Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A plea for sanity on the Unitary Plan

169 Responses

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  • George Darroch, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Look on the bright side about all this. For the first time, Aucklanders are having an ARGUMENT about the future of our city/region. Like all arguments, it may not be as well informed as it should be.

    Yes, but your lot are sucking information from the debate. When that happens, it’s not an argument but a tantrum.

    The bad faith of this lot is legendary. The chief opponent of “3 story houses” is himself extremely proud of his specially built 3 story house. I don’t have a tape measure, but it looks quite a bit higher than 8m to me. Fair enough, it looks like a nice place to live in. What's offensive is that he is spending his time and energy to prevent anyone else from being able to do so.

    What these people are trying to do is to enforce an imagined future on us, derived from their perceptions of the past. This is instead of allowing the flexibility to create the great range of things that present people already want, and that future people are likely to desire.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Auckland was unable even to accept a free rugby stadium from Trevor Mallard

    Hang on, I know there are a lot of tax dodgers in Auckland, but are you saying that nobody in the AK pays tax at all?

    Because they way I saw it, the 1.5 million Aucklanders were going to be paying 40% of the billion dollar cost of the palace of rugby they had planned, were understandably unkeen and expressed this through their elected reps.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    "The same warm palette can be found throughout the three-level house ( four-level, if you count Sue’s office eyrie)."

    'Unobtrusive' my arse. Hypocrites.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • J Browning,

    Hi Russell - I agree that there is a lot of hysteria in some quarters, but as one of those rare Aucklander's who has read the entire document in detail - and those related to it - I am very concerned about the Unitary Plan.

    Not only are most Aucklanders unaware of what is contained in the Unitary Plan, they also seem unaware of how it fits with the Vision and various Strategic Plans it is supposed to support (such as Auckland Plan).

    In fact, I've consulted directly with Planners responsible for the Unitary Plan and even they were unable to explain how it fits with the Auckland Plan, Visitor Plan, Transport Plan etc...

    This lack of overall consultation and approach within the multitude of Council divisions is what's fundamentally wrong with our city.

    This, and of course the fact that the Unitary Plan is essentially a rule book that appears to have been thrown together - I agree that some rules have been relaxed, but many have not been.

    Everyone has become fixated on one aspect - rules related to buildings - but there are also rules that are being changed that will have unexpected consequences.

    Take the changes to parking requirements for new developments in the CBD and fringe suburbs - new developments in these suburbs will be given a maximum number of parking spaces, instead of a minimum number. This is an attempt to force people out of cars and into Active means of Transport and Public Transport.

    Sounds good in theory, right?

    International learnings point to the fact that dwellings without carparks have unexpected consequences - instead of creating affordable, sustainable housing developments, they attract transient populations (such as students who stay for short periods) which means strong communities do not develop...strong communities means sustainable communities that are connected, safe, walkable etc...

    Oh; I could go on...but you get the picture...

    Auckland • Since May 2013 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    The caveat is to do it transparently, in consultation and with concurrent facility and infrastructure improvements.

    What I don't get is that it seems to me that this is precisely what the DRAFT unitary plan is doing right now.

    A draft plan has been put together, mostly by joining up all the previous city plans and put out to wide open feedback - so that people can raise exactly the kinds of problems you are mentioning - with the intent that the next draft will be better.

    Seriously what more could people want, apart from a perfect plan on the first draft.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to J Browning,

    International learnings point to the fact that dwellings without carparks have unexpected consequences

    Please do provide some evidence, because your assertion flies in the face of what I've heard on the topic. Transportblog have done many detailed posts over the years about the impact of parking on our cityscape, and comparing it with other parts of the world who seem to cope just fine without free car storage provided along every street.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to SteveL,

    failed miserably to give people enough useful information up front

    Um to understand all the information behind the plan you'd need a degree in town planning. Seriously folks have you ever tried to assemble a document even a tenth as complex as this thing is? It's freaking amazing that it is even this readible.

    I really wish folks would cut these guys some slack, this is a plan for the entire city. It is unbelievably complex.

