North Shore Councillors Decided

The final tally is in, and the Mayor along with all the Councillors for the 3rd Supercity Council are now known, most were confirmed on Saturday, however the race for the second ward position for the North Shore went down to special votes, as Richard Hills was only 70 votes ahead at the time.

The final result for the two Councillor positions for the North Shore was

1.     Chris Darby  19396 Votes

2.     Richard Hills 12651 Votes

Grant Gillion who was 70 odd votes behind at the Preliminary count finished on 12523 votes, Richard Hills increased his margin after special voting was counted to 128 votes.

Richard Hills should be a good addition to the Council from a Transport perspective, he campaigned on in his words “Better public transport, cheaper fares, more walking and cycling initiatives including Skypath and secure Rail to the Shore,”

He scored an A+ on Generation Zero’s Scorecard & has served two terms on Kaipatiki Local Board. Along with Darby it looks like the North Shore have voted 2 very PT focused candidates with both advocating for Cycling, as well as Rail for the Shore.

As far as I am aware he ran a positive campaign, and like Chloe used Social Media to very good effect.

The Final Council make is now as follows with the final votes, Bill Cashmore is N/A as he was elected unopposed.

(Note ignore text below title, these are the final not provisional results)

Confirmed Results

The final turnout was 38.5% after special votes had been counted, and 18000 votes were made on the Saturday.

Should Auckland Transport get out of the parking business?

This is a question that Councillor Chris Darby asked on Facebook last week:
chris-darbyIt is a valid question, especially considering the white elephant that has been the Ronwood Ave carpark in Manukau. But if we look a bit closer at the city centre, it seems like some pretty key sites – worth quite a lot of money – are wrapped up in parking. Let’s just look at the Downtown and Victoria Street carparks.

The Downtown carpark has nearly 1,900 spaces, occupies a prime site pretty much on the waterfront and is a key location in terms of linking together the city with the viaduct and Wynyard Quarter areas, as well as to the growing Victoria Quarter. The site has a capital value of $65 million, of which around half is the value of the land it occupies:

downtown-carparkThe Victoria Street carpark is about half the size (just under 900 spaces) and once again is located in a pretty prime spot in the city centre – right next to Albert Park and with a bit of elevation overlooking the Queen Street valley. It’s worth $45 million, of which just over $20 million is the value of the land itself.

victoria-st-carpark

I wonder what sort of rate of return the Council is getting on these pretty expensive assets. Looking at the pricing structure of parking in these buildings it seems as though prices are about the same (for early bird) or cheaper (for casual parking) than they were a decade ago. The Draft Annual Plan suggests a fairly modest $2.7 million profit from the entirety of the Council’s off-street parking business – on revenue of $28.6 million. While some expenditure will be on free parking areas in smaller centres, it does appear as though the rate of return on the city centre parking buildings (let alone the Ronwood Ave white elephant) is fairly dismal.

Councillor Darby seems keen to have the conversation around whether off-street parking buildings should be something Council (through Auckland Transport) gets involved in. Considering that in the city centre, owning parking buildings and probably subsidising the cost of parking (through the very low rate of return) goes against all policies to boost public transport use and unclog the city centre of cars, it’s a damn good conversation to have. Another one is whether Council should sell the buildings in their current use or redevelop them into something else themselves (as suggested for the Downtown carpark in the City Centre Master Plan).