• 03 Te Rimu sculpture
  • 02 Great North Road Grey Lynn Mural
  • 01 Our Hood

Committee report for AGM: 4 December 2023

Held at the Grey Lynn RSC, Francis Street, Grey Lynn

It has been another purposeful year for the committee of the Grey Lynn Residents’ Association, with one longstanding project coming to fruition and others progressing well.

Planning Issues

Plan Change 78 - Selbourne Street pictured
Selbourne Street

In 2022 GLRA made submissions on Auckland Council’s Proposed Plan Change 78. Proposed Plan Change 78 seeks to change the Auckland Unitary Plan in response to central government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS UD) and Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

The NPS UD and MRDS requires councils in New Zealand’s larger urban areas to change their unitary or district plans to allow the building of:

  • 3 x 3-storey dwellings on most residential sites.
  • 6-storey apartment buildings in areas close to the CBD, metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops (train & bus stations).

We initially expected hearings for Plan Change 78 to have been completed by about now. However, there have been considerable delays and we are yet to appear at any hearing.

In April 2023 Auckland Council requested, and was granted, a one year extension to the March 2024 deadline for decisions on the plan change.

This was to allow time for Auckland Council to investigate natural hazards and flooding after cyclone Gabrielle caused flooding in parts of the city, including Grey Lynn. These investigations will result in a variation to the plan change to mitigate risks and improve resilience to natural hazards including extreme weather events.

Delays in the plan change process resulted in the resignation of two of the six members of the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) that is tasked with hearing the submissions and preparing a recommendations report on the plan change. The need to appoint new IHP members caused further disruption.

After pausing all hearings back in May 2023, the IHP has heard submissions on some hearings topics. We are still waiting for hearing dates for the topics that are most relevant to Grey Lynn. We expect these hearings will take place sometime in 2024.

Huge thanks to Tania Mace for her expert work here.

Great North Road

Great North Road, Grey Lynn - vision project
Great North Road, Grey Lynn – vision project

Brandon Wilcox and David Batten have been working on the “Community-led Vision for Great North Road” project for 7 years. Following presentations at Auckland Transport Board meetings this year, we finally helped secure approval for the project and work is currently underway on Great North Road.

The delivered project will not be as grand as the Community-led Vision, but we took a pragmatic approach and supported the plan that was on offer rather than letting perfection stand in the way of good and ending up with nothing.

As a result the cycle lanes from K’ Road will now extend all the way down Great North Road to the beginning of the Surrey Crescent shops, bus lanes will make public transport more efficient during peak morning and evening rush hours, and pedestrians will have more opportunities to cross the road safely.

We fought hard to retain as many trees and car parks as possible. Parking is important to support the local economy, but we were somewhat thwarted by AT’s “Vision Zero” safety thrust which required the removal of many parking spaces to provide safe sight lines for vehicles exiting side roads and driveways.

Huge thanks to David Batten and Brandon Wilcox for the stamina they have displayed over the course of their 7-year marathon.

Cycleways – Waitematā Safer Routes

Waitematā Safer Routes project
Waitematā Safer Routes project

Work is currently underway on the Meola Road section of the Waitemata Safer Routes scheme. With the Great North Road project also underway, the missing link is the Garnet Road and Surrey Crescent connection between the two.

This section was not considered a high enough priority by Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency to receive funding. Auckland Transport has therefore deferred the missing link to a later date.

However, Old Mill Road, Surrey Crescent and part of Richmond Road are fully funded for scheduled maintenance work (resealing) next year. We lobbied AT asking them to honour their own mandate to ‘maintain and improve’ when undertaking road renewal work. This led to a site visit with AT staff and representatives from GLRA, Bike Auckland, Cohaus and Kianga Ora.

Given the lack of budget for delivery of the full Waitematā Safer Routes scheme in this section of road, we expressed our support for an alternative approach that delivers quicker, cheaper improvements in conjunction with the road renewals scheduled for next year.

The interim traffic calming outside Grey Lynn School is unsafe and needs upgrading ASAP. We are lobbying AT to replace it with a permanent one that includes a raised walking/biking crossing outside the school, and bike lanes physically separated by concrete barriers.

AT’s current design for the Grey Lynn School scheme finishes outside Browning St. We are lobbying to extend the cycle lanes further west towards Richmond Rd. The additional cost – a few more concrete separators – will be insignificant in the scheme of things.

We are also lobbying for the Richmond Rd cycle lane between the West Lynn shops and Surrey Cres to be opened as soon as possible. It is only a matter of laying concrete separators (which will avoid drivers parking in the bike lane) and utilising the existing bus stop bypasses. Again, the cost should be small and should happen in conjunction with the scheduled road renewal next year.

AT plan to remove or reduce the flush median strip when the roads (Surrey Cres, Richmond Rd, Old Mill Rd) are renewed next year. We are lobbying for physically separated bike lanes to be installed at the same time as the renewals.

In general, our view is that any failure to coordinate renewals and delivery of bike lanes would be a travesty, and a direct repudiation of the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway and Vision Zero. Our work on this project is ongoing and we hope will result in protected cycle lanes when Surrey Cres, Richmond Rd and Old Mill Rd are renewed next year.

