Advocacy is a fundamental service provided by the Parnell Business Association to its members and the vast number of policy documents requesting feedback reflects the continued importance of providing a strong, consistent and united voice for local business.
Auckland Council and Auckland Transport often use the business associations (BIDS) as a vehicle to disseminate information. Ideally all businesses should be represented and included. Unfortunately businesses not part of a BID are very often excluded unless they have prioritised channels of policy information, often through contracted services.
While a feedback loop is adequately provided for via the likes of Shape Auckland, most businesses find the documentation confusing and very time consuming to respond to.
The support of the BID Expansion endorsed the value of ‘one greater voice’ that represents Parnell and is been both challenging and exciting getting to grips with some of the macro issues that impact on our precinct.
Parnell, by its very nature an important fringe suburb, will continue to face infrastructure, transport and policy challenges. Representation in the next few years will necessitate creating a balance between the needs of business and the march of progress
Auckland Transport plan to reduce the lanes in Quay Street from 4 lanes to 2 lanes – for good. Work is set to commence on the 26th Dec 2018. The PBA have raised alarm bells citing incorrect priorities, inadequate consultation and no evidence of either an impact analysis or a mitigation strategy on the additional traffic that will be forced onto The Strand in Parnell.
Auckland Transport released the RPTP, which builds on the changes made to the public transport network since 2015 and seeks to enhance customer experience. We reinforced our need for additional buses along The Strand, reinforced the need for Parnell Station linkages to be completed and asked to be considered for an on demand solution such as a shuttle.
The draft version of The Parnell Plan was developed together with a team from Auckland Council’s ‘people and places’ in a series of workshops together with key stakeholder community groups as well as mana whenua. The Waitematā Local Board sponsored the consultation phase. The PBA actively participated in the workshops and took an active role in engaging as many of our members as possible to participate in the consultation feedback opportunities. This took place via our communication channels, but also group presentations and a tuk-tuk that drove around the district for a two week period, soliciting survey feedback.
Parnell has suffered from a lack of Auckland Council and CCO funding for several years and is the only city fringe precinct that, do date, has not had any kind of Local Area Plan. Thus we are ‘late in the game’ in terms of the urban treatment of competitive business and retail areas and keep on getting left behind other zones, either in the central city or city fringe zone, that are considered a more important priority.
Our submission highlighted the fact that while the consultation document captures the essence of what is needed in order to secure the prosperous future of Parnell, it is crucial that a number of infrastructure projects be funded in order to support the vision.
The final version of the Parnell Plan was launched in June 2019
Constantly mindful of parking as a scarce resource in Parnell, especially in comparison with adjacent business precincts, we will continue to support ways to maximise this resource. The PBA have supported the Parnell Parking Improvements proposal and are keen to see the full implementation complete, as we see an advantage for our businesses and their customers, but are aware of the challenges to staff parking where poor public transport options prevail. Following the consultation that took place late 2017, Auckland Transport has advised that they will be implementing the balance of Parnell from December 2018 onwards.
We recently submitted on the 10 Year Budget, the Auckland Plan and the Local Board Priorities. In the 10 Year budget, our submission commented on the proposed fuel tax, plus the 2 additional targeted rates, on which we opposed the rates being based on the businesses differential. In addition we commented on the huge variation in rate increases in Parnell since the last property valuations as well as the Draft CCO Accountability Policy.
In the Auckland Plan, we highlighted our feelings on built heritage as well as limited transport improvements proposed for Parnell. Our comment on the Waitemata Local Board Priorities centred around improvements in Parnell with particular emphasis on Parnell Station and the Parnell Local Area Plan.
We have recently supported local business in opposing the proposed ban on parking along The Strand, asking for further consultation and integrated implementation within the wider parking study.
This was taken in a deputation to the Waitemata Local Board in Sept 2017 and following further visits by AT to member sites, a revised proposal presented late 2017. We are awaiting implementation pending the delegation by NZTA along The Strand
Auckland Transport completed a Parking Management Survey in Parnell for both the business and residential zones, in an effort to balance the needs of both users. Occupancy levels in certain streets were over 95%, confirming the need for intervention, especially to eradicate the large volume of all day commuters who use Parnell (and other inner suburbs) in which to park all day while they catch a bus to the city.
