Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Local Communities Want Serious Public Displays Of Affection

Auckland’s new development agency Panuku Development Auckland (PDA) briefed local board members yesterday on its overall approach.

I think they got more than they bargained for with the questions/reactions that followed.

PDA’s approach was summarised as three phases of activity: Transform, Unlock and Support. ‘Transform’ will typically involved complex and long-term activities (eg. the Waterfront). ‘Unlock’ will release value in areas where council is the principle or a substantial player (old Papatoetoe). ‘Support’ will use council resources to add to the efforts of other players (by selling surplus land).

PDA’s initial focus, and the subject of their first official council report this week, is on the so-called Type 1 developments. These are long-term, significant, “Metro Centre” programmes (to use the Unitary Plan jargon) in 9 local board areas: Takapuna, Northcote, Henderson, Avondale, Newmarket, Mt Eden Station, Onehunga Otahuhu and Manukau.

It’s all a continuation of the planning hierarchy approach the Mayor has led.

Problem is, the local boards all have issues that for many of them are more significant than Type 1. And so the rapid fire questions were all about local board priorities that have been around, in many cases, for at least five years – often longer.

Now, PDA plans to work through its ‘Type 2″ and ‘Type 3″ programmes in coming months but, at the start of this new entity, it’s missing an opportunity to start early with a new kind of “affection” for local communities.

PDA’s CEO committed to me that his organisation would develop individual local board PDA plans if boards want that, which is encouraging.

But all this will do is plug the gap caused by the Mayor’s growth plan: an imbalance between regional and local priorities.


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