If water flows through the heart of Auckland city, it’s the wide-open green spaces that make it beat.
Easy access to beaches and parks is what sets us apart from other cities and provides the laid-back, outdoorsy lifestyle Aucklanders pinch themselves to be living in.
And we know this because last year, as part of Auckland Council’s 10-year-Budget, Aucklanders told us the environment and water are high on their priority list of what makes their city special.
To ensure we continue to enjoy those benefits, Auckland Council has ring-fenced $452 million raised through a water quality targeted rate for projects to ensure cleaner beaches, streams and harbours. Another $311 million has been set aside through the natural environment targeted rate to help protect our natural environment and tackle the pests, weeds and diseases threatening our native species.
This week the Environment and Community Committee were presented with a second quarterly progress update on work underway and the future priorities for these two rates.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “Thanks to the support of Aucklanders for both the water quality and environment targeted rates, we are protecting kauri, cleaning up our beaches 20 years faster than would have otherwise been possible, and working with community groups to achieve our goal to be pest-free by 2050.
“Aucklanders care about their environment and beaches. The targeted rates allow us to address previous underinvestment in our environment and ensure it can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Phil Goff.
Chair of the Environment and Community Committee, Councillor Penny Hulse says, “I want my grandchildren to be able to enjoy this city; experience the pleasures I’ve relished living here.
“And that’s the drive behind employing these rates - to improve and accelerate the protection of the environment for Aucklanders.
“We are now in an exciting phase, delivering the many projects to do just that due to the targeted rate. Around 50 new or upscaled environmental projects are underway, and we’re building new stormwater assets to reduce wastewater overflows into streams and beaches by up to 90 per cent in the next decade.
“We’re also committed to working in the spirit of partnership to integrate Māori outcomes into these programmes.”
Ms Hulse says staff are delivering more environmental activity than in the past, work that is sure to deliver more effective ecological outcomes for Auckland.
Natural Environment Targeted Rate
Significant achievements in quarter two of 2018/2019 include:
- four tracks around Kitekite Falls in the Waitākere Ranges re-opened to the public Boxing Day 2018 after being upgraded to ‘kauri-safe’ standards
- over 30 kauri dieback ambassadors deployed around Auckland including nine at ferry terminals; a cleaning station installed at Waiheke Ferry terminal
- a $300,000 annual grant introduced to increase community collaboration
- $200,000 allocated to 29 community conservation projects through the Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant
- pest control programme in Hunua Ranges Regional Park expanded to include privately-owned land adjoining the park
- pest detection dog team expanded to operate at vehicle departure points for Great Barrier and Waiheke; the stoat dog was recently deployed to respond to a suspected incursion on Great Barrier.
The full Natural Environment Targeted Rate update can be found here.
Water Quality Targeted Rate
Projects to be delivered through five key work programmes:
- western isthmus water quality improvement programme ($361 million)
- contaminant reduction programme ($54.3 million)
- urban and rural stream rehabilitation programme ($22.3 million)
- septic tank and onsite wastewater programme ($9.4 million)
- safe networks programme ($5.6 million)
Highlights for this quarter include:
- Upgrade projects on track at St Mary’s Bay and Masefield Beach, Picton Street and Daldy Street, pending consenting and procurement
- Significant network investigations underway in the areas of Laingholm, Takapuna, Red Beach and Meadowbank
- Inspections of onsite wastewater systems in Piha South Lagoon completed; monitoring now underway to evaluate impacts of pilot on water quality
- An additional $200,000 allocated to the Waterways Protection Fund to support projects in the Wairoa and Papakura catchments.
The full Water Quality Targeted Rate update can be found here.