September 2012

In this issue:

  Ngaruawahia Photo: NZTA  Expressway Photo: NZTA    

Message from Bill Wasley, Future Proof Independent Chair 

Bill Wasley

There’s been plenty of activity relating to the Future Proof strategy implementation since our last newsletter in July. Key to this has been:

• the consideration of 13 submissions on the Draft Three Waters Strategy, released for public consultation

• identifying future housing needs for an aging population

• monitoring the actions adopted by Future Proof partners to address the impact of rural and urban residential land use activities on the new Waikato Expressway, to ensure people can easily get to and from Hamilton for work during morning and evening traffic peaks

• supporting the strategic intentions of the Waipa District Plan.

At last month’s committee meeting, Future Proof partners also discussed the Government’s response to the new Auckland Plan. It is important we understand Government’s thinking around long term urban development because of its potential to impact on our planning work in the Waikato.

The committee also considered a report prepared by Waikato Regional Council regarding future onsite wastewater management. The study concluded that most on-site wastewater systems in the Future Proof area do not create environmental or health concerns, but the situation needs to be monitored and people encouraged to better maintain their existing septic tanks to minimise the risk of water contamination. The partnership has an ongoing interest in the size of rural lots, in particular those adjacent to rural areas, and how well septic tank systems will work on each.

This newsletter highlights the benefits of Future Proof working with the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to secure funding for transport in a nationally competitive situation.

The reviews of district plans being undertaken by Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato district councils are important to Future Proof. These plans implement the Future Proof’s strategy in detail at a local level and allow its intentions to be discussed by sub-region property owners.

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Hearings held on draft ‘three waters’ strategy

Three waters strategy hearing
At last month's hearing.

The Future Proof partners have heard submissions on a sub-regional strategy which sets out how Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato districts will deliver water, wastewater and stormwater services over the next 50 years.

The Draft Three Waters Strategy was released for public consultation in late June, with submissions closing on 31 July.

In total, 13 submissions were received on the strategy, with representatives of two groups appearing before a hearings committee at Hamilton City Council last month.

“The submissions covered a wide range of issues and were made by individuals, businesses and community groups,” said Future Proof’s independent chair Bill Wasley.

“A number focussed on how water should be delivered. Some also suggested water should be metered to ensure this valuable resource is available into the future.”

During the hearing, the Tamahere Community Committee said there should be clearer Government policies to direct local government on planning for water. The committee also felt the Waikato Regional Council should take a stronger lead.

Adare told the hearings committee it wanted the strategy to contain more specific proposals for the Peacocke area, south of Hamilton, in order to help them with their proposed future development.

After considering the 13 submissions, the Future Proof implementation committee decided the strategy should be amended to include:

  • references to the economic benefits of the three waters infrastructure
  • links to the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River
  • more specific references to the strategic water, wastewater and stormwater issues facing the sub-region, as well as the timeframes in which these issues would be discussed and resolved
  • a number of other matters raised by submitters.

Work on the strategy began early last year and was carried out collaboratively by Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato district councils, with input from all Future Proof partners.

Mr Wasley said: “Working together across the boundaries of the individual councils has enabled the delivery of more effective solutions to infrastructure services than would have been the case had they continued to work alone.”

The updated strategy will be considered by the Future Proof partners, ahead of being adopted by the implementation committee later this year.

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Government transport funding for Waikato welcomed

Ngaruawahia Photo: NZTA
Expressway construction. Photo: NZTA
Photos: NZ Transport Agency

Future Proof has welcomed the Government’s announcement that $590 million will go to the ongoing construction of the Waikato Expressway over the next three years.

A united bid from the Waikato’s councils helped secure a total funding package of up to $1.3 billion from the Government for the region’s transport activities over the next 3 years.

“The Expressway funding reflects the confidence the Government has in the long term planning underway for the Future Proof sub-region,” said independent chair Bill Wasley.

“Future Proof strongly supported the Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP), led by the Waikato Regional Council, which has been the basis for the Waikato getting this cash injection.

“Completing the Waikato Expressway, in particular, is important for anchoring the Future Proof settlement pattern, which helps decide where people will live, work and play in the future and guides planning for transport and infrastructure,” Mr Wasley said.

“We have been able to demonstrate to the Government that the sub-region is committed to long term planning and work is being undertaken to meet the goals set out in the Future Proof strategy.

“To achieve these goals, strong collaboration between the partners has been essential,” he said.

The Expressway funding is part of a substantial increase in investment for the Waikato region which is recognised as a key contributor to New Zealand’s economy, particularly given its roads carry high volumes of freight traffic.

Working with Future Proof partners enables the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to achieve more effective planning and investment to ensure a safe, accessible and secure roading network for all road users.

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Hamilton-Cambridge travel set to get safer and easier

Karapiro viaduct

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is currently tendering for the design and construction of the Tamahere and Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway.

The total value of this part of the Waikato Expressway project has been estimated at $290 million. A tender should be awarded to a successful contractor by March/April next year, with construction expected to begin in September 2013.

The two sections, with a total length of 16 km, will be constructed together under the one contract. Together they’ll provide a consistent four-lane expressway between the already completed Tamahere Interchange in the north and about 2.2 km south of the Cambridge town centre on State Highway 1 (SH1) on Tirau Road.

