City’s grow­ing pains eas­ing

Hamilton News - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Row­land

Hamil­ton City Coun­cil is tak­ing a stronger and fresher ap­proach to man­ag­ing Hamil­ton’s big­gest 10-year bud­get, which is planned to de­liver mil­lions of dol­lars of sav­ings while devel­op­ing the city over the next decade.

In June, the Coun­cil signed off a new 10-year plan, which in­cludes a record $2 bil­lion in­vest­ment in roads, water and waste­water ser­vices, parks and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

Af­ter the bud­get was adopted, city chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Briggs ini­ti­ated a re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of the coun­cil’s city in­fras­truc­ture group, split­ting it into two sec­tions: a de­vel­op­ment group, fo­cus­ing on cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture across all ar­eas of the coun­cil, and an in­fras­truc­ture op­er­a­tions group fo­cus­ing on de­liv­er­ing and main­tain­ing essen­tial ser­vices.

“Our cap­i­tal pro­gramme in­cludes build­ing new roads, a new bridge over the Waikato River, new reser­voirs and new com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing play­grounds, parks, and a Ro­to­tuna com­mu­nity hub, in­clud­ing a li­brary,” Mr Briggs said.

“With sig­nif­i­cant growth in Hamil­ton the in­fras­truc­ture op­er­a­tions group has a crit­i­cal role to pro­vide for the health of our com­mu­ni­ties through high qual­ity water, waste­water and stormwa­ter ser­vices, rub­bish and re­cy­cling and to en­sure safety and ac­ces­si­bil­ity for all trans­port modes.”

The de­vel­op­ment group is headed by Chris Allen, for­mer GM of city in­fras­truc­ture. Eeva-li­isa Wright has been ap­pointed GM of in­fras­truc­ture op­er­a­tions.

Mrs Wright was for­merly group busi­ness man­ager for city in­fras­truc­ture and has held a va­ri­ety of se­nior tech­ni­cal in­fras­truc­ture roles with the coun­cil since 2008, par­tic­u­larly in water man­age­ment.

“This new way of do­ing busi­ness can de­liver our $2 bil­lion cap­i­tal pro­gramme around 9 per cent cheaper, sav­ing $30 mil­lion in in­ter­est, $15 mil­lion in de­pre­ci­a­tion and $143 mil­lion in debt over the next 10 years,” Mr Briggs said.

On Tues­day at the coun­cil’s monthly growth and in­fras­truc­ture meet­ing, coun­cil­lors dis­cussed sev­eral as­pects of the city’s growth, in­clud­ing the Am­ber­field de­vel­op­ment in Pea­cocke, an up­date on pro­posed Hamil­ton to Auck­land rail ser­vice and CBD growth.

A de­tailed look into the Am­ber­field de­vel­op­ment was pre­sented with the 105ha site hav­ing a range of ter­raced, dou­ble-storey dwellings, plus

stand-alone houses on 700squ m sec­tions.

Am­ber­field is the first ma­jor sub­di­vi­sion in the new Pea­cocke south­ern sub­urb, which will be funded with a $290.4m in­ter­est­free Gov­ern­ment loan and sub­sidy pack­age that coun­cil agreed to ac­cept as part of its 10-year plan.

Am­ber­field could house more than 2000 peo­ple and would cre­ate about 862 res­i­den­tial lots on the west­ern bank of the Waikato River.

Hamil­ton cen­tral busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion also briefed Coun­cil on an up­ward trend of growth in the CBD. The suc­cess of Vic­to­ria on the River, while the com­ple­tion of the Gen­e­sis build­ing near the bus sta­tion were some of the pos­i­tives.

The lat­est quar­terly data shows a 2.7 per cent in­crease in spend­ing in the CBD.

Coun­cil­lors com­mented that it will be a good time to break the mes­sage that the CBD is dy­ing when the data shows it is on an up­ward trend.

Coun­cil­lors were also told that good progress has been made on the start-up Hamil­ton-auck­land train ser­vice and the NZ Trans­port Agency ap­proval of the de­tailed Busi­ness Case is ex­pected at the NZ Trans­port Agency Board meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 5.

It fol­lowed the an­nounce­ment of the $16.9b land trans­port in­vest­ment from Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment, which in­cludes fund­ing for the Waikato Expressway and the new rail ser­vice.

A change of two of the coun­cils task forces were also con­firmed, with coun­cil­lor Mark Bunt­ing tak­ing up the role of chair of the Ac­cess Hamil­ton task­force and Siggi Henry re­plac­ing him as chair of the waste min­imi­sa­tion task­force.

This new way of do­ing busi­ness can de­liver our $2 bil­lion cap­i­tal pro­gramme around 9 per cent cheaper ... Eeva-li­isa Wright Gen­eral man­ager in­fras­truc­ture op­er­a­tions

Images / Hamil­ton City Coun­cil

The planned Am­ber­field sub­di­vi­sion in the new Pea­cocke sub­urb on the west bank of the Waikato River. The ex­ist­ing Pea­cockes Road is in the top right of the draw­ing.

Homes in Am­ber­field would range from ter­raced to dou­ble-storey dwellings plus stand­alone houses on 700 sq m sec­tions.

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