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Mayor, Councillors and Local Boards under the spotlight

GEORGE WOOD is a North Shore ward councillor on the new Auckland Council.
The former three-term mayor of North Shore City lives in Forrest Hill with wife Myra.

Mayor Len Brown, the 20 councillors who make up the Governing Body along with the 21 Local Boards will be under the proverbial microscope over the next six months. It is a massive job to get out the long-term council-community plan showing what we will be aiming to achieve over the next 10 years and also the Auckland Plan, the spatial plan that shows how the Auckland region will develop over the next 30 years.
Everything has been put into a tight sequence of events and there will be two rounds of full-on consultation with the communities of the region. Please do submit and let us know your views. Full details are on the Auckland Council website:

Revaluation of North Shore properties
All 500,000 Auckland properties are in the final stages of revaluation. This is happening to get all of us on the same three-year cycle of revaluation and to enable Auckland Council to set rates using capital valuation. They will be posted out to arrive during the week of 24 October.
These values will be used to calculate rates for three years from the 2012/13 year. The indication at this stage is that market trends show that residential property values are still, on average, below the peak of the market between late 2007 and early 2008. Indications are that value movements are likely to be in the +/- 10 per cent range for most residential properties.

Consultation on the Auckland Unleashed Plan
The Auckland Plan or Auckland Unleashed was released for consultation on 20 September and the submission period closes on 25 October.2011. I urge all North Shore residents to read the plan and make a submission through the many avenues for communication.
This document will set in place a number of important factors that must be decided upon. These include transport projects like the additional Waitemata Harbour crossing and how and where a further one million people will be assimilated into the Auckland region over the next 30 to 40 years.

Preparation of the long-term council-community plan
This document is being brought together with the main deadline being the setting of the rates required by 1st July 2012. It is a massive task combining the plans of the former Auckland regions eight councils. This document, under the new Auckland legislation, is initially prepared by Mayor Len Brown and presented to councillors on Monday 10 October. After a number of workshop meetings, to review the figures and programmes proposed, a draft is prepared at the end of November.

Rugby World Cup 2011
Well the Auckland Council has been under the pump over the opening night debacle down at the Fan Zone on Queens Wharf and in the Downtown area. Apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by the closing down of services like the Devonport ferry. We need to ensure that things only improve from here on.
Notwithstanding the problems with the trains I thought that the buses have performed extremely well, especially here on the North Shore. Moving 11,000 patrons away from the North Harbour stadium on buses after the France v Japan game was a great achievement. Our three North Shore bus companies North Star, Ritchies and Birkenhead Transport, certainly do a great job.

Place Shaping and Local Planning
I have been very impressed with the way that the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board under chairman Chris Darby is getting down to business. Coming together as a new team in November last year they have achieved so much in the last ten months.
The former North Shore City council prepared a comprehensive document known as the Takapuna Strategic Framework. It brought together a whole host of planning work that has been going on for a number of years. It is now a matter of ensuring that the plans are implemented. Councillor Ann Hartley and I will be working closely with Chris Darby and his local board to get improvements in place.
Milford, Sunnynook and Devonport have also been getting attention from the local board and Auckland Council. Devonport has seen a long awaited makeover of the ferry terminal to get a good start for the Rugby World Cup. The futures of the two wharves at Devonport need to be worked through with the community. 

by George Wood