Onwards and upwards

By: Janet Fitzgerald

The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board has adopted its Local Board Agreement for the 2018/19 year.

It has been a busy time getting the agreement developed, consulted on and adopted. It is pleasing to see that many people got involved – via a formal submission online, a written submission, one of our public consultation sessions or Facebook.

We look forward to achieving many things in our community over the next year or two to make it more vibrant. New toilet blocks are planned and soon to be installed at Gulf Harbour Reserve, at Metro Park East and at Red Beach Park.

Consultation on the Long-Term Plan (LTP) and Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) is completed and were adopted by the Governing Body at the end of June.

We all want things to happen in our area and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. None of us want to pay more than is reasonable but what is reasonable? I believe we need to see value for money. The Regional Fuel Tax caused a lot of debate in the community. At the end of the day, the projects that we gain via the Regional Fuel Tax in the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board area are a step change – Penlink being one project that has finally been allocated funding. Now we need to work towards getting a project manager appointed and Penlink built sooner rather than later.

Hibiscus Matters uncovered the plan to sell the Orewa Service Centre and ran a number of articles on that subject. Many people have spoken to me about it and applauded the Local Board for standing up for retaining the building. Sometimes we need to think around the issues and see what may be a better outcome for our community. There was an argument that the people of Rodney paid for that building. I would suggest that the newer part of the building, built just before amalgamation, was debt funded so that in fact it formed part of the debt that was passed on from Rodney to the wider Auckland area.

The Local Board has had some thoughts as to where a suitable service centre could be located to serve the Hibiscus Coast. We could upgrade the Orewa Community Centre site to a more modern facility that fits the needs of the community with offices for Local Board services and spaces for community use, then have satellite facilities in Silverdale and maybe Whangaparaoa.

I was contacted by Centrestage, which was concerned as to how it would operate from its current leased site behind Orewa Service Centre. Gathering all the information together to make a case to ensure that Centrestage is protected was a priority. Panuku acknowledged that it will work alongside the Local Board to achieve a desired outcome. Because the former Rodney District Council obtained the land from the Crown then it will probably need to be offered back to them first. While the land is zoned residential, there has been a long-held view by some in the community that the space could be used for hospital services – particularly an after hours emergency and day surgery. The Local Board has made suggestions to the Waitemata District Health Board along these lines. While we can always be saying ‘no’ to these issues, we also need to be thinking ahead so that if the Governing Body vote to sell off the building we have an alternative plan in place.
 
We have just held a hui at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa marae in Silverdale bringing all volunteer environmental restoration groups together and what a wonderful time and well-presented experience it was. During the hui, there were people planting more trees, shrubs and herbs in the marae gardens. Those in our community that haven’t been to the marae in Silverdale should take the time to go and see what a marvellous place and a fantastic addition to our community it is and we always get such a warm welcome there.

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