Further to our previous post in relation to the Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan, the OBC raised a number of questions, and sought clarification on a number of points, to assist it’s consideration of the Council’s Plan, and the formulation by the OBC committee of its submission as part of the Council’s consultation process.
We share with you, below, the correspondence with Beth Houlbrooke, Chair – Rodney Local Board. The OBC’s questions and comments are those in black, with Beth’s responses following in italics.
We felt you would have an interest in Beth’s comments …
• The Local Board is planning to invest $8.1m to renew and develop assets in the Rodney area, and $14.4m to maintain and operate these assets. To provide some context re these amounts, what has been spent each year for the last couple of years?
This sounds like our total annual budget allocation split capex/opex. A great deal of that is non-discretionary, i.e. it is used to maintain existing assets, or “keep the lights on”. A much smaller proportion of it is discretionary, and that’s what our local board priority questions relate to. The complete budget this year (2017/2018) was $4.3m to renew and develop assets and $14.4m to maintain and operate them. In 2016/2017 it was $7.3m and $12.2m respectively. Before then the methodology was different so the numbers aren’t easy to compare like for like but you get the idea of the total budgets involved.
• The paper re the Local Board’s plans for the 2018/2019 financial year talks of a park-and-ride in Warkworth. Can you please advise / confirm:
– that the intention is that this will in fact provide a regular bus service to Auckland (in relation to other areas the papers seem to refer to ‘bus services’, but for Warkworth it’s just a park-and-ride, with a couple of bus shelters)
Auckland Transport are already planning a trial connector service from Warkworth to Silverdale park-n-ride starting this October. The local board have expressed concern that no provision for parking appears to have been made to support this service, therefore as a ‘trial’ we may be dooming it to failure. Additionally, there is a private bus service and if the intention is to reduce congestion on Auckland’s roads then surely a park-n-ride should not be dependent on a public service. The private bus service could use it, as could people wanting to carpool to the city. The local business community are also looking at ways of getting retail and other CBD employees to park outside of the town to free up parking for customers. This park-n-ride that we’re proposing would be a temporary one until after completion of the motorway when AT will eventually put one in, plus expand the public transport network. How long we’ll have to wait for that is unclear.
– that Auckland Transport supports, and has planned and budgeted for such a service
Yes, as above, starts in October.
– (I may have missed it, but …) what is the proposed timing of introducing the park-and-ride and bus service to Auckland (assuming the targeted rate is introduced)
I don’t have a completion date for the park-n-ride but as we are mainly using existing infrastructure (the Warkworth Showgrounds) with the addition of bus shelters, road markings and turnaround areas for the bus, I would hope that this is relatively quick to implement.
– are there plans for an improved feeder bus service to the park-and ride in Warkworth? For example, a more direct Kowhai Connection service from Omaha; and also a bus stop in the southern end of Omaha?
The local board has requested AT to come and discuss this with us and explain how the Kowhai Connection timetable will work with the connector bus to Silverdale. I suggest you make mention of this in your submission.
– is it planned to charge for parking at the park-and-ride?
• Could you please clarify for me the status of the planned / talked about Matakana Link Road (without such a road alleviating the problems at the Hill St intersection, trying to catch a bus may be rather problematic …).
On track for completion in 2021 at the same time as completion of the motorway. We are doing all we can with the support of the Warkworth Transport Forum (a collection of representatives from central and local government, NZTA, AT, NX2 (the motorway construction group), Warkworth Area Liaison Group, One Warkworth Business Association, and Fix Hill St Now Action Group) to lobby to have this brought forward if at all possible.
• ‘Appendix B: Transport investment options for Rodney Local Board’ refers to the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) being in draft form only, but open for public consultation early January 2018. Following some searching I came across this document https://at.govt.nz/media/1975806/item-41-approval-of-the-draft-rltp-2018.pdf Is this the document referred to, which we also need to study (and comment on)?
The RLTP consultation period has been pushed out until April. When these documents were prepared, it was still on track to form part of the consultation with the 10 year budget. Hence mention of it in January 2018. As yet there is nothing to link to as I don’t believe the RLTP is publically accessible yet.
However, in relation to the RLTP, surely this should be available to us as part of the consultation process for the Council’s 10 Year Budget?
Unfortunately those bits of information are available yet. The recent change of government may have had some bearing on the RLTP re-write. We haven’t seen the draft yet either. So unfortunately it will have to come as a separate consultation process.
• My understanding is that, in your local board plan, the support given was for investigation into a targeted rate only (and that was only 53% of respondents) – not actual implementation. Is that correct?
Correct, and this proposal now is as a result of that investigation (otherwise what would be the point of investigating?). If this is supported we will implement it; if not, we won’t. At the time we started that process we did not know that a regional fuel tax would be introduced, nor that there would be other regional targeted rates proposed. It is important to note that a regional fuel tax will not fund any of the projects we propose in our Rodney Local Board Transport Targeted Rate.
• In relation to the proposed Regional Fuel Tax, if traffic congestion is the key issue we’re trying to solve, why will electric vehicles (who use the same roads) be exempt?
Sorry can’t answer this one – a good question to bring along to the Have Your Say Event, or to this Facebook Live Q&A session next Wednesday evening: http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2018/3/ask-councillors-your-10-year-budget-questions-on-facebook-live/
• Will the new Puhoi to Warkworth highway be a Toll Road, when opened?
No-one seems to know yet. That is a central government decision.
Surely we should know if the new Puhoi to Warkworth highway is to be a Toll Road as, if it is, we could end up paying 2 lots of Tolls; the Fuel Tax; and the Rodney Targeted Rate, to drive to and from Auckland – with no realistic and viable public transport option available (for a number of years, if at all).
I don’t know who will be able to give you an answer on the toll road – perhaps an MP?
• Am I correct in my understanding that it’s only under ‘Option 3. Revised Proposal’ that the long requested footpath in Omaha makes the list for the proposed footpath programme? Again, I may have missed it, but … what is the proposed timing of completing the Omaha footpath (assuming the targeted rate is introduced)?
That’s not quite clear as priorities could change altering the order of the footpaths on the list. This would increase our footpath budget from the current $400,000 per year, to $1.5 million per year. I don’t think we can put a date on it but clearly it would happen sooner than the current budget allows for. However we are also looking at other options for the Omaha Drive footpath utilising parks land instead of road corridor. This will give us far more flexibility with design and community and local input. If we are successful in going down that track, another footpath in the Warkworth subdivision will be added to the list to replace Omaha Drive for the transport targeted rate. I know it is tempting to look at the TTR as a “what’s in it for me” but I would hope that most people take a look at the bigger picture.