June 2014

In this issue:

Peacockes Road  Live work play  Tuakau workshop  Ngaruawahia  Waikato River

Report examines residential development in the sub-region

Peacockes Road

Urban development in the Waikato, Waipa and Hamilton city areas is generally occurring within limits identified in a far-reaching planning strategy, according to a report. 

The Future Proof Strategy, launched by Prime Minister John Key in 2009, identified where urban development should take place in the Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato districts. 

A report presented to the Future Proof implementation committee this month has, for the first time, assessed whether development occurring in the sub-region is in alignment with the strategy’s expectations. 

“It’s the first time since the strategy was launched that we have looked in a comprehensive way at how development is occurring in the sub-region, alongside the strategy’s expectations,” said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine. 

“The results of this report will inform the work of the partners for their long term land use planning, infrastructure needs identification and funding. 

“It’s important that development does align with the strategy so Future Proof partners, in particular the NZ Transport Agency, know where the growth is occurring so plans can be developed to meet infrastructure needs and money is prioritised for the work,” Mr Tremaine said. 

The committee heard that 97-99 per cent of residential development is occurring within the identified urban limits. The report looked at rural residential growth outside urban areas and identified that further work needs to be done to assess its impacts. 

“It’s important to understand if rural farmland is being eaten up for residential use beyond areas zoned for this purpose, it can otherwise turn into de facto urban development,” said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine. 

“That puts a strain on roading, as well as pressure on councils to provide services, such as water and sewerage, to outlying areas.” 

The committee – comprising leaders from taangata whenua, Waikato Regional Council, Waipa and Waikato district councils, and Hamilton city – heard that lifestyle developments are being managed by district councils, in particular, as they review district plans and adopt plan changes with new provisions which restrict rural subdivision.

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Wising up

Live work play

A Waikato Regional Council spatial support tool is being used by Future Proof to help identify and evaluate how the sub-region should grow and what infrastructure will be needed and where.

The $2 million Government-funded Waikato Integrated Scenario Explorer (WISE) was developed with the regional council between 2006 and 2010 by a multi-disciplinary team of experts, including economists, demographers, scientists and planners and international best technical modelling practise.

Its purpose is to link economic, population, land use and environmental information to provide an integrated model to simulate the future and assist spatial planning. Drivers of change – such as economic growth, exports, population and climate – can be altered and the effects and trade-offs of alternative future development scenarios or the consequences of policy options assessed.

The regional council has further tested and improved the models over the last couple of years and completed a number of case studies to demonstrate its usefulness.

The regional council is now working with Future Proof partners and the NZ Transport Agency to develop population and economic projections for the sub-region, based on the 2013 census results as well as the best available knowledge on the future of Waikato’s economy.

The results of the work are expected to be available in August, and will be used by Future Proof’s partner councils in the development of their 10 year plans to be released next year for public comment.

Results will also inform updates to the Waikato regional transport model, which is used to decide the level of future investment needed for the region’s roads, public transport, road safety initiatives and walking and cycling.

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Structure plans will support growth in Tuakau and Ngaruawahia

Tuakau workshop
Tuakau workshop

Ngaruawahia
The Point, Ngaruawahia

A lot of work is underway in Tuakau and Ngaruawahia with the development of a structure plan for each of the towns.

Tuakau is a strategic industrial node in the Future Proof Growth and Development Strategy. As an integral part of the Waikato district, its close proximity to Auckland and its housing price attractiveness means large growth is expected in this area.

The Waikato District Council has identified the need for appropriate infrastructure to support this growth and the structure plan will see land use and infrastructure planning being undertaken in an integrated manner to ensure environmental sustainability. 

Following a public open day in March 2014, a draft concept plan for the Tuakau town centre and greater Tuakau area was produced. Technical reports have now been commissioned and a draft structure plan is expected to be ready by October 2014 for public consultation. 

Another town in Future Proof’s settlement pattern is Ngaruawahia. The development of the Ngaruawahia Structure Plan (including its surrounding areas) is progressing well with more public consultation scheduled for June.

A preliminary scoping report for Ngaruawahia was presented to the Waikato District Council in September 2013. Since then public open days have been held and technical reports commissioned. Council will continue to engage with community committees, local iwi and other stakeholders in June to inform the development of the structure plan.  

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Next Southern Links milestone due to be reached

Waikato River
Waikato River

The next milestone in the Southern Links project is reached on 21 July when the hearing gets underway for the proposed route designation or “footprint” and associated resource consents.

Close to 90 submissions were received for the NZ Transport Agency and Hamilton City Council’s 32km southern roading network which would link the west of Hamilton with the Waikato Expressway through the Peacocke growth area south of the city and Waikato River.

Commissioners for Waikato Regional, Waipa District, Hamilton City and Waikato District councils will consider evidence and views from written submissions, as well as hearing from those sharing their views in person.

A range of individuals and groups have made submissions, including property owners directly affected, those close to the proposed route designation, interest groups, and businesses and organisations impacted on. Their positions vary from full support through to total opposition, with many in support or neutral subject to certain conditions.

Recommendations from the independent commissioners on the proposed designation and any mitigating conditions, to address dust, noise, vibration, ecology, cultural aspects for example, are expected by September.

Transport Agency Highway Manager Kaye Clark is pleased to see the next stage of the long term project reached.

“While we are at least 10 years away from any work starting on Southern Links, and no funding has been secured for the project, it is vital to reach agreement on where it will be and what it will look like. We want to protect the preferred route via this designation process, and also give certainty to those living in the area so they know the route’s broad footprint.

“Southern Links is all about having well connected state highway and urban arterial routes to the west and south of Hamilton which enable economic growth, reduce travel times, improve road safety, and move people and freight more efficiently.”

The Southern Links proposal also gives effect to a Future Proof strategy action which identifies the importance of “early protection of regionally significant transport corridors”.

More information:

www.waipadc.govt.nz/hamiltonsouthernlinks

www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/HamiltonSouthernLinks

southernlinks "at" aecom.com

0508 STHNLINK (0508 7846 5465)

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