NZTA Waikato Expressway principal project manager, Richard Young, says that significant efficiencies will be achieved by combining the construction for both sections. “For example, we won’t have to build temporary tie-ins to join the Cambridge section to the existing two- lane Tamahere section of SH1.”

Eight bridges are proposed to be constructed on the combined Tamahere-Cambridge section. These include five bridges and three interchanges (with each interchange also involving the construction of a bridge). One of the bridges, the Karapiro Stream viaduct, will be approximately 40m high and 220m wide. It will be anchored into the gully with 195 ‘soil nails’ on each side, with each ‘nail’ being 35m long (see photo above).

Mr Young says once the Tamahere-Cambridge section is completed, it will significantly improve road safety for people travelling between Hamilton and Cambridge. “Traffic assessments and social cost savings calculated by the NZTA suggest that the total crash cost saving related to the combined sections would be about $2.8 million every year. This is equivalent to saving approximately one life every year, or stopping seven serious crashes per year,” says Mr Young.

NZTA regional director, Harry Wilson, says the recent announcement of a $1.3 billion investment in the Waikato region from the National Land Transport Programme includes approximately $590 million to ensure the Waikato Expressway will stay on track for total completion in 2019.

Mr Wilson says this investment recognises that ensuring the region’s roading network is safe, accessible and secure for all road users contributes to building New Zealand’s economy overall. “This is particularly relevant to us given the high volumes of freight traffic travelling in and through the Waikato region.”

For more details see www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waikato-expressway/ or follow this project on the NZTA’s Waikato Expressway Facebook page at www.facebook.com/waikatoexpressway.

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Tracking Future Proof’s work

StrategyWork is underway to assess how effectively Future Proof partners have been implementing the first three years of its strategy to manage sub-regional growth.

Waikato Regional Council is leading the monitoring work, which will assess the consequences of Future Proof’s actions, as well as changes in the community and environment.

Ultimately, this work will determine the effectiveness of Future Proof actions for the decision-makers and those with implementation responsibilities.

The monitoring strategy focuses on the collection and presentation of key built environment data:

  • development activity (subdivision, industrial, commercial and residential activity, residential densities and the availability of vacant land for these three land uses)
  • infrastructure provision
  • population trends
  • economic activity.

The monitoring will focus on key growth management actions. It will also be assisted by the monitoring requirements in the regional council’s Proposed Regional Policy Statement.

The monitoring strategy also investigates where development is occurring in relation to the settlement pattern contained in the Future Proof strategy. It will provide information to feed into updates of the Future Proof strategy.

The first stage of monitoring by the regional council is due to be completed next month, in time to start informing a review of the Future Proof strategy next year.

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District plan reviews in full swing

Each of the local councils in the Future Proof sub-region is well underway with reviews of their district plans.

Future Proof’s implementation advisor Ken Tremaine said: “The Future Proof partners take a keen interest in the review of the district plans. This is to ensure that the future residential, commercial and industrial land uses, which are part of the Future Proof strategy, are reflected in each planning document.

“Waikato Regional Council’s regional policy statement and the district plans are the key tools for implementing the Future Proof strategy.”

Hamilton

Hamilton cityHamilton City Council is reviewing its district plan, which dates from the late 1990s, to bring it into line with current thinking about quality urban design, growth and the city’s natural resources. Key principles underpinning the new plan are to create a more liveable city and ensure the growing needs of the city are managed effectively and efficiently. A series of open days and workshops in April and May saw written feedback made by 285 individuals and groups, covering 750 issues. This informal feedback has now been fed into the Proposed District Plan.

Last month, councillors on the District Plan Review Steering Group reviewed the entire plan, and they have also asked for some additional changes to be considered. As a result, a new target of 13 November has been set for seeking council approval to notify the plan. Notification is expected in December, with submissions open until March 2013.

Waikato

One of Waikato District Council’s key priorities in regard to the District Plan is the integration of the planning provisions of the Franklin District Plan and the Waikato District Plan. This is being done to facilitate the integration of part of the Franklin district which came into the Waikato district in November 2010 as a result of the Auckland governance arrangements.

The incorporation of part of the Franklin district into the Waikato district has meant the addition of 14,500 new residents, over 4,000 water connections, nearly 750 kilometres of roads and the inheritance of a suite of different planning provisions.

Since the transition, anyone who lives or operates in the former Franklin area is bound by the Franklin Section of the Waikato District Plan rules. However, there is a real need for the Waikato and Franklin sections to merge into one consistent document. It was decided that the best method for merger of the plans was through a rolling integration, which will gradually see the two sections align into one document over the next 10 years through the process of new plan changes.

Due to the expanded Waikato district, the Future Proof boundaries are being reassessed to incorporate this new northern area.

Waipa

Waipa districtThe Proposed Waipa District Plan has been notified and submissions have been received. Council staff have been busy summarising submissions ready for the further submissions stage. It is anticipated that the submission summary will be advertised on Tuesday 9 October.

The proposed Waipa plan implements a number of key Future Proof policy directions, as well as the council’s own Growth Strategy and other strategic planning initiatives such as Town Concept Plans.

The key policy approaches include a planned approach to growth that is coordinated with infrastructure provision, the establishment of urban limits, focusing rural residential development around existing nodes and further controls on rural subdivision.

To discuss the Proposed Waipa District Plan and the approach it has taken please contact Waipa District Council’s strategy team.

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