PUHOI COMMUNITY FORUM
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – JUNE 24th 2014
This year is the Forum’s 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, the Puhoi Community Forum (PCF) was created by members of the Puhoi community. Rather like an informal village council, it has two major functions – to facilitate communication between Puhoi’s community members and organisations, and to represent Puhoi within the wider arena. In this Annual Report, we will overview the major region-wide developments that have taken place over these 10 years, what the Forum has done to address them, and what lies ahead of us.
Developments in the wider community over the last 10 years
The political, economic and administrative landscape has changed drastically over the last decade. The Rodney District Council (RDC) ceased to exist in 2010, replaced by the new Auckland Council (AC). The RDC was replaced by the Rodney Local Board (RLB) as our primary point of contact with AC. AC introduced the Unitary Plan, first in Draft (2013) and then in Proposed (2014) form. AC consulted widely with its constituent communities, including Puhoi, on what the Plan should contain and how individual communities (like Puhoi) would fit in – a lengthy and ongoing process. The northern motorway was extended to near Puhoi, and a new extension to Warkworth and Wellsford is in the planning stage, with issues of appropriate access for Puhoi. Economic development in the Puhoi region continues apace, with large-scale activities (eg. Puhoi Valley Cheese and logging) happening alongside smaller developments in business and private endeavours. Land development and population increase have been more moderate, limited by the area’s topography and by Council regulation.
PCF activities over the past decade
In response to these wider changes in the Rodney district, the PCF has been active in a number of ways. At the political and administrative level, it developed the Vision for Puhoi document in 2008 as a blueprint for desired community development. This document served as the basis for a collaborative project between the RDC and PCF, where the Puhoi community participated in the development of a formal Puhoi Structure Plan, which was adopted by the RDC in 2010. When the AC put forward its Draft Unitary Plan in 2013, the PCF successfully advocated in both 2013 and 2014 for the inclusion of core Puhoi Structure Plan principles in the Unitary Plan.
In addressing the Puhoi district’s natural assets, the PCF concluded in 2004 a grazing lease arrangement with the RDC, which enabled the Forum to administer a 22 hectare grazing lease within the Puhoi Pioneers Memorial Park, using the proceeds to help develop the Park. Management of the grazing lease was devolved to the Puhoi River Park Society in 2008, which continued until 2013 when that Society was wound up and the lease reverted to the PCF. Ross Tolhopf was the lessee involved between 2004 and late 2013, and a new lease is currently being finalised. In 2009 the RDC, in consultation with the PCF and the Puhoi community, established a Park Management Plan and a Park Management Committee to oversee the wider development of the Park. The Forum has a recognised role in both Plan and Committee. AC’s Parks Department takes responsibility for a considerable amount of maintenance in the Park, and NZ Biosecurity Services has an annual budget of time for weed and pest control. While not directly responsible for the latter, the PCF has provided active support for Landcare’s endeavours over the years in plantings, weed control and pest management. In 2013 AC published an Ecological Management Plan for the Park, which provides a basis for PCF-supported community initiatives in Park development and maintenance.
The PCF has also been actively involved in advocating for infrastructure development in Puhoi, and several projects have been undertaken in conjunction with the RDC and AC. In 2008 a “Puhoi Traffic Calming Project” was published by the RDC and its findings incorporated in the 2010 Puhoi Structure Plan. On the initiative of the PCF, a community survey-based report titled a “Puhoi Historic Village Traffic Management Plan” was published in 2011. Using it as a foundation, the PCF successfully negotiated with the RLB to have some safety-related work carried out in the form of road edging, marking and footpath in the centre of the village in 2012. In the same year, the PCF applied for a Local Board Discretionary Community Grant. Thanks in part to the active support of Board member June Turner, we succeeded in 2013 in being granted $90,000 towards the construction of a pedestrial bridge opposite the corner of Puhoi Road and Krippner Road, and $31,000 towards the construction of a footpath between that bridge and the Puhoi Library. With the cost of the pedestrian bridge exceeding the available budget, a further grant by the RLB culminated in a total sum of $170,000 being available in 2014, which will enable construction to be started later this year. Alongside these infrastructure projects, the PCF has actively supported various advocacy initiatives, ultimately successful, aimed at ensuring direct access at Puhoi to the newly-planned extension of the northern motorway in the form of a northbound exit and a southbound entry.
PCF activities over the past year
Over the past 12 months, the PCF has continued its active involvement in a range of community activities and initiatives. Decisions were progressed in regard to:
The grazing lease,
Surveying the local community regarding traffic safety – the response was primarily concerned about speeding and school buses. A subsequent survey to ascertain the best area for buses to pick-up/drop-off children resulted in only 8 responses, equally divided between using the existing site or moving to the Domain – two mothers will carry this forward to try and get more response from the parents of those using the buses.
Submissions to AC’s Unitary Plan as regards Puhoi Heritage protection, Neighbourhood Centre, Zones, and Puhoi Precinct.
A new Forum brochure, outlining its nature and purpose, as well as an associated membership form and letter headed paper – created and donated by Theo Koops, Forum Committee member and local graphic designer.
We had visits and talks from:
The Northern Action Group
The Environmental Services Unit of AC – on Kauri Dieback
Rob Wakelin – on the Puhoi Track section of the Te Araroa Walkway.
Rodney Straka & Shelley Hacket – on an extended development plan for the Park.
Other matters we have discussed or dealt with:
Support for the Sesquicentennial celebrations and activities
Mowing of the grass berms
Horse-riding in the Park
Challenges involved with Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) in the Unitary Plan
Memorial seats in the Park
The motorway extension
An acknowledgement of contributions to the Forum
It is important to acknowledge the personal contributions made by various people towards the work of the Forum during 2013-2014. Specifically, Derek Hay, Peter Straka and Hans Everts have served as Chairs. We thank Guinny Sorensen for her work as Secretary of the Forum for most of the past year, and Judith Williams for stepping in when Guinny was not available. We wish to thank Sue Tisdall for faithfully attending to the Treasurer’s portfolio. We acknowledge that Derek, Guinny and Sue won’t be with us for the 2014-2015 year, and we thank them most sincerely for helping the Forum be active and successful in its work. We thank the Committee members and general members for their contributions in helping the Forum stay true to its brief.
What lies ahead in the next 12 months?
In light of the Forum’s working brief and events over the last 12 months, we strongly recommend that we attend to the following:
to foster strong and active participation by member organisations in the work of the Forum, thus ensuring that local groups receive the support they need, and that we have a strong voice in advocating for Puhoi in the wider arena.
to enhance the relationship between Puhoi and both RLB and AC.
to protect and develop Puhoi’s natural assets in the Memorial Park and wider environment.
to advocate for the continued development of Puhoi’s infrastructure.
to promote Puhoi as a visitor destination.
So, join us – you are the community, and the community is the Forum.
Hans Everts, Derek Hay, Peter Straka
Chairs, Puhoi Community Forum
24th June 2014