Stu­dents take on ur­ban devel­op­ment

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Tom Row­land

Tack­ling the devel­op­ment of Hamil­ton is not just a task for city coun­cil­lors. Ro­to­tuna High School stu­dents are also learn­ing how to de­velop an em­pire.

Stu­dents Mia Wil­son, Jimmy Craw­ford and Luka Rigter pre­sented a sub­mis­sion on be­half of the school dur­ing the city coun­cil 10-year plan hear­ings as part of their Ur­ban Em­pire course at school.

The Ur­ban Em­pire course re­quires stu­dents to look at new ar­eas of Hamil­ton like Pea­cocke and Ro­tokauri and an­a­lyse and work on dif­fer­ent as­pects such as trans­porta­tion and com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture.

Thomas Red­ing, who is one of the teach­ers of the course, said the stu­dents are put in con­trol of a plan to im­prove that sub­urb.

“Our hope is we might be able to get back be­fore the coun­cil and the stu­dents will be able to pitch their own ideas to Hamil­ton’s growth,” Mr Red­ing said.

“It’s not just about look­ing at the in­fra­struc­ture in a sub­urb but get­ting the stu­dents to look at well­ness of com­mu­nity and what makes it.”

The stu­dents were part of dif­fer­ent groups look­ing at the new ar­eas of growth, Mia looked at Pea­cockes and Jimmy looked at Ro­tokauri.

“I think the city needs to be bal­anced when it comes to grow­ing, cur­rently we are spread­ing far north when it comes to Ro­to­tuna so both Pea­cocke and Ro­tokauri are good op­tions,” Mia said.

The stu­dents are aware of the fi­nan­cial bur­den they could be in­her­it­ing in the fu­ture with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ing a 10-year in­ter­est free loan to­wards Pea­cocke.

They un­der­stand that growth is in­evitable, but would like coun­cil­lors to con­sider all de­mo­graph­ics in the 10-year plan.

The two stu­dents both said coun­cil­lors need to think about fu­ture growth when de­vel­op­ing Hamil­ton and as keen cy­clists, used cy­cle lanes in Hamil­ton as an ex­am­ple.

“I think cy­cling was sort of an af­ter thought. Like they said ‘oh wow cy­cling is a thing’ so they just added cy­cling lanes to roads that can’t ac­com­mo­date them in­stead of build­ing roads with enough space for cy­cling lanes to be in­cluded,” Jimmy said.

Cen­drine Pfis­ter, a teacher of the course, agreed and said Hamil­ton is de­vel­op­ing so quickly that the coun­cil­lors do need to think ahead.

“Hamil­ton is ex­plod­ing so quickly, they are just build­ing to house ev­ery­one and they are not re­ally think­ing about the com­mu­nity and things that might be miss­ing. I think Ro­to­tuna is a very good ex­am­ple of that,” Ms Pfis­ter said.

“There is no sense of com­mu­nity, you don’t know your neigh­bours and you don’t come to­gether as a com­mu­nity. There is noth­ing here draw­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether.

“Ro­to­tuna grew so quickly and now we are only just notic­ing the prob­lems now, the fact that Thomas Rd, you are in traf­fic no mat­ter what time of the day and there is no com­mu­nity cen­tre, just houses.”

Mia said the lack of com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture in Ro­to­tuna makes it dif­fi­cult to have things to do out­side of the house.

“We can’t ex­actly go and hang out at the su­per­mar­kets,” Mia said.

The stu­dents said the coun­cil­lors seem to be dis­con­nected from youth at times and may ben­e­fit from their per­spec­tive.

“They are quite dis­con­nected about what has been hap­pen­ing in other places around New Zealand where a lot of the places have the in­fra­struc­ture older kids need,” Jimmy said.

“A lot of the stuff they are plan­ning is more di­rect to adults or chil­dren, like the new play­grounds, but they don’t re­ally think about those in be­tween,” Mia said.

The stu­dents said the com­mu­nity hub is a step in the right di­rec­tion for the sub­urb.

“The two ideas for the hub will be ben­e­fi­cial for our school and com­mu­nity, the pool and the li­brary,” Mia said.

Mr Red­ing said the stu­dents have been in­volved in de­vel­op­ing their own pieces of com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture at the school which in­cludes a play­ground and a bike track.

“This school has a his­tory of giv­ing back to the wider com­mu­nity and we would like to be in­volved as much as we can be.”

Photo / Tom Row­land

Ro­to­tuna High School stu­dents Mia Wil­son and Jimmy Craw­ford spoke at Hamil­ton City Coun­cil’s 10-year plan hear­ings.

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