This year the committee continued its focus on our Village Planning projects, in particular the Muri Reserve community garden/food forest, safety along people travelling along Muri Road and the Green and Gold trails, as well as responding to issues arising from the opening of Te Araroa walkway, and supporting the Pukerua Bay Store.
The Pukerua Bay Village Plan remains the centre of much of what the Committee worked on during the year. We have continued with the priorities we set with Porirua City Council (PCC) the previous year — the Muri Reserve community garden/food forest, road safety and the Green and Gold Trails. The budget allocated by PCC for these in 2015–16 was: community garden/food forest $5,000, Green and Gold Trails $10,000 and road safety $25,000. The PCC village plan budget allocated to Pukerua Bay for 2016–17 is:
- $5,000 Green and Gold Trails project
- $5,000 Muri Reserve community garden/food forest
- $5,000 Muri Reserve development (non-community garden part) to improve walkers’ access from the Te Araroa Trail to the Pukerua Bay railway station
- $27,000 on design and consultation in Muri Road and implementation of road safety measures. Some funding will come from other PCC budgets
- $40,000 State Highway 1 Ara Harakeke walkway extension between the shops and Te Kura Road. Other components of the project will be funded by PCC Roading and NZ Transport Agency.
Most of this money has been carried over from the previous year. While we’re made progress on a number of these projects, very little of this money has been spent so far because of delays that largely are out of our control.
We are about to start a review of the current Village Plan to update it. We expect that will be done in 2017.
PCC’s Village Planning programme provides both a foundation for the Association’s work, and an important vehicle through which we engage with PCC.
We have spent this year trying to finalise access onto the site and to get permission from PCC to establish a garden or food forest on Muri Reserve. PCC has approved a licence for the Residents’ Association to have a garden on the site; this is being made into a formal agreement we have yet to finalise. However, we can operate on the site at this stage, and start clearing the land and beginning limited planting.
Unfortunately, it has been more difficult for PCC to reach an agreement with KiwiRail on getting vehicle access along the Muri Station platform. There appears to be agreement in principle, but there are still some details that have not been sorted out. The agreement with KiwiRail would also allow PCC to build a bridge across the gap between the platform and the garden, to allow access to vehicles and people on foot. This agreement has been complicated by the station platform forming part of the Te Araroa walkway, from the end of Muri Road to the Pukerua Bay train station.
This has been in our Village Plan work programme for several years, under the name of the ‘Green and Gold Trails’, with little progress for the past two years, However, we now have a group of people on the committee — Pauline Morse, Brian Sullivan and Paul FitzGerald — who are working initially with Margaret and Ashley Blair to confirm the heritage sites, get some signs and markers in place, and develop a website with information about the sites.
We have $5,000 of this year’s PCC Village Planning funding and $1,500 from an earlier grant to spend this year, and expect to make good progress with the heritage sites and Tony Jackman’s ecological ‘green’ sites over the next two years.
We continue to work on solutions to the issues highlighted in the Neighbourhood Accessibility Plan, ‘Uniting The Bay’, which we developed in 2008.
Safety on State Highway 1 remains a concern, but most of our efforts this year have gone into making Muri Road safer for pedestrians and people travelling in vehicles. Concerns about safety along this road increased when the Muri train station was closed in 2011, and the need for safety measures is greater since the opening of Te Araroa walkway has brought more pedestrians into the Bay.
The Residents’ Association carried out a survey in February of Muri Road residents to get their views on the safety measures they wanted along Muri Road. PCC has agreed to fund safety measures, starting with improved lighting, followed by improved pedestrian access and some form of speed reduction. The vegetation on the roadside is being maintained more regularly.
We are expecting plans going to residents this year for their feedback.
On State Highway 1 there has been no progress on the plan to replace the walkway between the shops and Te Kura Road. This is an extension of the shared Te Ara Harakeke pathway, and there is funding in PCC’s VIllage Planning budget again this year. The other safety measure along SH1 we have been trying to get installed is a barrier on the roadside of the garden at the intersection of SH1 and Wairaka Road. At the moment, we are not allowed to work in the garden without NZTA-approved traffic control being place. We had one unsatisfactory attempt at this in the past year, and are hoping to get a barrier in place so the garden, which is very untidy, can be maintained by the community.