    Give them feedback, that's what they asked for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to J Browning,

    the multitude of Council divisions

    Yes, the 'supercity' amalgamation swapped silos of geography for those of function.

    It will take some time and effort to get them all working coherently. Not helpful when CCOs like Auckland Transport and Watercare were specifically set up by the government to be beyond Council's power - and when the latest transport law changes make that even moreso.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If Council had even communicated competently where this draft fits into the process, I might feel more forgiving. They're not bad people but this is not a job done right.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to J Browning,

    In fact, I’ve consulted directly with Planners responsible for the Unitary Plan and even they were unable to explain how it fits with the Auckland Plan, Visitor Plan, Transport Plan etc…

    This lack of overall consultation and approach within the multitude of Council divisions is what’s fundamentally wrong with our city.

    But that's less a problem with the Unitary Plan than the design of the Super City, surely?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But there is no next draft.

    Len Brown wanted it to take legal effect immediately following Notification. Amy Adams rejected that and imposed the one off independent hearing process from September.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    this is not a job done right

    This is not a job done.

    Sure I get the feeling the planners would have like to spend another 6 months before letting anyone see it (because they knew it had problems) I also get the feeling someone said it goes out on this day whether it's ready or not I also get the feeling the marketing team around it spent more time on logos than on preparing the public for the content and the role of the public.

    But warts and all ... we have a plan to play with and contribute to. I've lived in Auckland 40 years - we've never been consulted in this way before. And frankly given some of the behaviour towards the UP we don't appear to deserve to be consulted.

    It's like being asked to proofread someones first novel ... this is a privilege ... it behooves us to treat it as an opportunity to contribute ... not as a chance to laugh at the typos.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'm talking about the marketing team, not the planners, to be clear. I hope they have the good grace to feel embarrassed at least.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    given some of the behaviour towards the UP we don't appear to deserve to be consulted

    Citzenship needs to be nurtured to create a mature society. We reap what we don't sow.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    FWIW.

    There seems to be an illusion held by some that by eliminating managed intensification, intensification itself will disappear. This certainly wasn’t the case for certain areas of Oxford in the 1980’s. Property values rose, but it became almost impossible to re-develop on existing sites. With a fluid student accommodation market the trend became to gut existing properties and basically turn any large room into plasterboard dormitory. In some cases buildings ended up with suspended floors visible through gable windows, and a disappearance of in character internal furnishings (Doors, light roses, mouldings etc.). I guess nasty on the inside is the least of the sins though. Houses that at a squeeze should have accommodated 12-16 people ended up with 20-30 people in them. The student population is seasonal, consequently the local pubs, video stores and corner shops went bust and the local church got sold off. When finally Universities started building halls of residence again, these ugly uninhabitable student houses turned into even less salubrious hostels with accompanying impact on property values. The NIMBY’s were powerless and furious.

    My point isn’t that I expect the above to happen in Auckland, but that the consequences of a planning vacuum are unpredictable, unpleasant and have an effect on everyone.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to InternationalObserver,

    Welcome back! I wondered where you went.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just to note that my friend in Elgin Street, who had a query about his own situation, had a good experience with the Auckland Council Unitary Plan hotline: ph 09 301 0101.

    There's also a list of ways to give feedback, from Twitter on up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    What I don’t get is that it seems to me that this is precisely what the DRAFT unitary plan is doing right now.

    The text on the feedback page says this:

    Next steps

    Once feedback has closed, the council will work through the feedback and determine what changes need to be made to the plan. This process will take some months to complete. Information on the major feedback themes we received and a summary of the key changes we have made to the plan based on that feedback will be made available on the website later in the year. If you submit your feedback via our online form or send in a feedback form by post or email, we will contact you to let you know when that information is available.

    Feedback provided through the other channels outlined above will not be responded to individually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Nic Brown,

    Farrar has lately been at pains to point out that young, left leaning voters tend not to vote. National have been softening in the polls, and I have no doubt that the internal line is that it is nothing to worry about.

