Unitary Plan Civic Forum Workshop – October 2012

As a member of the People’s Panel, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Unitary Plan Civic Forum workshop arranged by Auckland Council.

Approx 300 members of the People’s Panel were invited to attend, and the turnout rate was just over 100.

The focus of the workshop – which was held in two sessions – was to determine what people valued about Auckland, and what the focus of the unitary plan could and should be.

The first session was held on Tuesday 23 October, in the Town Hall for 1.5 hours, as a preliminary introduction to those attending about the relationship between the aspirational Auckland Plan – and the legislative Unitary Plan. The Unitary Plan – is the amalgamation of all the separate District Plans inherited from the District Councils. There is a balancing act required to bring all the plans in line – while also recognising the inherent differences and distinctive characters of different Auckland communities – including Franklin, and of course, Patumahoe & Mauku.

Part of this introduction included the following video:

The follow up six-hour workshop was held on the following Saturday 27 October 2012. Groups of approx ten people were matched up with Auckland Council staff- including planners – and a staff member recorded the discusssions. Each discussion topic was preceded by a video or slideshow and then the groups shared ideas and opinions.

The draft Unitary plan is still being compiled, and will be released for Public consultation next year – 2013.

This plan is one of the biggest changes in terms of impact on what you can and cannot do on your property, so keep an eye out for notifications and opportunities to have your say.

The Auckland Council website has a lot of information available online.

Also, you can find a review of the Unitary Plan Civic forum itself, as well as a (now closed for comment) online forum.

Patumahoe specific information:

If you have viewed the video above, you will have an idea of the growth figures that Auckland Council is working with.  Unfortunately due to the cancellation of the 2011 census, extrapolation figures are based on the 2006 data and accordingly are subject to some dispute – but that aside – the following considerations are being made:

Approx 40% of the expected growth is to be accommodated in currently rural areas of Auckland, and for Franklin this means an expected growth figure of 55,000 new dwellings along with planning for business growth of up to 35,000 jobs (Data: Southern Rural Urban Boundary – Auckland Council).

While the RUB – Rural Urban Boundary focuses on Pukekohe as a satellite town, growth for Patumahoe as a rural village has been once again reiterated in the Auckland Plan – following on from the Franklin District Council growth strategy and the Auckland Regional Council growth direction.

The rural village designation in the Auckland Plan is defined as following:

“Serviced Rural and Coastal Villages

These are small rural settlements of varying sizes (from 100 to 5,000 people) with close connections to their rural or natural surroundings, but which are not a focus for significant growth. They are centres for rural residents and provide for village living, dormitory residential, holiday and retirement living to varying degrees, and in some cases serve visitors with lowkey service and tourist development. Significant growth in sensitive natural settings, locations with poor accessibility and insufficient, unaffordable or problematic service infrastructure will be avoided. A critical constraint is the capacity to deal with wastewater in an acceptable way, with the associated costs of servicing borne by land developers, and avoiding concentrations of on-site systems likely to degrade water quality in receiving environments. Therefore, villages where adequate service capacity can be provided have potential for well-planned growth on a locally appropriate scale that enhances their qualities.”

While rural towns and settlements will be automatically included in the spatial planning that will be provided to Franklin by the Auckland Council planning process, as a rural village – Patumahoe is not yet included in the planning programme, while still being included in the planned growth.

What can you do?

  1. Join the Auckland Council People’s Panel – and respond on issues of personal priority by online survey
  2. Send opinion pieces and items of interest to us here for publishing
  3. Came along to a PVI meeting and have your say.

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