Welcome news: Warkworth is finally getting its structure plan. This was voted through at the Council Planning Committee meeting of 1 August, with support from Councillor Sayers. This is something that I and my colleagues campaigned on, so I’m delighted that Auckland Council planners, with a little pressure in the form of the community-led spatial planning group, and supported by us, have agreed to bring structure planning forward – not just for Warkworth North as originally planned for the 2018-19 financial year, but for all of Warkworth. The planning will commence this year. This has meant reprioritising Council’s budget and liaising extensively with other internal and external agencies, such as Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency, Watercare, Ministry of Education and others, to have them all agree to fit this into their work programmes.
This will involve further public consultation but is something the community has been asking for, for quite some time. I hope everyone will get involved. The completion of a structure plan will not change the staged release of land under the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy – where the bulk of the land to the south of Warkworth won’t be development ready until 2028 – but it will ensure infrastructure requirements have been planned and budgeted for.
Meanwhile, the Draft Local Board Plan received a record number of submissions, more than 1500, with most of our proposed priorities being convincingly supported. We are still working our way through the submissions and have some detailed analysis yet to do, but all going well the Local Board Plan (LBP) will be approved in September. With the adoption of the LBP, we will have set the direction for priorities for the Local Board for the remainder of the term.
There has been a bit of discussion on social media about “the pool” for Warkworth. In the Local Board Plan feedback there were mixed views on how a public-private partnership with a pool operator might work – some respondents preferring it to be largely user-pays, others wanting to rate all residents so that more people have access to affordable swimming lessons and therapy. The Local Board will be using this feedback to continue negotiations with private providers and work on the next steps to provide access to swimming facilities for local residents.
Now that we are in a new financial year, the immediate focus of the board is to start delivering on our Annual Plan. We are already formulating a process to identify high priority at-risk waterways for our environmental initiative, focusing on improving waterways that feed our harbours. The Puhoi-Pakiri Greenways Plan was adopted in June, so we can now start identifying priority routes that are ready for the next stage of feasibility and design. There is opportunity to look at both quick wins and longer term projects with this important initiative to connect our growing communities.
Beth Houlbrooke, Rodney Local Board