Wednesday, May 22, 2024

30-year plan for Waikato growth

Residents, businesses, land owners and young people across the Waikato are being urged to have their say on an updated 30-year growth management strategy.

Future Proof is a 30-year growth plan for the Hamilton, Waipā and Waikato sub-region. The plan, which first emerged in 2009, has now been updated by an extended group of partners including central government.

Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate said the updated strategy indicates that in Hamilton, at least 50% of growth will be through regeneration of existing parts of the city.

“The Future Proof strategy very clearly reflects what government is directing growth cities like Hamilton to do. We have a national housing crisis and change is needed if we are to provide different types of housing to meet different lifestyles. That includes more affordable housing and not just in the city,” Southgate said.

“Another thing that comes through very clearly is the step-change needed in the provision of public transport over the long-term. That is not just in terms of supporting connected communities, but also in terms of carbon reduction.”

“Planning across boundaries is important and it’s pleasing to know government has acknowledged Future Proof as a very good example of that.”

Waikato District Council, Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council, Waikato Regional Council, tangata whenua, central government partners, and Tāmaki Makaurau partners (iwi and Auckland Council) will release the updated version on Monday (4 October).

It will take into account the growing importance of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan and the rapidly-growing Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area, providing a planning blueprint for the wider region.

It also factors in key government initiatives such as the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda, with both initiatives to have a strong focus on housing.

Bill Wasley, the independent chair of the Future Proof Implementation Committee, said the updated draft strategy is a model for local government, iwi and government agencies to work collaboratively and ensure growth is well-planned.

“This is beyond territorial boundaries. In a planning sense, we simply can’t think like that anymore. It’s about actively collaborating to determine how we want the wider region to develop and grow,” he said.

“This strategy provides a framework to manage growth in a staged and coordinated way and to address complex, cross-boundary planning, infrastructure and environmental issues.”

Developers, residents, businesses and young people need to know what Future Proof is proposing and provide their feedback, he said.

“The work we have done shows there is more than enough land in the wider region for development; land is not the problem. The challenge is servicing that land and providing infrastructure in an affordable way so land can be developed to provide different types of housing, including far more affordable housing.”

“To get well functioning settlements in places where we most need them, we need to take a wide range of issues into account, including the health of the Waikato River, climate change, transport links and community services,” he said.

“We can’t just keep allowing greenfield developments; our communities and our environment can’t afford it. So this updated strategy is proposing a number of changes to drive growth to where we most need it,” Mr Wasley said.

The strategy sets out a settlement pattern for how and where growth will occur in the sub-region. It has been updated to reflect the latest development demand and supply figures which indicates there is plenty of suburban land to meet demand. It also includes criteria to help determine out-of-sequence or unanticipated development.

Feedback on the updated Future Proof strategy is open until 12 November with public hearings likely to be held in December. Those wishing to make a submission should go to futureproof.org.nz.

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