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Action Plan gains momentum in New Year

Just prior to Christmas, the Auditor-General’s Report on the Auckland Council noted the ‘can-do’ attitude of our staff, local boards, councilors and council-controlled organisations and their commitment to making a unified Auckland work.

I am proud of the commitment of your elected representatives and our council staff in making the unified Auckland succeed.

I am also happy that they are working hard towards our goal of Auckland being the most livable city in the world.

We will continue working towards that goal with pace and momentum this year.

City Rail Link

We will forge ahead protecting and designating the route for the single-most transformational infrastructure project in Auckland, the City Rail Link.

Our electric trains are on track to arrive later this year, and work is well underway on the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

Two new ferry services start next month, between Hobsonville Point and Beach Haven and the City Centre, an important milestone in Auckland’s integrated transport system, giving residents more choice in how they travel.

On the waterfront, conversion of the century-old Shed 10 into a cruise ship terminal and events space is in full swing, due for completion in April.

Our local economy will get a big boost from cruise ship passengers and more work for local companies providing services and supplies to the ships.

Digital media

Our council controlled organisations, ATEED and Waterfront Auckland, are hard at work on the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct.

This is a cluster of ICT and digital media companies, entrepreneurs, research and development companies, and research and business support organisations.

It will be a premier location where high-value technology and innovation firms develop and showcase their products and applications, particularly to local and international investors.

Stage One of the 10-year project is underway and ATEED is fielding strong interest from companies keen to be involved.

In February, we will seek Aucklanders’ feedback on our draft ‘Annual Plan’ 2013-14, including proposed average rates increase of no more than 2.9% and local board priorities. In March, we will seek your opinions on the ‘Unitary Plan,’ a single region-wide-rulebook that sets out where and what we can develop and how we protect our environment and heritage.

High Profile projects

While these are some of the most high profile projects underway in Auckland, we will continue to invest in local areas; great cities are built on cohesive and resilient local communities with senses of local identity.

Just a few examples of currently proposed local projects around Auckland include town centre renewal at Mt Albert and Pukekohe and new or upgraded libraries in Devonport, Ranui, Te Atatu Peninsula and Otahuhu.

Parks and sportfield upgrades are proposed for Waiuku, Hibiscus and Bays, Howick, Ellerslie and Mt Roskill as well as the long awaited Otahuhu Swimming Pool and Glen Innes Music and Arts Centre for Youth.

Auckland is buzzing and will get better.

I wish you a Happy New Year.

Len Brown is Mayor of Auckland. On January 8, 2013, the City Mayors Foundation, an international think tank on urban affairs based in London, named him the ‘Seventh Best Mayor in the World,’ under its ‘2012 World Mayor Project.’

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