    The National Party don't have an alternative vision for Auckland. They lost face when the super city voted for Len Brown, but more than anything they are focussed on the next election at this point. These anti-unitary meetings are being framed as a grassroots rebellion, and are being thrown raw meat from Wellington. When your voter base is agitated, and is self organising and compiling mailing lists, you play to that.

    It is horrifying that at the core of policy and strategy is the appreciation that 'having Auckland gets its comeuppance' is going to play well with your wider electorate. I am so glad that we have cool hands like Gerry Brownlee at the tiller, who would never stoop as low as that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    In 2007, Auckland was unable even to accept a free rugby stadium from Trevor Mallard

    FFS, Matthew. Call me an unpatrioric rugby-hating Grinch if you must, but there were perfectly legitimate questions about how "free" it really was and Mallard did a terrible job of addressing those concerns rather than going on a charm(-less) offensive against those ghastly, impertinent elected local body politicians who'd have to figure out how to make up the shortfall. A perfectly justified impertinence, considering massive bydget blowouts on stadia aren't exactly unknown.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to InternationalObserver,

    Anyone who’s travelled knows that building intensification is common overseas, and it’s no all shoebox apartments and ghettos

    Yes, the .5% of this planet that is habitable to us, and a few other species, is getting crowded, and squabbling is happening.
    Who'd have thunk it!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Yes, for starters, the stadium was going to be located where our current port is. Changing the location of a port just to put in a rugby stadium, at short notice, is a planning fail. I even would like to have actually had the stadium built right there, and the port moved, but it was unrealistic in the timeframe. You just can't ram that kind of thing through. In the scale of things, a port is a whole lot more important than a stadium, so you don't just rush into a decision regarding it. I highly doubt the super city would have come to any different decision. Also, it wasn't just Aucklanders who didn't want the stadium.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Webber, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    The Melbourne comparison is apposite – from my Grey Lynn vantage point (actually in the valley) let’s avoid demolishing the city’s history willy-nilly and instead move all those car yards on the Great North Road ridge and build some quality apartments with the best views in the city rather than a massive Bunnings with a four metre wall to the road. The vibrant Ponsonby Road and New North Road, Kingsland environments can and should be replicated in an area and a way that will continue to reinvigorate the central city fringes. I want to be able to walk to cafés, restaurants and shops, not drive.

    I agree – surely some of the best opportunities for intensification are current non-residential sites.

    Out this way in St Johns / Glen Innes the major issue is not destruction of historic dwellings but reduction in green space. The UP has most of Colin Maiden Park (home of Auckland University Cricket Club and Auckland University Rugby Club) re-zoned for high-density housing.

    I think the plan calls for a 40% increase in population in our ward over the planning period. So re-zoning Colin Maiden Park helps with housing 40% more people, but where will the 40% extra children get to run around (especially when most of the remaining back yards will have a new house on them)?

    We need to be planning not just for intensification of houses but for intensification of living together - more cars, more busses, more train trips, and more pressure on our parks and beaches.

    I’d like to see Colin Maiden Park (and other parks) remain in place in its (their) entirety. And the low density commercial businesses in the surrounding Felton Matthew Ave and Morrin Rd might just have to cosy up to each other to free up space for people.

    Getting rid of the biggest park in the area just cannot be the smartest long-term solution.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    I worry about the fact that we're still pumping millions o tonnes of raw sewage into the harbour let alone adding more dwellings. In 1996 Auckland City had a decades long plan to get rid of the problem of stormwater overflowing into the sewerage system when it rained. John Banks etc exended this deadline by decades and our current council have extended it by decades more. We can't handle current flows. http://joelcayford.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/is-central-interceptor-necessary.html

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Debate is all very well but Mathew Hooton et al are especially happy because this uninformed debate is hurting Brown. If it was hurting Key they would all be up in arms at the level of misinformation and reactionary stupidity. Hooton then has the cheek to say calm down, all is well, it's just a good old argument. Arguing many of the government's policies is not allowed because they rush through all sorts of shocking legislation under urgency. Or the commercial media simply fails to pick up the mantel. Dark arts indeed.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

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