February 2013

In this issue:

RPS  JMA  Rangiriri  Victoria Street  Te Awamutu

Message from chairman Alan Livingston

Alan Livingston
Alan Livingston
Waipa Mayor

Independent chair Bill Wasley has stepped down after more than four years of dedicated involvement in the Future Proof project. Previously I had been operating as deputy chair of the Future Proof Implementation Committee (FPIC) but was yesterday elected to undertake the chairman’s role until the October local body elections.

In the meantime, Future Proof has a significant amount of work planned for the coming year. This will include participating in the Waikato Regional Policy Statement appeals to anchor the Future Proof strategy, supporting key components of the Waipa District Plan and reviewing Hamilton’s recently released district plan.

Regional council prepares for RPS appeals

RPS

Work by Waikato Regional Council staff is already underway to respond to 37 Environment Court appeals on the proposed Waikato Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

There are a small number of appeals that seek amendments to the policies and methods which anchor the Future Proof settlement pattern in the proposed RPS. Some of the main themes that have emerged from the appeals are:

  • the role of commercial centres and where they fit in a commercial hierarchy
  • the ability to establish commercial activity outside commercial centres
  • the quantum, location and role of industrial land in the vicinity of the airport
  • the ability and criteria to provide for flexibility in terms of industrial land allocation and staging.

The Future Proof Implementation Committee has also made an appeal seeking to include Ruakura in the residential growth allocation and staging table.

The RPS is the regional council’s key planning tool, providing an overview of the resource management issues of the region and providing the framework for integrating regional land use patterns and the provision of regional infrastructure.

The RPS helps the council achieve its flagship goals of meeting legislative co-management requirements with iwi, promoting regional development and sustaining land and water values.

Last November the decisions of a hearings committee were released, two years after public comment was first sought on the proposed RPS.

The council will need to wait to determine the impact of the appeals on the proposed RPS before parts of it can be made operational.

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Agreements with iwi on river management 

JMAs

Iwi throughout the Future Proof sub-region have expressed a desire to work in partnership with the councils and good progress is being made on this. 

Joint management agreements (JMA) between the council and iwi are designed to fulfil requirements under treaty settlement legislation covering the Waikato and Waipa rivers. They provide for the way the councils and iwi will work together on river management. 

Waikato Regional Council last year signed JMAs with Raukawa Settlement Trust and Te Arawa River Iwi Trust. Both include agreed processes for input into resource consents, monitoring, enforcement and policy and planning matters to do with the river. Implementation of both agreements is now underway. 

The Waikato District Council has made good progress in the last 12 months, having completed work to incorporate the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River into the District Plan and completed the drafting of five of the seven schedules to the Joint Management Agreement. The five schedules completed are:

  • monitoring and enforcement
  • resource consents
  • preparation, review, or change of a RMA planning document
  • customary activities
  • land management, acquisition and disposal. 

Marae Tukere, the council’s iwi and community partnership manager, said the relationship with Waikato-Tainui is strong. “We are continuing to develop initiatives to increase awareness and understanding of the Waikato River Settlement Act amongst our staff. The Joint Committee with Waikato-Tainui has now met twice and will meet again in March. The final two schedules to the Joint Management Agreement (management of sites of significance and Staff awareness and training) will also be completed later this year,” she said. 

Waipa District Council is progressing towards fulfilling its JMA requirements with Raukawa, Maniapoto and Waikato-Tainui respectively. 

An agreement with the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board is due to be signed in early April. This is a combined JMA between the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board, the Waipa, Waikato, Otorohanga and Waitomo District Councils and the Waikato Regional Council. 

Discussions are continuing with Waikato-Tainui and it’s expected that this joint JMA with Waikato Regional Council will be completed before the middle of 2013.

Waip District Council is also due to commence discussions with the Raukawa Charitable Trust Board and it is hoped that JMA will be completed by mid-2013.

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Waikato Expressway section steaming ahead

Rangiriri
Click to enlarge image.

Hot on the heels of the Te Rapa section opening to traffic on December 1 last year, the NZ Transport Agency Board has now approved funding for the construction of the Rangiriri and Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway, and awarded the contract for the Rangiriri section to Fletcher Construction.

