People who attended the Warkworth Area Liaison Group meeting on July 6 were given an opportunity to participate in a public engagement exercise that will be used to draft the Warkworth Town Centre Plan.
The exercise was run by Community Think, the organisation that has been given the Rodney Local Board contract to deliver the plan, along with Motu Design.
The plan will set the direction for the development of the area and will guide future decisions on place-making projects, public spaces, accessibility and connectivity projects, land use and community projects in and around the town centre and riverfront.
It will also demonstrate more sustainable and collaborative ways of designing and developing the town centre to private investors, businesses, council and the wider community.
However, before that happens, a range of community engagement events are planned, starting with a Festival of Ideas being held at the Masonic Hall on August 7, from 2pm to 5pm.
Lead facilitator Cissy Rock said people would be asked to share their ideas across six themes – play, getting around town, the river, green spaces, meeting up and wellbeing.
“These are to whet people’s appetite to have a conversation around what they want for Warkworth,” Vanessa Cole, also from Community Think, said.
Rock says the plan will be both an aspirational document that articulates what an attractive, people-centred, sustainable and inclusive Warkworth would look like, as well as a practical spatial urban design plan that sets out the pathways to achieving this.
“Council has been developing centre plans for different parts of the city for a number of years now, with the most recent one in Rodney being the Kumeū-Huapai Centre Plan in 2017,” Rock says.
“While the Warkworth plan will be similar in scope, it is going to be a bespoke plan. It will reflect a high level of local community input and it is being developed in collaboration with Ngāti Manuhiri, so it will be unique to Warkworth.
“Council has developed a new framework this year that provides guidance on how to create thriving town centres that address contemporary challenges, Eke Panuku Thriving Town Centres Guidelines (April 2022).
“These guidelines consolidate the wealth of experience and lessons learned from the regeneration of Auckland’s town centres over recent years with market realities and best practice – indigenous, local and international. We will be following the principles and approach outlined in this document.”
At the liaison group meeting, participants split into small groups to answer questions, such as what was working well in Warkworth’s green space and what could be changed? Some of the answers included improving signage at short cuts, linking The Grange to the showgrounds, tidying up under the old bridge and better use of the lower fields at the Shoesmith Domain.
To the question, ‘what do you imagine for Warkworth in 2050?’, people answered that they wanted safe walking spaces, a more pedestrian-friendly town and vibrant commercials centres.
A draft plan is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
For more information: http://warkworthcentreplan.thinkport.nz/