see the gains the Hibiscus Coast is getting compared with many parts of Auckland.
A great example is the new bus service with simpler routes and more buses. Because we showed the Hibiscus Coast could be treated separately to the North Shore we persuaded Auckland Transport to bring on the consulting, tendering and start of our services more than two years earlier. Being geographically separated from the Shore has its advantages!
Next month could see the start of the innovative dynamic laning project to free up traffic flow at peak time on Whangaparaoa Road between Red Beach Road and Hibiscus Highway that featured in Hibiscus Matters’ June 1 edition. A combination of LED lights and overhead signs will tell motorists whether its two lanes city bound in the morning peak, two lanes homebound evening peak – or one lane each way with a middle flush median the rest of the time. Making it work depends on motorists selecting the appropriate lane early and merging with courtesy.
Then there are the extensions to the current Silverdale Park and Ride, this Spring. Further improvements to local transport include the extension of East Coast Road across the Weiti stream and up to Silverdale North (from the vicinity of Bunnings and Pak ‘n’ Save). The present road into the Park ‘n’ Ride will be extended to link with East Coast Road – so cars from East Coast Road, including Stillwater, will not have to use the Hibiscus Highway.
We also have the likely prospect of a new Park ‘n’ Ride on the other side of the motorway serving an expanded Silverdale North-west and significant improvements to walkways and cycleways across all of Silverdale.
Fortunately many of our local transport improvements around Silverdale are paid for, and often built, by the developers in the vicinity – so they aren’t delayed by funding limits that hold spending back on many projects elsewhere in Auckland.
Unseen but also important are the big spends underway on improving the sewage treatment at Army Bay ($30 million plus) and pipeline and pumping station works that will help reduce overflows in storm events.
Communication on Auckland Council’s part is not always as clear as it could be. Councillors also find it frustrating. With the large number of seniors on the Hibiscus Coast I would have liked, and suggested, a choice in the size of recycling wheelie bins delivered – before the drop off. For my family the smaller 120 litre size will work for the fortnightly pick-up (same day as the ‘waste’). I will find 120 litres less bulky and easier to manage on my sloping driveway than the 240 litre. If milk bottles and cans are squashed, everything will fit ok. So I contacted Council for a swap. But nowhere, aside from this paper, have I seen information on this option. We’ll continue to use the blue bin to accumulate the recycling closer to the kitchen – then transfer when full to the wheelie. Don’t hold back – ask the Council for help if you have an issue on this (phone 0800 426 5169). There’s also a special ‘assisted service’ facility for people experiencing difficulties generally with wheelie bins.
The SuperGold HOP card roll out for seniors has also been confusing. With the July 1 date coming up for the changeover to a SuperGold HOP card, there’s still time to get the new card; there’s a choice of on-line, by post and in-person. Contact Auckland Transport (09 366 4467), a retailer that sells HOP cards (there are very few of these locally) or one of the bus stations such as the Albany Park and Ride to find out what suits you. The SuperGold HOP card requirement comes from the government’s need for information on their share of the subsidy. Go to at.govt.nz/supergold.
Later this month myself and Cr John Watson will be promoting a scheme so that people on tank water and reticulated sewage can purchase a meter at a discounted price with installation by local plumbers – so that your wastewater can be charged by the cubic meter instead of an ‘estimate’ of nearly $600 a year. This offers potential savings for many homes of $400 a year, depending on their water consumption.
This year’s rates all across Auckland are going up by an average of 2.4 percent – for residential properties it’s 2.6 percent and 1.7 percent for businesses. This is the first year that the rate increase for properties across Auckland is the same for every property type.
It’s a tough time coming up over the next few months with decisions on the Unitary Plan (the big new property zoning plan for Auckland) coming up from late July, the start on works for the City Rail Link and the build up to the local elections ending on election day Saturday, October 8.
As always it’s good to hear from people if there’s anything across Council I can help with – preferably earlier, rather than later.