All pupils in years Five and Six at Bayswater School have submitted on the Auckland Transport Lake Road Improvements consultation and six of the school’s Travelwise team have presented to the Devonport Takapuna Local Board. Basing their presentations on videos [see them here and here ] and drawings, the children have been supported by not only their school but the wider community.
This came about as part of Shore to Thrive following up on concerns about the safety of people, particularly children along Bayswater Ave. This key local issue emerged from the Community Wellbeing Survey undertaken by Shore to Thrive in late 2016. Its importance was reinforced through feedback at the Bella Monte Survey Walkthrough Event in May 2017.
Soon after that, an opportunity for the community to push for positive change was identified through the Lake Road Improvements Consultation process which is ran through June and July 2017. Walking and cycling improvements along Bayswater Ave are being considered as part of this exercise. Shore to Thrive sought to bring people together and catalyse some local community led action to inform the consultation process and enable people to make a difference together.
The community conversation was initially developed by Shore to Thrive’s Steve McLuckie, Community Constable Jasmine Bundle and Community Coordinator Maria Teape. Jasmine had already escalated survey concerns up through the police hierarchy and other local people passionate about the issue joined in, including Bayswater Principal Lindsay Child, Jena Niquidet-Western a local mum and cycling advocate, Gay Richards, Chair of the Bayswater Community Committee, and local Mums Susanne and Joanna . Lindsay agreed to host the meeting in the Bayswater School hall and engaged Travelwise teacher, Linda McPhail and Travelwise support staff member, Alex Elton-Farr too.
A key focus of the conversation was the voices of children and Alex and Linda worked with the children and Travelwise parents to produce a survey on the children’s experiences of the street. Speed gun data from taken from outside the school every afternoon in the week before the meeting was collected. To guide future action, drawings of the children’s visions for a safe and improved Bayswater Ave were created, the data from 208 students was gathered as well as an abundance of creative submissions and a selection of visionary videos.
On the night, in mid June 2017, around 40 people came including Auckland Transport staff heading up the Lake Road consultation process, Daniel Newcombe and Philippa White; Ward Councillor, Richard Hills; four Local Board Members; representatives from a variety of local community organisations; teachers, local parents and children. Toys were borrowed from the Bayswater Playgroup so that parents with young children would feel welcome to come along with their kids.
To set the tone that people can effect positive change where they live, the meeting began with this video. Following the children’s feedback, conversation centred on what local people could do more of as a community before hearing from Auckland Transport. By the end, there seemed to be consensus on the need for a pedestrian crossing between Bayswater Park and O’Neill’s Point Cemetery along the Green Route. Meeting notes and the videos that the children produced have been accepted as submissions on the Devonport Takapuna Local Board plan which will guide local projects over the next three years.
Momentum continues to build. Word of the children’s efforts has reached all the way to the CEO of Auckland Transport. The children have visited Britomart and the Auckland Transport Operations Centre, and further meetings of Auckland Transport Planners and Travelwise staff have occurred. Next year there’s going to be a continued focus on the safety of Bayswater Ave by Year Six children.