Plans for the urbanisation of Whenuapai as a model for sustainable greenfield development have been approved.
“As our first future urban zone development we have the opportunity to create something special for Auckland and set the tone for the city’s growth under our new Unitary Plan rules,” said Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, chair of the Auckland Development Committee.
The Whenuapai Structure Plan sets out how the rural countryside can be turned into a thriving community of 8000-10,000 dwellings and 7000 jobs over the next five to 20 years.
The structure plan was open to public comment and amended to take account of feedback which highlighted a need to:
- protect the natural environment including the sensitive Waitemata Harbour coast
- provide open spaces and recreational areas
- ensure adequate infrastructure including waste water, storm water, schools, community facilities, roading and public transport.
Auckland has an immediate need for housing to rent or purchase at various price levels. Living and working locally with well-connected community facilities and social infrastructure reduces the need for peak-time journeys across the city.
Initiatives which could be explored for Whenuapai include having a range of housing choices, locating homes close to transport, and encouraging quality dwellings that exceed environmental minimums and are usable for people of all ages.
“The area would benefit more from some higher residential densities enabling a community where people can both live and work. This would include a mix of terrace housing and apartments as well as standalone homes, coupled with a large area of business development,” said the deputy mayor.
Whenuapai is also home to the country’s largest military airbase and any future development has to ensure that surrounding areas take account of its footprint and operating requirements.
The next step is to prepare a plan change to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan Decisions Version to change the current Future Urban Zone to appropriate urban zones.
During the plan change process there will be opportunities for residents and other stakeholders to have their say.
The deputy mayor acknowledged the contribution of elected representatives involved in the development of the plan, Councillors Linda Cooper, Wayne Walker, and John Watson, Local Board members Lisa Whyte, Brenda Steele, Vanessa Neeson, and Independent Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox.
The full Whenuapai Structure Plan will be available on the council’s website next month. A public event to hear more of the process will also be arranged.