Huge thanks to Brandon Wilcox for his work on this project.

Grey Lynn Park

Rose Road Gully, Grey Lynn Park
Rose Road Gully, Grey Lynn Park

Work in the Rose Road Gully has continued through the year, led by a keen core team which swells when new helpers have time to join in. Working bees are held on average fortnightly, on a Sunday.

We have planted hundreds of plants, built walls and paths and removed massive amounts of weed material such as morning glory and tradescantia, which is all being composted on site. We have spread large amounts of mulch, a major effort. There is still much to do but the area is looking lovely.

We have approached the Waitematā Local Board regarding new plantings and will make a submission to them in the new year. In the meantime we are beginning a survey of trees and shrubs in the park at large, with recommendations to be made to Council for maintenance work and new plantings.

Huge thanks to Nicola Legat and Jo Hurst for their tireless work on this project.

Cooper Street Reserve

Cooper Street Reserve
Cooper Street Reserve

Following confirmation of the retention of Cooper Street Reserve as a scheduled park, we worked with the Parnell Residents Group to ensure Cooper Street Reserve was included in submissions to both the Waitematā Local Board and Auckland Council’s Parks and Reserves department as to ongoing maintenance assurances. It currently appears to be regularly mown and cleared of rubbish.

Defence Force Pocket Park Proposal

Defence Force Pocket Park Proposal
Defence Force Pocket Park Proposal

We have completed a draft proposal and gained tacit support for the project from Cr Mike Lee and WLB member Greg Moyle.

Cr Julie Fairey also offered support and an approach to the then Hon Michael Wood, Minister for Auckland as an advocate to the then Minister of Defence, given the Defence Force ownership of the land.

Political machinations at the local level and a changing of the guard following the recent national election scuppered that direction. We now await the bedding in of our new Mt Albert electorate MP Helen White and Minister of Defence Judith Collins and will commence lobbying afresh next year.

We are also working on a presentation to solicit support for the project from the Waitematā Local Board, although it is anticipated that funding will have to be creatively applied, if at all, given the constrained nature of Auckland Council’s resources.

We are considering the possibility of a public petition, soliciting support from other community organisations, and a media thrust to coincide with any approach to elected representatives at a national level.

Huge thanks to David Batten for his work on this project.

Website and Facebook

Grey Lynn Residents Association website
Grey Lynn Residents Association website

The website has been well used and maintained by Brandon Wilcox, with a number of blog posts on key issues during the year. David Batten has maintained our GLRA Facebook page as well as the Arch Hill Matters page. Thanks to both Brandon and David.

David reports that over the last 12 months both Facebook pages have shown positive growth. GLRA now has 609 likes and 660 followers; Arch Hill Matters now has 390 likes and 387 followers.

The most popular post this year was one in March announcing that works were about to commence for the Arch Hill Scenic Reserve Playground renewal.

Brandon reports that over the last 12 months the website has averaged 4,400 visitors each month, which is up +11% on the prior year.

The top 5 most visited posts/pages this year are…

  1. Fatal Dog Attack in Grey Lynn Park – Malamute or Husky + Woman Owner [blog post] Brandon reports it gets twice as much traffic as our home page!
  2. Home page
  3. Community Contacts [page]
  4. Great North Road Improvement Plan: Read our Open Letter to AT Board 🤯 [blog post]
  5. Have your say on the future look of Great North Road… [blog post]

We have 397 email subscribers and our average open rate is between 50% and 70%. Our open rates are exceptionally high compared to the 21% average email open rate for all industries, and 25% for non-profits.

Western Isthmus Stormwater and Wastewater Upgrades Community Liaison Group

Western Isthmus Stormwater and Wastewater Upgrades
Western Isthmus Stormwater and Wastewater Upgrades – Manukau Harbour crossing map.

The Central Interceptor project is a 4.5m diameter tunnel from Māngere to Grey Lynn. It will collect wastewater from the existing network and take it to the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The aim of the Central Interceptor project is to improve water quality by reducing overflows by storing wastewater in the tunnel prior to treatment.

The tunnel’s termination point has been extended to Pt Erin following cost escalations.

The tunnel boring machine has completed the 7.6km southern section of the Central Interceptor tunnel, and is currently located near May Rd, Mt Roskill en route to Grey Lynn via Mt Albert and Western Springs.

Work continues at the Tawariki St shaft site, where a large drilling rig is onsite. At the Western Springs site the shaft is completed.

Grey Lynn separation is still in the planning phase, while the Edgars Creek area stormwater network upgrade is underway.

Huge thanks to Paul Shortland for his work in keeping us up-to-date with this project.


The Association does not charge a membership fee and its only income is from the sponsorship of the website, which covers its hosting and support costs. We have ended the year in a fiscally neutral state. A financial report will be presented at the AGM.

Many thanks to Paul Shortland for his time in preparing the reports for us, and Tania Mace for stepping in as not-the-treasurer while that position is vacant. If you would like to join the GLRA Board and help out in this regard, please step forward!


Thanks are due to all the GLRA committee members, who have worked so hard this year for the neighbourhood despite their own busy working and family lives.