Pu­taruru re­sponds to meet hous­ing de­mand

A look at what’s made head­lines this week in Waikato com­mu­nity news­pa­pers.

Waikato Times Weekend - - AROUND THE REGION -

Pu­taruru is set to get 1300 new sec­tions in a ma­jor re­zon­ing ex­er­cise that vastly in­creases the size of the town.

The Pu­taruru Growth Plan is in re­sponse to a dra­matic change in for­tunes for the small Waikato town with pop­u­la­tion growth now pos­i­tive af­ter al­most 20 years of de­cline.

Sev­eral ru­ral ar­eas ad­ja­cent to the town would be re­zoned into a com­bi­na­tion of res­i­den­tial, ru­ral­res­i­den­tial and busi­ness zones, if the plan is ap­proved by the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil.

The town is un­der pres­sure from those flee­ing high prop­erty prices in the larger ur­ban cen­tres. Hamil­ton and Tauranga are both within an hour’s drive. The re­zon­ing is an at­tempt to cater to the de­mand for af­ford­able hous­ing and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Sta­tis­tics New Zealand and In­fo­met­rics es­ti­mate the South Waikato dis­trict’s pop­u­la­tion has grown by 1.3 per cent over the year to June, 2017. This re­verses a trend of pop­u­la­tion de­cline that has av­er­aged 0.2 per cent, per an­num, since 2000.

The plan pro­poses ar­eas for re­zon­ing in the Maple Drive and To­tara St vicin­ity, Overdale Rd, an area ad­ja­cent to Thorn­ton St and Alexan­dra Cres, an area ad­ja­cent to Ara­puni Rd, Golf St, and Lich­field Rd, and an area in the Shol­son St and Ruru Cr vicin­ity. In to­tal more than 130ha could be re­zoned.

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Group man­ager Sam Marshall said 1300 new sec­tions would be on of­fer to help com­bat the town’s hous­ing short­fall.

‘‘This is a dis­trict that has suf­fered sig­nif­i­cant de­cline and a loss of pop­u­la­tion and a loss of jobs, es­sen­tially for at least 20 years. The rea­son we are now do­ing some growth plan­ning is be­cause we are now see­ing some changes in that trend,’’ he said.

He said pop­u­la­tion growth in the area was now on par with the thriv­ing Mata­mata Pi­ako Dis­trict.

‘‘From around 2013 to 2016 we have been trending in a very sim­i­lar way to the Mata­mata Pi­ako Dis­trict,’’ he said.

‘‘Over the last cou­ple of years we have seen hous­ing sale num­bers triple so this is one in­di­ca­tor among many show­ing the in­creased level of de­mand from people com­ing and buy­ing houses in the dis­trict.’’

He said for the coun­cil to achieve its ob­jec­tive of growth for Pu­taruru it was es­sen­tial that ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture was in place.

‘‘I of­ten talk about hous­ing [work­ing in con­junc­tion with the] op­por­tu­nity to build a busi­ness. If you’re want­ing to bring people to live and work here it is ac­tu­ally re­ally crit­i­cal, you can not re­ally have one with­out the other,’’ he said.

He said the next step would be for the coun­cil to for­mally adopt the plan which would re­quire use of the Re­source Man­age­ment Act process for a Dis­trict Plan change.

Months of com­mu­nity and landowner con­sul­ta­tion, in part­ner­ship with Pride in Pu­taruru and Pu­taruru Mov­ing For­ward, has re­sulted in the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil putting to­gether the Pu­taruru Growth Plan.

South Waikato News

Sugar-free pol­icy push

Coun­cils around the coun­try are be­ing asked to con­sider a pol­icy which could re­move sug­ar­sweet­ened drinks from pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties, events and work­places.

But Mata­mata-Pi­ako Mayor Jan Barnes said tak­ing away the right for people to choose was not some­thing her coun­cil would sup­port.

The coun­cil dis­cussed the mat­ter at its meet­ing re­cently and de­cided not to back the pol­icy, which would also be de­bated at the Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand AGM this month.

Ac­cord­ing to an LGNZ re­port, sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages are one of the lead­ing con­trib­u­tors of sugar to the di­ets of New Zealan­ders.

There is a grow­ing aware­ness of the con­nec­tion be­tween sugar and health-re­lated con­di­tions such as obe­sity, poor den­tal health and type-2 di­a­betes.

Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil has been asked to de­velop a pol­icy on sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages. It could in­volve a sugar-free drink haven within coun­cil fa­cil­i­ties and coun­cil-run events.

It is sup­ported by six other coun­cils around the coun­try.

