Major earthworks for a light industrial and residential development in Mangawhai kicked off last month, but the developer remains tight-lipped about what the final development might look like.
It’s anticipated the $200 million development known as Mangawhai Central, located between Mangawhai Village and the heads, will comprise a town square, supermarket, hardware store, petrol station, retail shops and light industrial buildings. Other possibilities include recreational facilities, a school, retirement accommodation, a hotel and a medical centre.
However, developer Viranda declined to offer more details when approached by Mahurangi Matters.
Group projects manager Brandon Morley said Viranda did not feel it necessary to comment further at this stage.
“For a development of this size and complexity, this will be a long process and we will be in a position to offer more information and announcements later in 2019,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith, who attended the breaking-ground ceremony, said the development would be transformative for Mangawhai as a town and as a destination.
“It’s big, bold and I expect it to be beautiful, too,” he said.
“The layout of Mangawhai Central is even shaped like a stingray – the symbol of Mangawahi – so it’s a very local-flavoured development from the ground up.”
Dr Smith said late last year Kaipara District Council (KDC) decided to employ extra staff to work on planning aspects of the project.
He said sensitive areas like wetlands and the connection between land and sea along the coastal esplanade would need to be planned with caution.
He added that KDC had been working closely with Mangawhai Central and the community on road developments, and people should expect to see roundabouts to keep traffic flowing, rather than traffic lights.
“Even when Mangawhai Central is up and running, with thousands of traffic movements per day, it’s expected we will still have no traffic lights in Kaipara District,” he said.
Mangawhai Business Association chair Richard Gunson says there is general optimism in the business community that Mangawhai Central will be good for Mangawhai.
He said existing grocers and petrol stations would face more competition, but other businesses would be able to take advantage of additional commercial space and this additional space will encourage still more businesses to come into the area.
“Mangawhai is a growing area. We could certainly do with a cabinet-maker here and an aluminium joinery business for the amount of building work that is going on,” he said.
Mr Gunson said he did not think the development would change the character of Mangawhai.
“They are not on the waterfront or anything like that. They are between the village and the heads. I think the village will retain its seaside village feel,” he said.
KDC public affairs officer Ben Hope said so far the Council had not received consent applications for features such as retirement accommodation, a hotel, medical centre or recreational facilities.
He said the ability of the public to comment on any such proposals would depend on the type of application submitted and would be subject to the statutory guidelines specified in the Resource Management Act.