The first residential zone was consulted upon early in 2017 with implementation set for later this year. We have however continued to advocate for a co-ordinated and integrated implementation of both the Residents Parking as well as Business Parking Management plan, so as not to ‘bleed’ the problem into adjacent areas, increasing congestion and frustration. Auckland Transport put the first business zone (around St Georges By Road) out for consultation in August and we are hoping for implementation at the end of 2017/early 2018.
In conjunction with several other BIDs in Auckland, we submitted on the Auckland Council Annual Budget 2017. The Consultation Document, Tahua ā-Tau sought feedback on five main issues including rates increases, rating stability and paying for tourism promotion.
Our feedback was that the rates increase should be limited to 2.0 per cent and we felt there are more savings available to the Council internally. We also submitted that we strongly oppose a pause in the rates differential and the business rates reduction should continue. We submitted that the visitor levy should not be introduced as it shifted the burden to a small percentage of the sector and that a bed tax, introduced at government level is a more appropriate option.
While the Association is generally supportive of the Waitematā Local Board’s proposals, we requested the Local Board place more of a priority on issues affecting the economic development in the Parnell precinct. In our opinion, there has been insignificant support and spend in recent years by Auckland Council, the Waitematā Local Board and associated CCO’s in Parnell, as compared to other adjoining/fringe suburbs. The Parnell Station is the first significant spend in several years and still needs a lot of work and funding to realise its full potential.
Bearing in mind that this is an interim year, leading up to the next round of the Long Term Plan in 2018, in addition to various short term initiatives on the table, we noted the importance of the Local Board advocating for additional projects to be brought to the table so they may find their way into the Long Term Plan and set the tone of advocacy for the years to come. The inclusion of a Local Area Plan is integral in this regard.
Auckland Transport distributed a consultation leaflet on a proposed cycleway and residential parking zone in Parnell.
There are components of the proposal that are advantageous to the area in terms of reducing the usage of all day parking by commuters, but we have serious concerns about the removal of some 95 parking places in Gladstone Road and upper St Stephens Avenue and the subsequent impact on local businesses, some of whom depend on the churn of short term parking currently in that area. In addition the proposal provides limited consideration to amenity which we believe could be improved.
Parnell Business Association lodged a submission, together with over 120 responses from our own survey in support of affected businesses.
A public meeting was held and hundreds of signatures secured on a petition by a local landowner. In association with the Parnell Community Committee we petitioned the Waitematā Local Board, as well as the board of Auckland Transport. Auckland Transport agreed to re-engage with stakeholders before proceeding further. The Parnell Business Association together with Parnell Community Committee and other active stakeholders participated in workshops and we are hopeful for an outcome that satisfies the objectives of a range of stakeholders.
As part of our response on the Central Bus Network we organised a meeting with Auckland Transport and various stakeholders along The Strand and in St Georges Bay Road. Based on our requests, the 703 was altered to run along the Strand, rather than Quay St, thus increasing the walkable catchment of the service. This service commenced in April 2016.
We also requested that Auckland Transport initiate discussions with NZTA for additional stops along The Strand. Recent consultation documents have suggested 2 extra stops, outside 125 The Strand (inward bound) and 77 The Strand (outward bound). Our submission supported proposal, but cautioned the danger of fast moving trucks around the corner at 125 The Strand, potentially injuring waiting passengers.
NZTA tabled a proposal for both components above. We supported the creation of a safe pedestrian crossing along this busy stretch of road, as there is currently nowhere for pedestrians to cross safely and fatalities have resulted in the past. However we totally opposed the foot path extension proposed outside premises 137-165 The Strand. NZTA attended a meeting with the immediate stakeholders organized by the Parnell Business Association and following stakeholder objections based on the impediment this would have on crucial truck access to their businesses, NZTA withdrew that part of the proposal.
We were gratified that NZTA listened to the needs of businesses demonstrating a good a example of how we act as the conduit for Local Council and City Plans to be brought to the attention of members for feedback and input.