The LGNZ re­port said coun­cils were well po­si­tioned to in­flu­ence the health be­hav­iour of staff, elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and vis­i­tors.

Coun­cils could also model good health be­hav­iour for their com­mu­ni­ties, or set an ex­am­ple, through the de­vel­op­ment of a sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­age pol­icy.

But Barnes said it was clear her coun­cil­lors did not want to take away the free will of people.

‘‘It’s some­thing we want to work on, a pol­icy for what we do have at coun­cil-con­trolled fa­cil­i­ties.

‘‘But we felt it was up to the pa­trons choice if they chose to have, say, a can of Coke.

‘‘We will not be com­ing down heavy handed on this.

‘‘Are we go­ing to play the po­lice on this? And that’s how I will vote at the [lo­cal govern­ment] an­nual con­fer­ence.’’

In 2013 Nel­son Marl­bor­ough Dis­trict Health Board be­came the first health board in the coun­try to im­ple­ment a pol­icy which limited sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages.

Nel­son City Coun­cil sup­ported the ini­tia­tive through its own sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­age pol­icy.

The sug­gested course of ac­tion is that Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand pro­vides a tem­plate and guide­lines to help coun­cils de­velop their own poli­cies.

There was no over­all lo­cal govern­ment pol­icy or po­si­tion on the mat­ter.

Mata­mata Chron­i­cle

Cam­bridge char­ac­ter

Time is run­ning out for people to have their say on strate­gies to protect the au­then­tic­ity of Cam­bridge.

The re­gion’s coun­cils have joined forces to write a strat­egy to man­age the im­pact of growth, par­tic­u­larly pop­u­la­tion, in the Waikato.

It was called the Fu­ture Growth strat­egy, a man­age­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion plan.

Spe­cific to the Hamil­ton, Waipa and the Waikato sub-re­gions, it looks at how to man­age fu­ture ur­ban growth in a col­lec­tive way.

Waipa up­dated its own growth strat­egy based on avail­able fig­ures in­di­cat­ing a sig­nif­i­cant rise in pop­u­la­tion.

Those fig­ures showed 80 per cent of growth will be within ur­ban ar­eas: 45 per cent in Cam­bridge, 35 per cent in Te Awa­mutu/Ki­hik­ihi, 10 per cent in ru­ral vil­lages and 10 per cent in the ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

The in­crease and speed in growth presents a chal­lenge to coun­cil to main­tain the char­ac­ter of Cam­bridge.

The Cam­bridge Com­mu­nity Board is ad­dress­ing the is­sue with the yet to be re­leased char­ter doc­u­ment, which will serve as a blue­print for main­tain­ing the town’s char­ac­ter.

Board chair­man Mike Pet­tit said the char­ter looks at keep­ing ‘‘a vil­lage within a larger vil­lage prin­ci­ple as the town grows’’.

‘‘Things we’re look­ing at, are the in­fra­struc­ture el­e­ments needed for sub­di­vi­sions to work for its res­i­dents.’’

Some will be manda­tory he said, while others will be ini­ti­ated so­cially, de­pen­dent upon the makeup of res­i­dents liv­ing there.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, if the makeup of res­i­dents is el­derly, should the sub­di­vi­sion’s green space have play­ground equip­ment or other fur­ni­ture suit­able for res­i­dents?’’ he said.

An­other item on the strate­gies agenda re­lates to trans­port needs and ac­cess.

Pet­tit con­firmed a third river cross­ing re­mains on the coun­cil’s ta­ble as a se­ri­ous op­tion.

‘‘It comes down to cost and who will pay at this stage. New Zealand Trans­port Agency doesn’t have the ap­petite for fund­ing.’’

The de­vel­op­ment of Cam­bridge be­com­ing a com­mer­cial cen­tre is cru­cial which in turn ad­dresses fu­ture em­ploy­ment is­sues.

Hous­ing is a pri­or­ity for the Waipa coun­cil which has brought for­ward the re­lease of the C2 hous­ing block, en­cour­ag­ing a va­ri­ety of hous­ing and sec­tion sizes.

The strat­egy also ad­dresses how far Cam­bridge’s ur­ban bound­ary is per­mit­ted to sprawl into pro­duc­tive ru­ral land.

Sub­mis­sions can be made on­line at fu­ture­proof.org.nz/page/ 101

A meet­ing of Cam­bridge Com­mu­nity Board is planned to take place prior to the clo­sure of sub­mis­sions on July 21.

Cam­bridge Edi­tion

More and more people are choos­ing to live in Pu­taruru as house prices soar in Hamil­ton and Tauranga.

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