Our community has experienced rapid growth over the past decade and it does not appear to be slowing down.
Developers have their eye on this place and who can blame them, it’s an amazing place to live. The aim is to maintain the positive aspects of our township, our identity as a place and as community.
With some very large game changing concepts sitting in the eaves waiting on Resource Consents (RC) and the upcoming Proposed District Plan (PDP) hearing process to begin.
Our development up until now has been opportunistic to say the least, with a lack of clear direction many opportunities to improve infrastructure and community wellbeing has been lost. We are a township of cul-de-sacs, gated communities and private sanctuaries. With the majority of our water front properties in private ownership access to the coast is becoming an issue of equity. The way in which our more urban areas are developing lack connectivity laneways, cycleways and connecting through roads. We are all experiencing the resulting traffic congestion. It’s not surprising that during the extensive community engagement by Our Kerikeri a few years back that TRAFFIC topped the list of issues community wished to see resolved.
What do we do?
We desperately need spatial planning and master planning in order to give pragmatic, empathetic and creative guidance to community, council and investors.
Spatial planning is crucial in a rapidly growing township because it helps ensure that the growth is sustainable and meets community needs. Reasons why spatial planning is important in a rapidly growing township are:
Managing infrastructure: As a township grows, it needs adequate infrastructure to support the needs of its residents, such as roads, water supply, sewage systems, and public transportation. Spatial planning can help to identify the areas that need infrastructure development, prioritise investments, and ensure infrastructure is built in the most efficient and effective manner.
Managing land use: In a growing township, there is often pressure to develop land for housing, commercial, and industrial purposes. Spatial planning can help manage the allocation of land uses to ensure that there is enough land for each purpose, and that development is done in a way that is sustainable and respectful of the environment.
Managing community facilities: As a township grows, it needs to provide community facilities such as parks, schools, and healthcare centres to meet the needs of its residents. Spatial planning can help to identify the areas where these facilities are needed most, and ensure that they are located in areas that are accessible and convenient for residents.
Managing environmental risks: Rapid growth can lead to environmental risks such as pollution, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. Spatial planning can help to identify areas where these risks are most significant and develop strategies to mitigate them.
Overall, spatial planning is essential for managing the growth of a township in a way that is sustainable, equitable, and responsive to the needs of the community.
Vision Kerikeri has been fighting hard for this work for decades. The 2007 Kerikeri-Waipapa Structure Plan was a glimmer of hope back in 2007 when it was adopted by Council. Structure Plans do not have legal status or statutory effect without ongoing Plan Changes, and incorporation into future council policy, and objectives etc to capture its elements. None of these things ever happened. It needed a relationship manager to ensure that Council actually captured the outcomes within its business. Nothing ever seems to happen at the pace we would like but in teaming up with Our Kerikeri we have made progress.
The spatial planning process began last year with development of a foundation document which pulls together relevant existing information about our geography, our people, our existing state of infrastructure, our identity, demographics and more.
This document has been held back by council but is due to be released for public consultation this coming month. Please give your input.
We have also been involved in developing a cycling strategy for Kerikeri Waipapa. A group of passionate community members have been feeding into a NRC and FNDC cycling strategy. We have been providing on the ground knowledge and vision to prioritise and improve safety, connectivity and access to alternative mode transportation.
With this strategy nearing completion you can access this work through FNDC interactive maps - be patient with the maps as they take a few seconds to fully load.
With the cycling strategy near completion we now have a plan recognised by FNDC which enables us to push relevant information out to council staff in their review of resource consent applications to ensure that as development takes place these vital connections are considered and enabled through the resource consent application process and negotiations with developers for development contributions. We have also begun discussions with DOC regarding key connections for urban and recreational cycling through DOC managed land.
The new Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has seen funding go toward road widening for Hone Heke Road. With shared paths for cycling and walking plus a roundabout at the Hone Heke road Cobham road intersection. Laneways connections for cycling and/or walking have also been funded. The shortlist is as follows with the final list dependant on cost analysis of design and community support. In no particular order, these are:
Hone Heke Road
Charlotte Kemp Drive / General Gates Avenue
Finally, we are in discussions with council and Far North Holding s regarding Masterplans for Kerikeri and Waipapa CBD’s which are most feeling the impact of growth. Thus we need greater urgency to develop a clear direction including roading infrastructure to improve congestion and enable people rather than vehicle domination of our public spaces with the CBDs. We will know if these will be funded within the next few months and if they do go ahead significant community input will be sought.
Masterplans for cities or towns are important for several reasons, particularly in the context of a rapidly growing community. Here are some of the key reasons:
Provides a vision for the future: A masterplan provides a long-term vision for the future of a city or town. It outlines the goals and objectives for the community, and identifies the strategies and actions needed to achieve them. Having a clear vision helps to guide decision-making, prioritise investments, and ensure that the community is moving in a cohesive direction.
Guides development: A masterplan guides the development of a city or town by identifying areas that are suitable for growth and the types of development that are appropriate there. This helps ensure that development is done in a way that is sustainable, efficient, and responsive to community needs.
Promotes efficiency: A masterplan can promote efficiency by identifying areas for development that can be serviced by existing infrastructure, reducing the need for expensive new infrastructure. It can also help to reduce conflicts between different land uses by designating areas for specific uses, such as residential, commercial, or industrial.
Encourages public participation: A masterplan is typically developed with input from the community through public meetings, workshops, and surveys. This helps to ensure that the plan reflects the needs and priorities of the community and that there is broad support for the plan's implementation.
Provides a framework for decision-making: A masterplan provides a framework for decision-making by establishing a set of goals, objectives, and strategies. This helps to guide decision-making on issues such as land use, infrastructure investments, and environmental protection, ensuring that decisions are consistent with the overall vision for the community.
A masterplan is an important tool for managing growth and development in a way that is sustainable, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the community.
You are probably left wondering what is the difference between a Masterplan and a Spatial Plan?
Although there is some overlap between masterplans and spatial plans, they are different planning documents that serve different purposes. Here are some of the key differences.:
Scope: A masterplan typically covers a broader area than a spatial plan. Masterplans may cover an entire city or region, while spatial plans may focus on a specific neighbourhood or district.
Level of Detail: Masterplans tend to be more high-level and strategic, while spatial plans are more detailed and operational. Masterplans establish overall goals and objectives for the community and provide a framework for decision-making, while spatial plans focus on specific land uses, infrastructure, and design elements.
Timeframe: Masterplans tend to have a longer timeframe than spatial plans. Masterplans may cover 10 to 20 years or more, while spatial plans may cover a shorter period, such as 5 to 10 years.
Stakeholder involvement: Both masterplans and spatial plans typically involve input from stakeholders, but the level of involvement may differ. Masterplans often involve more extensive public engagement, while spatial plans may be developed with input from a smaller group of stakeholders.
Purpose: The purpose of a masterplan is to provide an overall vision and framework for the community's growth and development, while the purpose of a spatial plan is to provide a more detailed plan for specific areas or projects.
Both masterplans and spatial plans are important planning tools, but serve different purposes and cover different levels of detail. Masterplans are broader in scope and cover a longer timeframe, while spatial plans are more focused and operational in nature.
We will need to ensure that the Kerikeri/Waipapa Spatial Plan and Masterplan will become statutory documents that carry legal weight to avoid repeating the failure of the Structure Plan, waste huge effort and cost by all parties, or to join other Kerikeri plans over the years sitting on a bookshelf.
We will keep you informed as these work streams progress.
I’ll leave you with this…
The root of the words Hope and Change are inextricably linked. Here’s to positive, proactive grassroots Change and the Hope that it brings for our future.