Local issues front of mind

By: Janet Fitzgerald

We are in uncertain times. No one can plan ahead as we have in the past, like organising an overseas holiday.

The good part is that you can spend those dollars in New Zealand and help the local economy. It is important that we think and spend locally, to keep our Kiwi businesses viable. It’s more than just trying to keep a business open; it’s about jobs for our people and income for families.

Auckland Council’s Emergency Budget has been passed and we now have some idea how the Local Board budget stacks up. Unfortunately, many things that were proposed will not happen or will take longer to achieve. Many things that were not already contracted will be put on hold (HM August 5).

While we certainly have had cuts, we are still able to continue with some of the things that our community feels is important.

Our Local Board Grants programme will continue, but with two changes. While there will still be two Local Grant rounds, applicants can only have one successful grant application each year. The larger Facilities Grant of up to $50k will not be offered in 2020/21.

The Local Board Transport Capital fund has been significantly cut; in fact, we are not certain at this stage as to how much we will be allocated. This is an important fund that gives us the ability to fund capital works – things like footpaths that are not likely to be achieved by Auckland Transport because it is too far down their priority list.

Auckland Council has a great ‘Report a Problem’ section of its website if you’ve spotted a maintenance issue in the community that needs action. You select the exact location of the issue and answer a few quick questions, and you’re then given a case number if you need to follow it up – aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/report-problem/

The Local Board had a recent update from Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency on Penlink and we expressed our position of wanting a four lane road rather than the proposed two lanes. Waka Kotahi have a special team set up just for Penlink who will be consulting with groups in the community. You should have all received their first mailout. I would encourage you to sign up to their newsletter via penlink@nzta.govt.nz so you can keep up to date with progress and ask questions. This is exciting news for the area to finally have the project fully funded by central Government – it will be a good source of job creation.

Construction will start end of 2021.

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