Mary Fitzgerald on local board news in your neighbourhood 

The Ōrākei Local Board has voted to establish an annual public speaking prize for secondary school senior students. The Ōrākei Local Board ANZAC Youth Speech Prize will commence next year, and be open to Y12 and 13 students who live within the ward. The winner of the competition will deliver their speech at a local ANZAC Day commemorative service. 

The ever-popular Little Rangitoto Reserve flying fox is back in action after being out of commission since January. A Parks and Reserves contractor spokesperson confirmed a stolen vehicle was driven into the reserve late at night in mid-January, abandoned under the flying fox and set alight. The fire brigade quelled the blaze and the following day, the fire-damaged flying fox was taken down for repair work. “We’ve had a lot of enquiries from residents wanting to know when the flying fox would be up and running again. It was great to get the thumbs up on it being fixed and flying again,” says Kit Parkinson, Ōrākei Local Board member and lead for parks and reserves. 

Visitors to Remuera’s Wilson’s Beach, located at the bottom of Victoria Ave, can again enjoy a clean beach after a group of 15 local residents, led by Bruce Renshaw, cleared the beach of rubbish left behind by beachgoers, and seaweed and logs that high tides and recent storms had brought to shore. The beach is a local favourite for swimming and picnicking since it was re-sanded in 2014. One of the clean-up coordinators, Allison Fisher, says the annual beach clean-ups have been going for many years. “They have been happening since the mangroves were removed years ago – part of our annual clean-up work is to make sure that the mangroves don’t grow back.” 

Work to widen the boardwalk around Ōrākei Basin to accommodate cyclists and walkers is making progress and is expected to be completed mid-year. The boardwalk is being widened to 4.5m in width, to allow for all users. The width of the existing boardwalk has been temporarily reduced to make way for the construction, but is still open.  In the final stages, a slip-resistant surface will be applied to make walking and cycling in wet weather safe, and LED lighting on the wooden handrail along its length will add a visual and practical function, extending the hours that the boardwalk can be used. The widening is the third stage of four in the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path development – Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai (the path of land and sea). When finished, it will be a 7km link providing walkers and cyclists with a pathway connection from the east to the city centre. 

Ōrākei Local Board is in favour of providing and partially funding a new shared path link, to run from Gowing Dr in Meadowbank to the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr Shared Path, and across to Kohimarama and Mission Bay. The board says the link will ease local traffic congestion, and offer a great on-foot and on bike option for more than 300 students, with an easier and safer alternative route to and from school. 

The residential Permit Parking Zone rolled out in Parnell in early December. Designed to stop all-day parking by commuters parking in Parnell streets, and bussing or walking to the city, a ripple effect has seen all-day parking shift to streets outside the residents’-only zone.  In a letter to AT’s group manager of parking and compliance, Parnell Community Committee chair Luke Niue says the migration of commuter parking to outside of the zoned streets is now affecting facilities including Judges Bay, the Parnell Baths and the Cathedral. Particularly feeling the impact of increased commuter parking is Parnell District School — lower St Stephens Ave is now full of parked cars from 8am. “AT’s follow-up assessment to the roll-out of the parking scheme has been almost non-existent,” says Niue. “They haven’t acknowledged the ripple problem, and when they did do a survey of parking in St Stephens Ave, it was in January, before school was back. “I’ve met with Parnell’s principal and concerned residents, and we’ve requested an urgent meeting with AT to make them fully aware of the issues, and to activate an urgent extension of the zone.” 

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is The Hobson's News Editor. A Mainlander who transplanted to Remuera 13 years ago, she is passionate about hearing and telling our stories.