December 2015

In this issue:

   

‘Three waters’ one area of focus in strategy update

Hamilton

Future Proof partners are looking at where people are going to settle in the sub-region as part of an update of the Future Proof Strategy.

The update is taking stock of the changes in the Hamilton, Waikato and Waipa sub-region since the strategy’s launch by Prime Minister John Key in 2009.

Since March this year, a project plan for the update has been developed and the partner councils have kicked off work that will feed into the update. Among an increasing number of issues the update will look to address in the sub-region are the significant pressures of Auckland’s growth being felt in north Waikato in particular.

Information will also help guide decisions on the future management of infrastructure and services for the sub-region, including the possible establishment of a council-controlled organisation to run water services on behalf of Hamilton city, Waikato and Waipa district councils.

To avoid getting ahead of the partners, the strategy update has been slowed to allow the partners sufficient time to carry out their work, and to incorporate emerging issues.

A draft updated strategy is now expected to be complete by August 2016 and released for public feedback in early 2017.  

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High-level plan for the Southern Growth Corridor

Peacocke

A plan to better understand and manage the growth of an area on the southern side of Hamilton, between Hamilton and the airport, has now been finalised.

The Southern Growth Corridor Strategic Land Use and Infrastructure Plan (SLIP) identifies key land use and infrastructure challenges, and key findings in the form of options, approaches and solutions.

Last year the Future Proof partners signed an agreement to develop a plan to better understand and manage land use, as well as essential services such as water, waste water, stormwater and transport, in the Southern Growth Corridor. See the November 2014 issue for a story on the agreement.

The parties to the SLIP include the NZ Transport Agency, Waipa District, Hamilton City, Waikato District and Waikato Regional councils.

The Southern Growth Corridor area is located on the southern boundaries of Hamilton City and Waikato District, and where they join with Waipa District. The Corridor includes six areas – Hamilton Airport, Tamahere, the Peacocke Structure Plan area, Rukuhia, other rural residential areas, and the rural environment. The areas are connected by State highways 3 and 21, and the designation for the Southern Links project.

Challenges such as infrastructure affordability, wastewater servicing, sustained pressure for rural residential development, and stormwater catchment management were identified for the six areas.

The nature of these challenges makes it difficult to resolve these in a coordinated way to the benefit of the whole ‘southern growth area’. It was determined that none of these findings could be managed collaboratively by the parties at this time.

However, an agreed approach was determined for the transport network along State Highways 3 and 21. This will form the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the parties. The MOU is expected to be completed early next year.

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Working with Auckland to address cross-boundary issues

Two Future Proof partners have joined a multi-agency project looking at transport priorities for Auckland over the next 30 years.

The decision was made following an October meeting of Waikato District and Waikato Regional Council, with the Mayor of Auckland Council and senior staff from the council and Auckland Transport to discuss cross-boundary issues, particularly land use and transport.

During the meeting it was agreed there was a need for dedicated and joined up thinking around these issues, and the two Waikato councils were invited to join a 12 month project called the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

The project is looking at agreed transport priorities for the next 30 years and involves Auckland Council, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury, State Services and Auckland Transport.

A Waikato-based technical working group has been set up to support ATAP and this month a report produced by Waikato Regional Council was provided to the ATAP Stakeholder Group.

“Waikato needs transport and land use planning and investment in Auckland to be effective, not just for Auckland but also for the Waikato and upper North Island,” said Greg Morton, from the Waikato Regional Council.

“By including the adjacent Waikato region in the planning and investment context for ATAP, better integrated and coordinated outcomes will be achieved and will further help support Waikato, the upper North Island and New Zealand to achieve agreed identified economic development priorities,” he said.

The report said settlement patterns and impacts from rapid population growth must be managed effectively and consistently across the Waikato-Auckland boundary given the geographical interdependencies such as transport infrastructure networks and supporting public transport services while ensuring mutually desired land use and transport benefits are met.

The report also identified that there are growth management and economic development challenges and opportunities that require working together with central government.

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Work on Hamilton section of expressway begins in 2016

The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway will start construction in spring next year.

The 21.8 kilometre long Hamilton section will be built by a group made up of Fletcher, Beca, Higgins and Coffey (FBHC), in an alliance with the Transport Agency.

Along with confirming the contractor the Transport Agency has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with project partners, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waikato Tainui confirming each organisation’s role in ensuring good connections to the Expressway.

The Future Proof partners have worked together with the Transport Agency over a number of years to ensure the planned connections are well aligned with the Future Proof settlement pattern, and will support safe and efficient access to and from key growth areas including Rototuna, Ruakura and Tamahere.

The proposed design for the section includes five interchanges, 17 bridges and new connecting roads at Ruakura Road and Resolution Drive which support growth on to north and east of Hamilton city.

The Transport Agency’s Hamilton highways manager, Kaye Clark says the Hamilton section is the final piece of the Waikato Expressway puzzle.

“The Hamilton section is the biggest roading project in Waikato’s history - a $973 million stretch of road that will make a real difference to safety and efficiency when it opens in 2020.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the project is important to growth and development in Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.

“We have been waiting in anticipation for completion of the Hamilton section of the Expressway and it’s great to have this work now locked in. It is a fantastic project that will deliver considerable value to Hamilton’s economy and lifestyle.”

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says: “Early on we saw the advantages the Expressway provided to open up and support new development in the district and region.  It is attracting exciting businesses, innovative people and also providing lifestyle opportunities for our towns with less heavy traffic running through them.”

The Hamilton section will connect with the Ngaruawahia section in the north and will join the Tamahere interchange to the south, which provides a link to the Cambridge section of the expressway which will open to traffic in December.

Completion of the Waikato Expressway is an action identified in the Future Proof strategy, and is a key assumption underpinning the success of the settlement pattern. The Expressway is scheduled to be complete in 2020 when both the Hamilton and Huntly sections are finished.

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Tangata whenua cross-boundary representative appointed

Given the challenges of northern Waikato and southern Auckland cross-boundary issues, Future Proof has been fortunate to appoint Lucie Rutherfurd to advise our Technical Implementation Group and Water Policy Group as we move into updating the Future Proof Strategy.

Lucie has been the environmental technical officer for Ngati Tamaoho for the past five years. She has lived and worked in the Franklin and Awhitu district all her life, as have her children, parents and grandparents.

Lucie is a conservationist and an advocate for sustainable development, while ensuring the protection of our cultural heritage, natural surroundings, and rural environment. She is particularly passionate about water quality.

Her background includes an extensive history in local government from 1998 to 2007, including community board and council. She has also been a Resource Management Act hearings commissioner, which means she has a good understanding of many of the processes the updated Future Proof Strategy will go through as part of implementation.

Her understanding of the issues and the challenges facing rural and urban communities will be of significant benefit to Future Proof during the strategy update.

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