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Shaping the future of Waitārere Beach

Horowhenua District Council is inviting residents of Waitārere Beach to help shape the future of their community.

Council officers will be at Waitārere Domain from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 18 January to talk to members of the community about the draft Waitārere Beach Community Plan and the draft Waitārere Beach Master Plan.

Strategic Planner Katrina Gray says the event follows engagement with the community in July last year, when Council asked people who live, own property or often visit Waitārere Beach for their ideas and views on what’s important to them about their community.

“We used the feedback we got to create the draft Community Plan. Now we’re taking the draft back to the community to make sure we’re on the right track,” she said.

While the Community Plan and the Master Plan will both guide the community’s future, they focus on different things.

The Community Plan highlights the community’s goals and aspirations. It sets out a vision: ‘Waitārere Beach is a safe, friendly settlement that has a relaxed beach character and lifestyle with a diverse population who know each other’. It also identifies values, and four priorities with actions attached. Priorities and actions include:

• recognising the character and sense of community that make Waitārere Beach special – including supporting local businesses, community groups, initiatives and events; sharing information about local groups and services; a new Surf Lifesaving Club building; investigating options for a community hub; and proactive planning for growth

• the beach, dunes and waterways – including increasing understanding of the local ecosystem; keeping the beach clean; dune planting, awareness and preservation; and investigating options for the co-management of the foreshore with iwi

• outdoor recreation – including Waitārere Domain improvements; shared pathways; promoting the safe use of vehicles on the beach; and future parks and reserves

• infrastructure that meets community needs – including reticulated water supply feasibility study; seating; and more street lights.

“More than 300 members of the community, as well as 120 children from Poroutawhao School, contributed ideas and views to help us create the Community Plan. People told us they love the character of Waitārere Beach and how friendly and connected it is. The draft Community Plan reflects that feedback,” said Ms Gray.

The draft Waitārere Beach Master Plan is a guide for where new houses will be built in future and what new housing developments will look like. Developed with input from landowners, iwi, and independent technical experts, the Master Plan identifies section sizes, where new roads and shared pathways should go, how many parks will be needed and where they should go.

“Waitārere Beach is growing and we expect this growth to continue. While it won’t happen overnight, it’s important that we plan ahead,” Ms Gray said.

“We want to give people an opportunity to help shape what growth will look like. The community has told us that the character of Waitārere Beach is important. To check we understand what people want the growth areas of Waitārere Beach to look like, we’ll show the community different pictures of what future developments could be like and see what they prefer.”

Those unable to attend the engagement event can provide feedback via Horowhenua District Council’s website at www.horowhenua.govt.nz/waitarerebeachcommunityplan from 18 January until the engagement period closes on 14 February.

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