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Submissions open on updated growth 'blueprint' for Waikato

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A blueprint for growth and development in Hamilton and the Waipa and Waikato districts over the next 30 years has been released for public feedback.

Known as the "settlement pattern", it is the cornerstone of the Draft Future Proof Strategy adopted by the Future Proof Implementation Committee (FPIC). The committee comprises mayors, the chair and councillors from Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton city, Waikato and Waipa district councils, as well as tāngata whenua and NZ Transport Agency representatives.

The existing strategy - launched in 2009 by Kiingi Tuheitia and Prime Minister John Key - has been updated to include the northern Waikato. It identifies the existing and future location of residential and business land in the sub-region, and also considers the mix of land use, transportation and other infrastructure in an integrated manner.

FPIC independent chair Bill Wasley said: "The preferred settlement pattern remains a more compact and concentrated urban form over time. This is critical given the population of the sub-region is projected to double within the next 50 years.

"We want to reduce dependence on cars and encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transport. To achieve this, Future Proof aims to increase densities in new residential development and encourage more intensive redevelopment of some existing urban areas."

Future Proof provides a robust framework to manage growth while addressing complex planning issues, including cross-boundary issues such as a growth in freight, constraints in the road and rail networks and pressures on land use (particularly industrial land).

"These have implications for land use infrastructure and funding, as well as putting pressure on key resources, especially in northern Waikato and in particular in Tuakau and Pokeno," Mr Wasley said.

The Future Proof strategy is being updated in two phases. The first phase just released has a narrower focus on growth management and settlement pattern implementation, leaving wider strategic matters to the Waikato Plan. It also picks up on Future Proof’s role in supporting implementation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.

The second phase to be carried out in 2018-19 will more directly address the requirements of the national direction on urban development, and other new legislation, policies or strategies.

The full Future Proof Strategy and summary are available at Submissions close on July 21, with hearings due to be held in August. The final strategy is due to be adopted by the end of this year.

The implementation of Future Proof is an ongoing process that will continue to be addressed as part of the partners’ own programmes, plans and strategies. Partners will continue to engage and involve government and non-government agencies, the private sector and the wider community.

The Future Proof partners have a vision that in 30 years, the sub-region will:

- have diverse and vibrant centres strongly tied to distinctive, thriving towns and rural communities

- be the place of choice for those looking for opportunities to live, work, play, invest and visit

- be the place where natural environments, landscapes and heritage are protected and a healthy Waikato River is at the heart of the region’s identity

- have productive partnerships within its communities, including tāngata whenua

- have affordable and sustainable infrastructure

- have sustainable resource use.

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