Platforms for the station were completed late in 2015 and the last six months have been frustrating with increased delays being blamed on the lack of resolution of the Sarawia Crossing dispute between Auckland Transport and local residents. The Parnell Business Association has continued to lobby directly with the executive of both Auckland Transport and KiwiRail, with the support of Councillor Mike Lee, the Waitematā Local Board and Parnell Community Committee in an effort to get the station to operational status as soon as possible.
The Waitematā Local Board have offered to assist Auckland Transport financially with the creation of a pathway (Nicholls Lane cycle and walkway) from Parnell Station to Carlaw Park campuses, which we gratefully support.
Latest indications from the executive of Auckland Transport are that KiwiRail will relocate the old Newmarket Station building to site by late 2016 and complete the refurbishment by March 2017, that Auckland Transport will complete the Nicholls Lane cycle and walkway station connection before March 2017 and that limited services are scheduled to commence around Easter 2017.
Several businesses experience parking issues in Parnell, some with staff parking, others with customer parking. Following their experience in other fringe suburbs such as St Mary’s Bay, Freemans Bay and Ponsonby, Auckland Transport commenced a Parking Management Survey in Parnell. They are surveying both the business and residential zones in an effort to balance the needs of both users. The main focus of the survey is to gauge maximum occupancy levels and create limited parking zones in an effort to try and eradicate the large volume of all day commuters who use Parnell (and other inner suburbs) in which to park all day while they catch a bus to the city.
We encouraged all businesses to complete the business survey and submit their own specific issues. Our submission called for the optimization of this very limited resource citing the various zones in Parnell with their relative needs. In addition to the submission from the Parnell Business Association over 150 businesses completed the survey, illustrating good engagement from the business community as well as indicating the importance of parking to our members.
Auckland Transport initially asked us for feedback on potential cycle ways up Gladstone Road and we raised flags for several affected businesses along and adjacent to that route. The ‘Parnell, Newmarket, Remuera Cycleway Consultation’ was then initiated by Auckland Transport, who did not ask for feedback from the business community.
In both cases we submitted that out of the two potential routes through Parnell, Parnell Road/Parnell Rise is not the preferred option due to gradient, several pedestrian crossings, traffic and lack of safety – especially downhill. However, while the route via St Stephens Ave/Gladstone Road is the preferred option, this in no way, from our point of view, endorses the removal of parking to put in cycle lanes and noted that any loss of parking along this route would have an adverse impact on several parties. We await feedback on this proposal.
The Parnell Business Association submitted on the Auckland Annual Budget and amongst other items strongly objected to the Interim Transport Levy being changed so that the amount businesses would pay in future would be based on their property value. We submitted that it should remain at the current fixed charge for businesses and other ratepayers respectively. Submissions were received from 21 Business Associations representing 11,800 properties.
When released, the Annual Budget for 2016/2017 confirmed that the Interim Transport Levy (ITL), introduced as part of the Long-term Plan to help fund a number of crucial transport projects would remain a fixed charge for both non-business ratepayers and business ratepayers.
The Parnell Business Association has actively participated in the Unitary Plan since its inception. With the assistance of The Mt Hobson Group we have continued to support opportunities for added business development potential, greater density and increased heights in certain zones.
Following the submission and hearing process of the PAUP the Independent Hearings Panel have released their recommendations. The Council has one month to review before releasing the decision version of the PAUP in late August 2016. In terms of Parnell we think that the panel has listened to our objective submissions and provided for increased density and building potential in appropriate locations.
Business Associations such as the Parnell Business Association are part of the Auckland BID (Business Improvement District) Partnership Programme. There are currently 48 BIDs across Auckland representing over 25,000 businesses, each operating within a clearly defined geographic boundary. The critical mass of this group has a strong influence and is continually seeking to improve the service offering and ensure that our members interests are represented. The BID Policy governs how Auckland Council interacts with various BIDs, and this has been under review for the past year.
Initial drivers for the revision of the policy and team resources at Auckland Council included the reduction of costs to Auckland Council and early proposals tabled suggestions of using a portion of the targeted rate to do this. This was vehemently opposed by several BIDs including the Parnell Business Association and subsequently retracted.
