With one eye on the tropical low in the Coral Sea, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says Auckland Council and the region is shifting its focus from the emergency response and immediate recovery to the Big Auckland Clean Up.
“Aucklanders began the Big Auckland Clean Up on the morning of Saturday 28 January, immediately after the unprecedented downpour on Friday,” Mayor Brown said.
“Aucklanders have made me proud, and humbled, to be your mayor.
“Aucklanders have risen to the challenge, looking after their neighbours, their local communities and lending a helping hand.
“In support, our council staff on the ground, our emergency services and our volunteers have also been magnificent – in some cases putting themselves at risk.
“Thousands of other Aucklanders and people from outside the region, have offered to help and are working hard – mana whenua and mataawaka, the Student Volunteer Army, other volunteer groups including from our secondary schools, sports clubs and groups like Rotary, Zonta and Lions, just to name a few.”
The Mayor said Auckland Council would begin daily briefings from 1pm today on the Big Auckland Clean Up, providing information about what has been happening, and how Aucklanders and people from outside the region can best help, including where and when.
The Big Auckland Clean Up would be championed by Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson, who will attend the first Big Auckland Clean Up daily briefing today.
The Mayor said he would take the lead on championing the Big Auckland Fix Up, a much longer-term project, about which more details will be made available later in the week.
It would be about getting Auckland ready for more events like the current floods, of which there are expected to be more as a result of climate change, for which Auckland will need to adapt.
The Big Auckland Fix Up will oversee the demolition of those properties that need to be; fixing those that can be; and working out what needs to be done with Auckland’s roads, rail, storm water and other infrastructure to make sure it can cope better with similar events in future.
The Big Auckland Fix Up would also feed into the Mayor’s work with Transport Minister Michael Wood, now also Minister for Auckland, towards an agreed plan to futureproof Auckland with one high-quality, joined-up transport system, which includes cars, buses, trains, ferries, cyclists, pedestrians, freight and passenger rail and light rail.
As announced by the Minister and Mayor in December, the agreed plan, as well as enhancements to the existing transport system, will include a range of projects including maximising the return from the City Rail Link through heavy rail improvements, the Northwestern busway, Auckland Light Rail, and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing.
It will require clear decisions and timelines to be made about the future use of Auckland’s publicly owned waterfront land, currently being used by Ports of Auckland Ltd.
The Mayor said the damage to the city and the need to improve its resilience and adapt to climate change may also have implications for the Council’s 2023/24 and future budgets. Consultation on the 2023/24 budget is planned to begin on 28 February.