November 2014

 In this issue:

     

We have a number of stories in this issue which show how implementation of the settlement pattern in the Future Proof Strategy is being anchored through various statutory processes.

Agreement signed on southern growth corridor


Click to view larger image.

An agreement has been signed by the Future Proof partners to develop a plan to manage the growth of an area on the southern side of Hamilton, between Hamilton city and the airport.

This area has been identified for significant future growth and the agreement ensures essential services – such as water, waste water, stormwater and transport – have been planned for.

It also enables the NZ Transport Agency to implement improvements to state highways 3 and 21, so their efficiency is not compromised by future urban growth.

The agreement includes areas such as the airport and surrounding land, as well as Tamahere, Peacocke and other rural villages and rural residential development. [See attached map.]

There are a number of different land owners in the area and agreement to develop this plan has been a major milestone which will provide certainty for future growth implementation, said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

The Southern Growth Corridor Heads of Agreement has been signed by Waikato Regional Council Hamilton City Council, Waikato and Waipa district councils, and the NZ Transport Agency.

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The RPS is “almost there”

Waikato Regional Council’s Proposed Regional Policy Statement (RPS) is now close to having all appeals resolved, and is therefore another step closer to becoming operative.

Of particular note is that matters relating to the built environment and the interests of the Future Proof partnership have been resolved through negotiations amongst all parties involved. 

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

The decisions of a hearings committee were released in November 2012, two years after public comment was first sought on the proposed RPS, with 37 appeals subsequently lodged.

Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine, said: “While the appeal process to the Proposed RPS started with a significant range of issues, it is to the credit of the regional council as well as all of the parties involved that the differing points of view have been catered for - to the point where there have been no Environment Court hearings on any of the matters of interest to Future Proof.”

The end result is a Future Proof settlement pattern that is anchored in a statutory document, and which provides certainty and direction for resource users and decision makers as to how the sub-region is to develop in a planned and coordinated manner.

It is anticipated that the remaining appeals will be resolved by the end of 2014, with a view to making the RPS operative in early 2015.

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Plan for Tuakau nears completion

The development of the Tuakau Structure Plan is near completion, with Waikato District Council getting feedback from the community on a draft plan presented at a recent public open day.

The final plan will take into account all feedback received from the community, stakeholders and elected members and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Once completed, the council’s district plan will be reviewed to include the implementation of the Tuakau Structure Plan.

The 30-year structure plan looks at the vision for future development of Tuakau and managing expected growth. Key topics identified in the plan are the layout of land uses, vital infrastructure, transport links and parks and open spaces.

The final plan will be available on Waikato District Council’s website.

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The Ruakura decision

A Government-appointed Board of Inquiry has approved a significant private plan change which will see an area of land at Ruakura rezoned from rural to a business park and residential land.

The Board of Inquiry’s report on the 700-hectare Ruakura development by Tainui Group Holdings Ltd was released last month and approves the plan change request with amendments.

“This is a significant decision since it implements a major part of the Future Proof settlement pattern, which has been on the books since 2011,” said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

“The decision in September provides certainty for development of a significant area of land of considerable economic benefit to Hamilton, the wider Waikato and the upper North Island.

“It also now allows Hamilton City Council to anchor the decision into the Proposed Hamilton District Plan and provides incentives for those responsible for infrastructure to negotiate its timely delivery,” he said.

Mr Tremaine said the proposed development is adjacent to the Waikato Expressway, which will be completed in 2019, and will also be able to take advantage of the existing East Coast Main Trunk railway line.

The decision can be found here.

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Improved Expressway connections at Hamilton

Ruakura interchange
Click to view larger image.

Improved connectivity between the Waikato Expressway and local roads via the Ruakura Interchange to take account of proposed development in the area is the driver for the Transport Agency’s request to alter the designation for this part of the Hamilton section.

The change is to take account of Hamilton City Council’s Ruakura Structure Plan and anticipated industrial development, including Tainui Group Holdings’ proposed inland port.

Submission on the Notice of Requirements (NOR) for the change to designation closed on 22 October, and if required a hearing will be held late this year. Future Proof has lodged a submission in support of the designation.

The proposed change to the designation will allow direct links from areas anticipated for development and the Expressway, close part of the existing Ruakura Road either side of the Expressway, and create a link to State Highway 26 via the relocated and upgraded Ruakura Road. 

The alteration sees the widening of existing designations to accommodate a full diamond interchange at Ruakura, connecting roundabouts and a stormwater wetland.

If the NoRs are confirmed and the Ruakura Interchange is able to be constructed, then the currently designated north facing ramps at State Highway 26 Morrinsville Road would no longer be needed.

View details of the NORs here.

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Hamilton's Proposed District Plan review decisions

The proposed Hamilton District Plan has reached the next stage in its development, after decisions were released on a number of submissions in July.

Forty-five appeals were lodged with the Environment Court and mediation is expected to commence before the end of 2014.

Future Proof’s submissions on the plan’s framework and major approaches to land use zoning were either accepted or accepted in part.

Future Proof has also lodged a number notices to become a party to Environment Court appeals because, if they were granted, it is Future Proof's opinion that they could unravel key strategies and policies of the District Plan.

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Where is the Future Proof project currently at?

It’s been a busy year for the Future Proof partnership – and we’re not done yet! Most of our efforts during 2014 have focused on:

  • anchoring the Future Proof settlement pattern through statutory processes such as the Waikato Regional Policy Statement and district plans for Hamilton city and Waipa district
  • providing evidence to the Ruakura Board of Inquiry and various plan changes
  • completing the monitoring of the Future Proof Strategy actions
  • initiating research to look at such things as the land use and infrastructure plan for the ‘Southern Growth Corridor’, and ensuring there is adequate water available from the Waikato River to cater for urban growth until 2061
  • assembling all the data to complete the monitoring of how effective the strategy has been in achieving its objectives since it was launched in 2009
  • ongoing work on the potential impact of Auckland’s growth on the northern Waikato, as well as Waikato corridor and cross-boundary issues
  • ensuring demographic analysis can be confidently used by the Future Proof partners
  • providing input into the Draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which is due to be released on Friday 7 November for public comment, to achieve policy alignment.

While the partnership has been deeply involved in strategy implementation, we have also kept a close eye on:

  • the emerging work of the Waikato Mayoral Forum, especially the Waikato Spatial Plan in order not to duplicate effort
  • how the update of the existing Future Proof settlement pattern is managed in 2015.

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