Local board identifies priorities

The Howick Local Board believes Murphys Road in Flat Bush as a road that needs to be upgraded. Times photo Wayne Martin

Upgrading rural roads, restoring local beaches, and tackling climate change are at the forefront of the Howick Local Board’s future priorities.

The board has agreed on the feedback and input it’s submitting toward Auckland Council’s 10-year budget 2021-2031.

It finalised the initiatives to be included in the 2021/2022 local board agreement at its May business meeting.

They’re the projects the board wants to be considered by the council’s finance and performance committee.

They include for the local board transport capital fund to be reinstated to the pre-Covid-19 level of $21 million annually, and for the $38m previously allocated through the fund to local boards to be fully restored.

It wants to see increased regional funding for the restoration of local beaches and to address the impacts on the coastline due to climate change, sea level rise, and weather-related events.

The board wants funding to upgrade rural roads to urban standards, including widening narrow bridges in response to the growth of local urban areas, and points to Flat Bush School Road, Chapel Road, and Murphys Road as those that need attention.

It will advocate for the use of eco-friendly and environmentally-sustainable building methods for the Flat Bush aquatic and leisure centre and community centre and library, and for the latter two projects’ construction timeframe to be brought forward.

The board does not support a proposed one-off five per cent average general rates increase for the 2021/2022 financial year, instead favouring a 3.5 per cent average general rates increase.

It supports the proposed additional investment to respond to climate change challenges.

It also supports the proposal to extend and increase the water quality targeted rate for another three years from 2028-2031, as well as increasing the targeted rate annually in line with the proposed average increase in general rates.

The board supports a proposal for the council to adopt a new approach for community services to enable it to reduce building and asset maintenance-related expenditure.

Board chairperson Adele White says it doesn’t support any further sale of local community assets, following a vote by the finance and performance committee late last year to dispose of four public green spaces in east Auckland.

She says the board has advocated for five items which it believes are significant for Howick.

“Reinstating the transport capital fund will ensure we can continue with important projects like the Howick Village Centre Plan, increasing our walking and cycling network, and other road safety issues.”

She says she regularly hears from Flat Bush residents seeking community space for meetings and social activities.

“A community centre with library is urgent as there is no suitable space available for them in this location.”

The board also supports proposed rating changes impacting different properties across Auckland differently, with the exception of the proposal to charge residential rates on farm and lifestyle properties in the urban rating area.

It opposes the proposal to charge residential rates on farm and lifestyle properties in the urban rating area.