The Parnell Business Association has attended and contributed to all workshops over the past year and the new BID Policy took effect from 1st July 2016. Overall it has tightened up on various governance and reporting standards as well as other mandatory requirements.
Auckland Transport recently negotiated a contract with a media Company QMS Media to control all pole and cross street banners in Auckland, resulting in increased costs, restricted use and the threat of 3rd party advertising in our town centres. Several BIDs joined in opposing this. In addition to supporting the other BIDs and raising our concerns with the Waitematā Local Board, we tabled these in writing to the executive of Auckland Transport rejecting the idea of “commercialising town centre assets” to generate revenue. We have had a really good outcome from this joint effort with several concessions being granted and a new set of guidelines distributed.
The submission from the Parnell Business Association continued our lobbying for the Parnell Train station to be is prioritised over the CRL in the short term, until it becomes a fully operational station, noting that any other projects cut off from funding that could impede this progress (i.e in Newmarket) should also be prioritised over the CRL in the short term,
We presented our position for Buses & Cycleways, the demand on parking, parks and streetscapes, access issues and additional freight potential.
We commented on the fact that parity in business and residential rates needs to be reached sooner rather than later, noting that excessive rates levied to business is counter productive to growth.
On behalf of the businesses we represent in Parnell we expressed a number of concerns, especially with regard to portable signage and sandwich boards, citing the inherent character and charm of the shopping precinct of Parnell in its cobblestone alleyways, side streets and ‘undiscovered’ corners which shoppers love to explore. We highlighted the needs of several small businesses who are dependent on this type of signage and suggested that some of the new proposed restrictions are insensitive to the needs of business and will make for bland suburbs in the future, devoid of vibrant business. We have also attended hearings on this policy.
The Parnell Business Association submitted a response asking for support and intervention in various areas, supported their wording around effective parking and traffic management and asked to be actively informed and enrolled with any decisions regarding transport in and out of the port as that could affect our members in the proposed Boundary Extension.
Of huge import to us as a Business Association is the goal of making it easier to plan, create and deliver innovative art and design in the public realm. While we understand that for permanent placements, it is important to have a robust Public Art Policy, and protracted processes to final decision making, we think that we could be contributing far more to temporarily transforming public places if we were not so constrained in the resource consent process. In this submission we supported the idea of offering open spaces with blanket resource consent to allow temporary arts and culture projects.
The Parnell Business Association are in the process of engaging with Auckland Transport on suggested changes to this intersection and feeder roads following a submission on behalf of businesses in the immediate area.
We have concerns about the reduction of Parnell Rise to a single lane uphill.
Parking is an emotive subject, and the management of parking to facilitate the interests of our businesses a key issue. In association with Newmarket Business Association, we supported the intention to reduce commuter parking in city fringe areas and Metropolitan & Town Centres, but completely opposed the removal of on-street parking on Broadway and Parnell Rd, even if it was for clear-ways in peak periods. The joint submission included over 250 signed oppositions from businesses.
The CMP (Corridor Management Plan) further outlines AT plans for priority bus lanes in various areas. With regard to parking, AT will be conducting a Parking Management Plan in Parnell in the latter half of 2015.
Joining forces with the Newmarket Business Association, the Parnell Business Association submitted a strong opposition to various components of this policy on behalf of the hospitality businesses in Parnell. We asserted that the proposed zoning would place both Parnell & Newmarket at a distinct disadvantage to Ponsonby and the CBD and challenged the draft policy suggestions around closing times. We also attended hearings in this regard and were gratified that the outcome has zoned all the fringe areas together with a closing time of 3am.
Read more about this decision and an overview of the policy
The Parnell Business Association have organized and prepared several submissions on behalf of our members to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. The first round resulted in a very positive outcome reclassifying the zoning on the Eastern side of Parnell Rd. A subsequent submission was co-ordinated with the Mt Hobson Group supporting the objective of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan to encourage greater intensification in parts of Auckland, gave careful consideration to how the proposed zoning and development controls would affect the future growth of the Parnell area and sought relief under various pertinent points.