But region-wide endorsement of growth plan essentially in place
Regional politicians had their last big pre-election chance yesterday to set Auckland on a certain growth pattern, but ended the day with a confused message.
Council staffs and politicians have been working steadily through the processes of sector agreements — Auckland City on its own with the central sector agreement, but with recognition of some cross-boundary issues; Manukau City, Papakura and Franklin Districts with the southern sector agreement; North Shore and Waitakere Cities and Rodney District with the north-west sector agreement.
Two of the agreements were not complete yesterday, though there is general agreement on direction.
Rodney mayor John Law said the new council elected in April was filled with new ideas and not in a position to sign the north-west agreement.
Southerners mostly agreed
The southern sector agreement is mostly agreed, but there were changes yesterday to one aspect, concerning the urbanisation of Hingaia, across the Southern Motorway from Papakura.
Papakura District Council wanted the whole of the Hingaia Peninsula’s 684ha turned over to greenfields urbanisation, with the metropolitan urban limit placed around the perimeter now. But the Regional Growth Forum — conforming to the non-sprawl ethic — told Papakura at the last forum meeting, in June, it should come back with a staged proposal to allow for 5000 more people in the first 20 years and 10,000 over 50 years.
Three Hingaia stage 1 zones
That first stage, zoned rural now, covers 318ha and would be turned into three new zones:
Mixed use 1 zone, establishing a business and neighbourhood centre on the north side of Hingaia Rd, with residential accommodation also contemplated.
Residential 9 zone, allowing interim subdivision to 1ha lots for the existing Karaka Park lifestyle blocks. This area is intended as a future intensification zone. Subdivision density has not been determined for the lifestyle block area, but the council has projected another 1000 people could be fitted in if development takes lots down to 3000mÂ².
Residential 10 zone, the likely prevailing zone for the peninsula. It will provide for generally lower-density residential development, while allowing for pockets of comprehensive medium-density housing.Curtis warns the staging process mightn’t work
Of the rest, about 90ha is not available for development because it’s been earmarked for sewage treatment, business development south of Park Estate Rd, education purposes at Strathallan College, the Karaka bloodstock centre or is already zoned urban (Towai).
Papakura planner Dave Pentz said that, assuming a density of 10 dwellings:ha and 2.98 people:dwelling on the remaining 247ha available for residential development, another 7000 people could be fitted on the peninsula’s later development areas.
That possible 12,000 total in the first 20 years is still well short of the explosion in Manukau, between Howick and Wiri, where homes for 60,000 new residents are expected to be completed in only nine years.
The forum’s chairman for the day, Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis, warned that rising land values through urbanisation would mean the lifestyle block area wouldn’t remain that way for long, and there would be a clamour for rezoning.
“Your intentions, while laudable, may be defeated at the early stage by the escalation,” he said.
The Fletcher line
That clamouring, in fact, occurred before the forum’s eyes: Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher (right) sought (and was granted) speaking rights as an ordinary member of the public, representing her parents, Ted & Shirley Lees, who live on Pararekau Island, one of two small islands at the outlet of Drury Creek into the Pahurehure Inlet which are connected by a causeway to the north side of the peninsula.
Mrs Fletcher’s emotional address contained frequent accusations of process not being followed, from the plan arising from the charrette consultations to the staged development which took stage 1 urbanisation to the northern coastline –but left out the two islands.
They were supposed to have been included and it would be unfair on these elderly people (her parents) to have to wait.
The argument was incomplete: it seemed to be a case of inequality in ability to collect a windfall through land price inflation as Hingaia was zoned urban, and therefore an argument in favour of personal aggrandisement over planning sense. That seemed a most unusual argument to be run by a city mayor but, boiled down to eliminate the emotion, claptrap and unsubstantiated allegations, that’s what it was.
Mrs Fletcher was partly mollified by an additional recommendation from Papakura forum member Allan Bell, that environmental impact reports be prepared on the islands so they might be included in stage 1.
Another addition to the tabled recommendations, however, shows the testiness of people asked to give up territorial rights for the greater good. The Papakura contingent agreed to endorse the Hingaia staging, subject to consultation with neighbours Franklin and Manukau — but not subject to those councils’ endorsing the staging.
After some sweet-talking from Sir Barry, the Papakura contingent agreed. But this moment out of unison shows people still want to run their own affairs locally, that the common good is fine so long as control doesn’t move out of the district.
Law rejects any notion of northern conflict
“It’s inevitable that when you get a new council you get new ideas. So we’re not in a position to sign on 5 September,” he said.
“But it’s my view that the Rodney District Council will embrace growth, and to a greater extent than is put forward in the growth agreement. The new council has a number of new policies it’s promoting within the council chambers. Workshops and meetings have taken up hundreds of hours — we’re nearly ready to come forward.”
He said the Rodney councillors would have a workshop on 20 September where he would outline the growth programme. “Whether we’re in a position to sign off on 13 October I don’t know. We’re going to embrace growth. It’s the way we do it that’s the question.”
The outcome, now, is that the forum endorsed the north-west growth agreement, subject to Rodney returning and signing off its component.