The contract to build the $105 million Rangiriri section of the Waikato Expressway has gone to Fletcher Construction. The 4.8km Rangiriri section of the Expressway will connect to the Longswamp section to the north, connecting to the already completed Ohinewai section. It also includes an interchange at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Te Kauwhata Road and an interchange at Rangiriri. The project will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction, divided by a central barrier.

NZTA Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager, Richard Young, says preparation for the work on Rangiriri section got underway in early February with the relocation of services and Transpower lines. "We expect this section to be completed by late 2016. The finished road will enable Rangiriri to grow as a visitor attraction."

Mr Young this will be achieved by realigning the current State Highway 1 to the west, near the Waikato River, avoiding the historic sites of the Rangiriri Pa and battle trench. "The plan is to link the historic township, the 1863 battle site, replica trench system and Pa sites (all clearly marked with Po) with walkways so they are no longer bisected by SH1."

"Preserving the historical features of Rangiriri is an important priority for the Agency in partnership with Tangata Whenua," Mr Young says. "This area is also one of the areas where it was announced King Potatau would be the first Maori King."

Mr Young says the project also demonstrates the NZTA's effective working relationship with its Future Proof partners the Waikato District Council, along with Fletchers, Waikato-Tainui, DoC, the Historic Places Trust, Transpower, LiNZ, and the community boards at Rangiriri and Te Kauwhata.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says the construction of Rangiriri brings the region one step closer to completing the entire Expressway.

"It’s great to see another piece of the puzzle falling into place with the start of work at Rangiriri. The construction of this section brings us another step closer to the completion of this vital transport link," Mr Sanson says.

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Tamahere-Cambridge contract awarded next month

Tamahere-Cambridge
Click to enlarge image.

The contract for construction of the Tamahere-Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway is expected to be awarded to the successful tenderer in late March.

The 16km Tamahere-Cambridge section is the southernmost part of the Waikato Expressway, beginning 11 km south of the Hamilton CBD and ending approximately 2.5 km south of Cambridge.

Construction is likely to start in September later this year.

The Waikato Expressway is one of the NZTA's Roads of National Significance, each of which will provide a wide range of benefits. "The Waikato Expressway is on track to be finished in 2019," says NZTA Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager, Richard Young.

"When complete, it will reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by about 30 minutes, significantly reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes, increase the highway’s capacity, reduce fuel costs and make a major contribution to economic growth."

The project's consideration of economic, environmental and cultural elements in relation to building each section of the Expressway also demonstrates key aspects of the Future Proof approach to planning and integration in action.

Read the NZTA media release for more information about the specific cultural and environmental aspects of the Rangiriri project, and for a summary of current progress on the Waikato Expressway sections.

More information is also available on the NZTA's Waikato Expressway project webpages or check out Facebook.

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The plan for Hamilton

Victoria StAt 1100 pages, Hamilton City Council’s Proposed District Plan is a weighty document. It is also one of the council’s biggest and most important pieces of work of the past few years.

The Proposed District Plan governs the look and feel of Hamilton and sets the rules for future development. It also defines how and where the city grows and how its natural and physical resources are managed.

Months of painstaking work by the council’s expert planners and weeks of analysis and consultation have gone into the plan which was publicly notified in December.

Submitters are encouraged to submit online using an innovative programme that enables people to type in their comments alongside the relevant sections of the plan.

There were several guiding principles which governed the development of the plan. These included:

  • the importance of the central city
  • allowing for higher density residential development as the city grows
  • setting up a hierarchy of business centres
  • protection of character areas
  • restoration and protection of our natural environment and heritage.

One of the key themes of the Proposed District Plan is an emphasis on high quality urban design with the aim of achieving well-designed buildings and places that are attractive and safe.

It’s been more than a decade since the existing Operative District Plan has been updated which has meant the need for a significant number of changes to ensure Hamilton is well-placed for future growth.

Changes have been made to zoning, natural areas, transport corridors and heritage areas among others.

A structure plan for Ruakura has also been included that provides for the development of an inland port and distribution centre, taking advantage of rail and road links at Ruakura. A knowledge zone has also been included that builds on the positioning of AgResearch, Waikato Innovation Park and the neighbouring Waikato University.

Submissions to the plan close on Friday, 29 March, and will be heard by independent commissioners.

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Proposed Waipa District Plan

Te Awamutu

The proposed Waipa District Plan is now progressing through its hearing stages with hearings scheduled until May 2013 and decisions due to be released in September.

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. 

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