Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Existing Growth Problems Should Inform 30 Year Planning

I attended the last of the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy public meetings in Kumeu this week. Among other things, council is asking for comment on whether the idea of planning 30 years into the future is a good idea, and whether this sequence is right. It’s really one of those “what would like for Christmas” questions. Where do you start….

There was solid interest. Around 90 locals packed the hall along with 8 local board members (from 4 different local board areas), 4 councillors, 1 Maori Statutory Board member and around a dozen or more council staff. They were focusing on two of the five mains future urban areas identified: Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead and Whenuapai/Redhills (and the future didn’t look quite so bright for some).

Kumeu

In my group, the key issue was with the current SHA work already underway in some of these areas. People were concerned about what they saw as the not well considered impact of this new housing on the existing area (traffic, schooling etc). There was a bit of a theme of “before-you-start-planning-for-thirty-years-can-you-sort-out-what’s-happening-now’.

Others are wary of the impact the change will have on adjacent areas where they currently live with, for example, 9,600 new homes planned for Whenuapai by 2021. The need to establish this new housing around new town or local centres (with business and schooling etc) was another theme – rather than just adding housing which would see residents then have to join the transport system to locate ammenties.

In the summary report back, there are clearly some who want to speed up the growth that’s coming – and those who are nervous about it. This is not unexpected. But the SHA developments we have underway are a terrific opportunity to put into practice some of the theory about good planning which council is seeking feedback on.

If you haven’t had a chance to feedback, submissions are open until close of business next Monday 17 August via: www.shapeauckland.co.nz. Send through some pictures if you can of any current problems :)


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