Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times Wednesday March 26
www.times.co.nz Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — 17 The best legal solutions for our clients. Units 1-3 Fencible Chambers Cnr Fencible Dr & Moore St, Howick Village Phone 535 4190 www.galbraiths.co.nz As well as professional assistance in buying and selling properties, Galbraiths also offer a full range of legal services to clients, including commercial and civil litigation, court work, sale and purchase of businesses, franchising, family and employment law, wills and estate planning and advice regarding setting up and administering of family trusts. Conveniently located with ample free client parking right outside the door. 118530-v2124033 Standing orders block responses The Huntington Park Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman, Alan Davies, wants the Auckland Council to remove swathes of invasive privet trees along a creek. Times photo Wayne Martin By Marianne Kelly IN THE old days of community boards people could use the public forum at meetings to chew the fat with elected members. They could wave placards if neces- sary, and leave knowing their beefs would be followed up with the coun- cil administration. Consequently, Alan Davies, the Huntington Park Residents and Ratepayers (R&R) chairman, a regu- lar public forum contributor at the Howick Local Board’s meetings, was “flummoxed” when outlining his association’s latest concerns to the board recently, only to discover that because of the board members’ ina- bility to debate the issues with him, he was wasting his time. Mr Davies told the board about privet growing along the Pakuranga Creek tributary running along the south and western sides of Hunting- ton Park. “Privet is a plant not good for people with breathing and bron- chial problems. The R&R committee would like to see the plants removed, along with privet growing on private sections.” His concerns were received sym- pathetically by the board, but other- wise, to his dismay, that was the end of the matter. The roadblock is found in legisla- tion created when the super-city was formed, which sets standing orders for local boards. Up to 30 minutes is usually set for a public forum at the start of monthly meetings open to the public. Speakers get three minutes to put their case, although board members can vote for time extensions. But the rub comes where the leg- islation decrees board members can ask questions, but they must be con- fined to getting more information or clarification. Discussion or feedback is not permitted. “I detest having to go to public forum where there are board mem- bers with portfolios, but we get no feedback,” Mr Davies says. Adele White, the board’s deputy- chair, sympathises. “In the old days at community board meetings, public forum was a time that members of the commu- nity came along to bring issues to the council,” she says. “They were made to feel they were talking to a receptive group, which would act on what they were told. “Attendees address the local board and let us know about issues, what people are doing or what they’d like to see in the ward. But speakers at public forum must be aware there is no feedback loop.” An Auckland Council spokesper- son says the intention of public forum standing orders is to give members of the community a chance to share views or provide information on top- ics in the agenda items that follow. The purpose is to give local board members an opportunity to consider these views ahead of making their decisions. Ms White obtained advice from board officers saying it’s not the local board staff or members’ responsi- bility to log issues on behalf of con- cerned residents. Public forum is “an awareness rais- ing vehicle, not a customer service centre”. The council spokesperson says operational matters, general queries and complaints are best dealt with by contacting the call centre, so they can be directed to the correct depart- ment for response. To obtain accurate information or have a problem looked into, it’s crucial to first contact the Auckland Council Call Centre, Ms White says. “Your concern will be passed to the appropriate department for investigation. Callers are given a job number. “It’s essential you write this down. This will assist if there’s a need to call again to follow up progress. “If issues remain unresolved, make a call or visit our local board office and we’ll support you.” Mr Davies has resorted to another route, a direct approach to Howick ward councillor Sharon Stewart. He’s sent her an extensive list of issues the residents have been try- ing to get through the public forum mechanism for many months. They include the roundabout at the junction of Morestead Avenue/ Guys Road/Lurgan Drive, which the residents want to see paved with concrete. There are also worries about water rats in the creek tributary; removal of magnolia trees on street berms that are lifting the pathway concrete and dropping leaves getting in the storm water system; obstruction of the Huntington Park entry sign by hedges planted in front of the let- ters; and, astonishingly, shade cloths for seating near Huntington Park’s paved area – approved by the former Manukau City Council but never materialised. The council spokesperson says people who have local issues they’d like raised should contact their local board chair or ward councillors directly. An alternative to approaching Mrs Stewart or the other ward council- lor, Dick Quax, is to go directly to the local board members who all have specific portfolios. Howick Local Board members’ portfolios are: Governance, democ- racy, engagement, the whole board led by chairman David Collings and deputy Ms White; planning, trans- port and regulatory, Mr Collings, Steve Udy, Katrina Bungard, Garry Boles, John Spiller, Jim Donald, Bob Wichman; arts, culture, events, Ms White, Mrs Bungard, Mr Boles, Ms Schwaner, Mr Spiller; community facilities, libraries and heritage, Ms Schwaner, Ms White, Mrs Bungard; economic development, business and safety, Mr Wichman, Mr Donald, Mr Collings, Mr Udy; parks, sport and recreation and open spaces, infrastructure and environmental services, Mr Spiller, Mr Boles, Mr Collings, Mr Wichman. The Howick Local Board office is ■■ at Shop S447, The Warehouse Plaza, Pakuranga Town Centre, 1 Aylesbury Street; phone 572-0148. It’s open 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday and closed on Saturday, Sunday and pub- lic holidays. The Auckland Council Call Centre ■■ is on phone 301-0101, or use www. aucklandcouncil.govt.nz, click on the ‘Do it now’ section. The service operates continuously, online, in person, by post or fax. A reference number is given and time- line for a reply so follow-up is easier. If no reply is received within the timescale, follow up with the council using the reference. Issues such as parking, broken ■■ footpaths or roads can be dealt with by Auckland Transport (AT). Its call centre is on phone 355-3553, or reports will be referred from the council call centre. Public transport enquiries should be made to AT on phone 366-6400. Water and wastewater enquiries ■■ should be made directly to Water- care on phone 442-2222.
Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday April 2 2014