We are also working with NZTA and PCC on the outcomes of their crash reduction study for SH1, and hope we can see some improvements in place this year.
This walkway along the escarpment between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki finally opened this year, and has hundreds of walkers on it on fine weekends. There are still a number of ongoing issues, particularly the lack of toilets at either end of the track, and the need for clear signage showing walkers which routes to take through Pukerua Bay. These are being addressed, and it’s hoped they will be sorted in time for the expected increase in walkers over summer.
We also supported the Pukerua Bay Store’s application for the renewal of its liquor licence after it was opposed by the Police and local Licensing Inspector. We organised a survey of residents, which got 350 responses, all overwhelmingly in favour of the store’s importance to the community, and in its ability to be able to sell alcohol. Our position has not changed since the last time we did this in 2012, which is that there are no particular problems caused by the store selling alcohol and the removal of the licence would have a negative impact on the store’s financial future. A decision on this has been delayed and probably won’t be made until early 2017.
We made a submission on PCC’s Annual Plan, which included support for paying employees the ‘living wage’, and some minor reductions in service levels to help reduce the rates increases. As a result of our submissions, PCC agreed to have the verges on Muri Road mowed more than twice a year, and to consult with the community on a safe crossing point for pedestrians outside the school in Rawhiti Road.
THe Hall Committee is now operating as a sub-committee of the Residents Association, as discussed at last year’s AGM, in order bring a greater sense of representation of the community’s views on the hall. The committee continues to work with the School Board of Trustees, which maintains governance, asset management and financial responsibility for the hall.
This year has been quieter than most for our local civil defence group, the Pukerua Bay Community Response Team (PKBCRT). There have been no activations of the Civil Defence Centre at Pukerua Bay School, now known as the Pukerua Bay Community Emergency Hub (or Hub, for short). You will soon see a change in the signage on both the street-side wall of the school/community hall and the sign on the street.
The Pukerua Bay Emergency Management Plan was last updated in 2012. The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) and the PKBCRT are aware that it has been four years since the last update and have been working this year to get feedback from the community about what they feel is important to include in the next edition of the Plan. In March the local coordinators, Robyn Moore and Geert van de Vorstenbosch, along with the WREMO Porirua Area Advisors, canvassed people in our community at the Pukerua Bay School Fair about what they perceive as hazards in our community and related matters. They had an outstanding response and locals’ input will be included in a new edition, to be formally reviewed and updated early next year. The current Plan can be downloaded from the Porirua City Council’s website.
If you want to contribute to the Plan or are interested in joining the PKB Community Response Team please feel free to contact Robyn Moore or Geert van de Vorstenbosch. Pukerua Bay Community Response Team Co-Coordinators: Geert van de Vorstenbosch (021 036 7606/239 firstname.lastname@example.org) & Robyn Moore (022 652 8608/239 email@example.com)
I want to thank the committee members — June Penhey, Jonathan Harker, Pauline Morse, Kate Dreaver, Brian Sullivan, Nick Vincent and Paul FitzGerald — for the contributions they have made to the committee’s work this year. I also want to thank Dagmar Pesendorfer, who stepped down from the committee this year, for her contribution over many years, particularly in preparing our village plans and in setting up our first website.
I also want to thank Porirua City Council for its support. In particular, I want to thank the former Northern Ward Councillors — Bronwyn Kropp, Tim Sheppard and Euon Murrell (as well as Anita Baker) — for their support for the Pukerua Bay community over many years. We are also grateful to Regional Councillor Jenny Brash for regularly attending our meetings.
PCC’s Village Planning programme is the most important connection we have with the City Council, and the programme’s staff have been incredibly helpful in achieving our goals this year. In particular, I want to thank Ian Barlow, who retired this year as Village Planning manager, Bill Inge, Justine McDermott and Claire Giblin for their support.
1 November 2016