We are short of parking spaces, not plans

The former Auckland City Council approved a plan for Matiatia back in 2009. It was a somewhat grandiose ecological/cultural/heritage/gateway/destination scheme which the Auckland City Council estimated would cost well over $20 million, in current dollars. That Council decided that its own plan was not affordable and the development options were not commercially viable. The traffic infrastructure elements could be advanced if and when budgets allowed, but the balance of the site was to be landbanked. The successor to that Council in transport matters was AT. It conducted a 30-year planning exercise for parking and, in 2015, told us: “AT has no plans to significantly increase parking supply at Matiatia”. Period.

The current Local Board has no delegated responsibility for the provision of parking services in Matiatia. It has not, in our view, advocated as much as we would have liked for effective solutions to the parking crisis. Instead, it continues to stress the supposed ecological/cultural/etc. elements of what is in effect Waiheke’s main park-and-ride facility. With the local elections approaching and growing concern in the community about the Matiatia parking crisis, the Local Board decided to develop a new plan. There is much talk about re-educating the community away from their cars and towards bikes and buses, as an alternative to providing parking infrastructure.

The board also decided to outsource the formulation of the new plan and granted $50,000 of ratepayers’ money to a group called Direction Matiatia Inc. (DMI) for that purpose. That group proposed to run a workshop and invited “organisations and groups with an interest in Council owned land or facilities at Matiatia from a commercial, operational, environmental, cultural, heritage, public amenity or public safety purpose”. The decision-makers from AT and the Council were not expected to take part in workshop deliberations.

FUG thanked DMI for the invitation, but declined to participate, at this stage of the electoral cycle. The new Local Board about to be elected may well hold different views from those of the outgoing board. We have not reached the current crisis situation through lack of consultations and plans; we reached it through the failure of those legally responsible for “meeting the current and future needs of the community for good-quality local infrastructure” (Local Government Act 2002) to do the job we pay them to do. Another round of consultations may only result in more excuses for that failure to continue for a few more years.

FUG will continue to advocate for the urgent addition of adequate parking infrastructure at Waiheke’s park-and-ride facility in Matiatia, using the ample land holdings owned by ratepayers in that location . We are encouraged by the support received from Councillor Mike Lee and hope to receive a similar degree of support from the next Waiheke Local Board.

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