Mike will continue to improve transport for the Botany subdivision. In his first 2 years on the Howick Local Board, Mike has worked to improve the safety of our roads and footpaths; including two major projects to provide safe crossings of students to local schools and a push to complete the footpaths along Ormiston Road near the Ormiston Town Centre. He is also providing strong advocacy for the completion of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit, and for the AMETI public transport from Botany to Panmure.
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Auckland Transport has agreed to build four new footpaths in Ormiston.
By Mike Turinsky
For over 2 years, even before I was elected to the Howick Local Board, I have been advocating for someone to create four footpaths in Flat Bush. All of these footpaths are needed to connect to the PAK'nSAVE supermarket. At the moment, residents have to either walk on the road or on the grass. During the rainy season, the grass can turn to mud.
That is hard for the elderly, wheelchair and mobility scooter users. I was aware of the issue early on, but after being elected in 2017, I have advocated both with AT (Auckland Transport) and the Howick Local Board asking, "Why haven't these footpaths been completed?"
Ormiston Senior College has also been wanting these footpaths for their student's use, for nine years. I asked AT to look at the problem, but I was repeatedly told that it was was not within AT's responsibility. I was told the property owner and developers were responsible for the project, and that the footpaths would not be installed until the properties were developed, so that it could be paid for from development contributions.
It frustrated me because residents were trudging through soggy grass or along the road to get to the store. I admit I was hitting a brick wall and had almost given up, but then a group of Year 11 Ormiston Senior College students contacted me petitioning for the paths.
I met with the students from Ormiston Senior College, and they explained to me that they chose this issue as a class project. They told me they wanted to see access for all, including those in wheelchairs.
“Our friend Jamie Stanford was born with a spinal birth deformity called spina bifida. The lack of accessibility causes trouble for Jamie and other people who use wheelchairs and mobility tools, simply to get their groceries. It’s a human rights issue,” says OSC student Kush Killa.
When Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore visited one of our Howick Local Board monthly meetings, he spoke about council's responsibility for developing infrastructure on council property, including in town centres. I mentioned the footpath project and Cashmore said that he believed in principle the footpaths were a responsibility of council.
I was pessimistic the issue would be resolved but the students inspired me to try again. So I contacted Cashmore's office and AT, one more time, to see if there was something that could be done.
Auckland Transport has now said they will take on the project. The four footpaths have now been scheduled for completion in the current financial year. I want to say, that even though it took a long time, Auckland Transport should be commended. They did listen to my concerns and they are acting on them now.
AT’s spokesperson Mark Hannan confirmed this (to the Times) saying, “Auckland Transport is completing four missing links in the footpath network along Ormiston Road. The gaps in the footpath have limited the ability of people to walk in the area.”
The footpaths will be on Ormiston Road, from 249 to Collier Drive; from Murphy’s Road to Lemon Tree Lane; and from Pencaitland Drive to Te Ara Kahikatea. The fourth path will be on Geranium Avenue from Rohi Place to Murphy’s Road.
This project is not completed, but it is funded and will be completed by 31 March 2020.