June 2016

In this issue:

 

Sub-region’s settlement pattern under the microscope

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Future Proof partners are taking a closer look at where people are projected to settle in the sub-region as part of an update of the strategy.

The ‘settlement pattern’ is being updated using the 2013 Census population projections.

Indications are that the Waipa district and Hamilton settlement patterns will remain either the same or similar. But with the inclusion of the former Franklin district, there are some changes to the Waikato district.

The partners are also working collaboratively to draft changes to the Future Proof Strategy, which was first launched in 2009. However, the bones of the original strategy, including the guiding principles, are remaining the same.

An approximate timeline for the update is shown below. The next big milestone is August 2016, when the updated draft strategy will be presented to the Future Proof Implementation Committee.

However, expectations of Future Proof partner councils included in the recently released draft National Policy Statement for Urban Development may result in a need to review this timeline.

To find out more about the update of the strategy, read stories from the April 2015 and December 2015 newsletters.

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Regional Policy Statement gets full green light

Regional Policy Statement cover

Six years after it was first notified for public consultation, the Proposed Waikato Regional Policy Statement (RPS) has become fully operative.

The move came in a unanimous vote by councillors at a Waikato Regional Council meeting in late April 2016. From 20 May, the full provisions of the RPS became operative.

For the first time the RPS includes a section on the ‘built environment’. This provides the overall framework for implementing the Future Proof Strategy. It identifies all the major growth areas across the Future Proof sub-region and clearly specifies how all the residential and industrial land is to be distributed.

For key Future Proof partners, such as the NZ Transport Agency, the RPS also provides a higher level of certainty that the investments they might make will deliver on the outcomes desired by the Future Proof sub-region.

Regional council chairperson Paula Southgate said: “Looking after the health of our environment is especially important and, like me, the people of the Waikato have an amazing passion for it.

“The RPS provides certainty with a clear policy stance on how we manage our natural resources across the region in an integrated way.”

The document, a long term planning tool, sets the overall direction for the integrated management and protection of the region’s natural and physical resources. In line with the council’s priorities, it promotes a collaborative and holistic approach to resource management.

“Importantly, the RPS will help the regional, city and district councils decide what needs to be done to keep and enhance the environmental conditions that drive our economy and provide us with the quality of life our region currently enjoys,” said Cr Southgate. 

The ability for the RPS to become fully operative follows the resolution of 37 appeals to the Environment Court against the provisions of a “decisions” version released in 2012.

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$278 million upgrade for State Highway 2

SH2

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The NZ Transport Agency Board has approved plans for a major upgrade of State Highway 2 (SH2) between the Waikato and Coromandel that is estimated to cost $278 million.

The Transport Agency will begin work this year on the design, consents and property purchase for a long-term overhaul of the road that will significantly improve safety and travel time predictability for travellers.

Construction of the upgrade will be carried out in five stages over several years to match funding availability, with work to progress from west near Pokeno out to the east in Mangatarata.

The Transport Agency’s Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson says the 32 kilometre long stretch of road will have three lanes, with two lanes for traffic heading west towards Auckland.

“This investment is the start of a major upgrade that will make a real difference to the local community, the freight industry and for people travelling north after a weekend on the Coromandel,” Mr Wilson says.

“Along with the extra lane, new underpasses and bridges that separate state highway and local roads will be built, a new roundabout constructed and median and side barriers installed to help reduce the impact of crashes.

“While these changes will not be built overnight, the Government has a vision for SH2 and the staged investment allows us to get planning on the big picture straight away so we are ready to build as funding becomes available,” Mr Wilson says.

Construction is expected to get underway in the 2018-2021 National Land Transport Programme period and the work will be future-proofed, enabling the road to become four lanes if needed.

For more information visit www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/maramaruahighway

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