Here are the questions and my responses in full. It will be interesting to see what, if any, of my responses are reported and in what order.
We have put together a series of questions and ask that you keep your answers to less than 150 words for each week's questions. The responses will be published over the next four weeks.
1. 1. What are your views on future development on Waiheke? Do you support sewage reticulation on Waiheke? Do you support the proposed marina at Kennedy Point?
It is the need for households to provide their own water and waste water that defines the character of Waiheke with its semi-rural nature and small villages. It is the island’s unique character that brought me to live here.
This ‘village’ and ‘semi-rural’ character was protected under the Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan. It is unfortunate that the new Auckland Unitary Plan removes the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) on Waiheke. Now developers can apply to put large developments with reticulation schemes on what is currently Green Belt land between our villages. Over time this will inevitably change the character of the island.
So far no application has been lodged for a marina at Kennedy Point.
2. 2. What are your priorities for the natural environment on Waiheke and in the Hauraki Gulf? Do you support further funding to try to clean up the polluted Little Oneroa stream? Do you support marine reserves around Waiheke? Do you support dogs on beaches and in council parks, or increased restrictions on dogs to protect native birds?
I am devastated that the wetland restoration plans and budgets that the first Waiheke Local Board established were shelved by the current Board. These were regionally and nationally significant projects and the biggest environmental programmes undertaken by any local board. These need to be resurrected as a matter of high priority.
There is no proof that the Little Oneroa Stream is polluted and Council officers and consultants have had this area under surveillance for many years now. If a rogue septic tank is malfunctioning and affecting the stream then it is up to the Waiheke Wastewater Officer to sort it out. This is what our rates pay for. The additional money so far allocated to the Little Oneroa Project has produced nothing and would be better spent elsewhere.
There will always be at least two sides to the dogs on beaches and marine reserve issues. Much of the work of a local board should be in finding a way of reconciling the concerns of both sides so there is a win/win. Yes, there should be protection of our native birds but there should also be room for dog owners to exercise their animals. Yes, there should be marine reserves but not at the expense of recreational enjoyment of the Hauraki Gulf.
3. What are your priorities for spending funds and advocating for Waiheke? How do you view Our Waiheke's proposal for Waiheke to break away from the Auckland supercity?
The island is growing. Whether we like it or not, Waiheke is now a major national and international visitor destination. That means more residents and more visitors will grace our shores.
The most pressing issue is the provision of infrastructure to cope with this growth. This means more footpaths, more parks, more playgrounds, more bus shelters, better public transport, better public toilets and a whole host of new Council facilities need to be provided. Sorting out Matiatia parking is a high priority.
Over the past three years, the core Council business of maintaining roads, parks, walking tracks and services has been neglected. We need to get back to basics and stop the endless waste on projects that focus on a few at the expense of the many.
Waiheke has done extremely well out of being part of Auckland Council. It would be foolish to turn our backs on this.
4. 4. What would you like to see in terms of tourism and transport on Waiheke? How would you solve parking problems at Matiatia? Do you think the Esplanade should be open to traffic?
The top priority is to increase the number of car, cycle and motorcycle parks at Matiatia. Then the safety and congestion issues caused by businesses (tour buses, taxis etc) and public transport all vying for space need to be addressed. A Matiatia Masterplan already exists and Council owns the land. All that is lacking is the will to make it happen.
I am a regular user of the Esplanade where I like to walk my dog. The Esplanade is a road and as such is open to traffic and has to be maintained by Auckland Transport. If it is closed to traffic to become a walking and cycling track only it will not be maintained by Auckland Transport. It will fall into the sea in five years and nobody will be able to use it. The current solution works well for everyone. It is a win/win.