Residents check prison plans
More than 50 members of the public took advantage of the Department of Corrections’ two public consultation events in Waipa at the end of November to find out more about the proposal to expand Waikeria Prison.
The department has also directly consulted with occupants of 25 neighbouring properties.
On hand from the department were Waikeria Prison director Kevin Smith, prison capacity programme director Andrew Robertson, RMA and stakeholder lead Craig Erskine, plus support staff.
Feedback generally indicates the public is positive about the proposal, with some localised issues raised.
These included the possible effects of increased traffic, the night-time lighting of the site, effects on the landscape and wastewater treatment.
Mr Robertson says the department will now take that community feedback into the examination of those and other issues associated with the proposed development, in order to fully understand and address them.
Already they plan to upgrade the intersection of Waikeria Rd and SH3, will use new technologies to mitigate light pollution and to specify nonreflective materials and natural colours for buildings.
Mr Robertson says the consultation meetings aren’t the last chance for public input.
Between now and February next year Corrections will go back to a number of residents with updated information.
By March the new information will be used to formulate and lodge a formal application, which will be open for public submissions.
Waikeria Prison CEO Kevin Smith discusses the prison expansion project with members of the public at last Wednesday’s consultation evening in Te Awamutu.