Pukerua Bay Residents’ Association – 2014 Annual Report of the Chair

This year the committee has focussed its efforts in the environment and recreation area, and has worked with local authorities and other groups to support local residents and the community.

Village Planning

This remains the centre of much of the work we do for the community. Our priorities under Porirua City Council’s Village Planning programme for this year have been the community garden, the Green and Gold trails, and the shared cycle way/footpath between the shops and Wairaka Road.

A keen group of local residents has come together, led by Jonathan Harker, to establish a community garden in Pukerua Bay. Their preference is to establish a “food forest” – a permaculture-style garden. The likely site of this is on Muri Reserve, and its establishment relies on the Residents’ Association making progress on its wider plan for developing the reserve.

We have made less progress on the Green and Gold Trails than we had hoped to make, largely because of the lack of time committee members have had to dedicate to it. Before he left Pukerua Bay, our former chair, Pat Hanley, worked with the other parties to make some progress on the information that would be on the posts at the significant sites. The Te Araroa Trust has not finished the walkway between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, and this will be integrated with the Green and Gold Trails when it reaches the Bay. Despite its slow progress, this remains a priority for the Residents’ Association.

The shared cycle way/footpath between the shops and Wairaka Road is awaiting approval from NZTA, and is now expected to be built early next year.

We were very pleased with the improvements PCC made to the playground at the skate park. Pukerua Bay is well-served by playgrounds, and we now have two recently refurbished playgrounds for local children.

Muri Reserve Development

Developing Muri Reserve into a more accessible recreation area is one of the projects identified in our 2011 Village Plan. Part of the reserve is used by walkers and as a children’s play area and dog exercise area, however, much of it is inaccessible and not used by locals. It has potential as a soft recreation area, with paths and rest areas. It is the preferred site for a community garden/food forest, and has ecological values that need protecting. We are currently consulting the community on what activities would be suitable there, and intend to make more progress on that in the coming year.

Northern Growth Area Structure Plan

This is a long-term plan PCC has to allow development in the northern parts of Porirua, including possible residential development immediately to the south of Pukerua Bay. Any development would depend on commercial developers being interested in the sites and would not happen until the Transmission Gully road opens, but it does potentially have impacts on Pukerua Bay, and we will monitor any possible changes in this area.

Environment

A member of our committee, Ted Coats, represents land owners on the Significant Vegetation Consultative Group that was established as a result of the backlash to PCC’s proposal last year to impose tough obligations on land owners with significant vegetation on their properties. PCC is developing a policy on significant vegetation, and we will continue to watch this issue as it could affect many Pukerua Bay landowners.

We are working with PCC on a proposal to give residents choices on how street trees are pruned in the Bay. We are in the early stages of this, and will be developing a consultation method with PCC. This could be a trial for how other communities in Porirua decide how they want street trees maintained.

We were very pleased to see the success Pukerua Bay School had in its Tag Free Kiwi anti-graffiti programme this year. This came about following discussions we had with PCC on how to eliminate graffiti at the skate park, and saw artists working with the school children to develop their own community art and drama, including a new mural at the skate park. Graffiti has been a persistent and expensive problem at the skate park since it was rebuilt, and programmes like this can help to reduce the amount of graffiti in the community. This is a good example of how we can use our networks to be a catalyst for other groups in the community to work together.

This past year has been a bumper year for native tree fruits, and has led to a jump in the local rat population. We have developed a proposal to install rat bait stations across Pukerua Bay to reduce the rat population, and protect the native birds whose populations are increasing. This is being rolled out now.

Submissions To Councils And Other Authorities

The Committee has made a number of submissions on various proposals or represented the community at forums. These included:

  • Draft Local Alcohol Policy for Porirua – we argued for flexibility in the policy so communities could find solutions that suit that community.
  • Place-making events organised by PCC for making the central city area more attractive.

Boxing Day Beach Bash

The committee continued its support for the Boxing Day “Beach Bash” on the foreshore. This was an even more successful community event than last year, and we will continue our support for it.

Civil Defence

This has been an uneventful year for emergencies. As part of its work to build neighbourliness and connectedness in the community, the Pukerua Bay Civil Defence team contributed to the Boxing Day Beach Bash and promoted Neighbours Day. The team is concerned with the changes to regional Civil Defence arrangements that see volunteer groups finding it more difficult to get essential things like safety equipment and advanced first aid training. The local team and the Residents’ Association are concerned that the responsibility for paying for these items appears to have shifted to local volunteer groups, which makes them more difficult to obtain. We are lucky we have a keen group of local resident volunteers, led by Robyn Moore and Geert van de Vorstenbosch, who contribute their time to ensuring the community is prepared for natural disasters and emergencies.

Acknowledgements

I want to thank the members of the executive committee – Ted Coats, June Penhey, Gill England, Kate Dreaver, Geert van de Vorstenbosch, Dagmar Pesendorfer, Pauline Morse, Robyn Moore and Tia Beaufort – for their work this year. In particular, I want to thank the members who are standing down – Ted Coats and Gill England – for their contributions. The committee’s success depends on the members’ efforts and the support we get from other people who help us in our work on behalf of the community. These include Jonathan Harker, Tony Jackman, Margaret Blair, Gay Hay, Cath Pearson and the members of the Civil Defence team.

I want to thank the Porirua City and Greater Wellington Regional Councillors and staff we work closely with. We are grateful for the support we get from the Northern Ward Councillors (Tim Sheppard, Euon Murrell, Anita Baker and Bronwyn Kropp), PCC’s Village Planning Manager Ian Barlow, GWRC Councillor Jenny Brash, and Bill Inge and Richard Witheford-Smith from Porirua City Council. We have very good relationships with them, and they always support our work and the Pukerua Bay community. We greatly value the assistance – in both time and funding – we get from PCC through the Village Planning Programme.

Iain MacLean, Chairperson
18 November 2014