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Committee Puts Communities At The Heart Of Growth

Collaboration, partnerships, potential new funding options, and a desire to ensure future growth takes a ‘whole-of-community’ approach were key themes at today’s Hamilton City Council Strategic Growth Committee Meeting.

Cr Dave Macpherson, Chair of the Committee, highlighted the range of regional strategic planning already underway, as Hamilton takes a leading role in development of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan, the Hamilton-Waikato-Waipa Metro Spatial Plan and the associated Mass Transit and Three Waters studies.

The overall aim of the various plans is to ensure a joined-up, regional approach to growth, one which looks at how communities and councils can get better results by working together.

“We know our people live, work and play across territorial boundaries. As we continue to see strong economic and population growth in Hamilton and the wider region, it’s critical that we work together with our neighbours, central government and funders to get far better long-term results than we ever would in isolation,” Cr Macpherson says.

“At the same time we have to realise that growth really isn’t about pipes or houses, it’s about people, and making sure the people who live here have the community assets to support social interaction, places to play and places to relax with their families.”

Cr Macpherson said development of business cases for growth needs to be wider than the infrastructure to enable housing – it needs to consider all aspects of what truly makes a community.

That theme was echoed during discussions around a potential new funding option to support growth.

Hamilton could be one of the first to benefit from the new funding tool designed to reduce the costs of growth for existing ratepayers, open new growth areas sooner, and ultimately create more affordable housing.

The new tool enables non-Council funding to be provided by a separate organisation, paying towards the new infrastructure and repaid by the property owners who benefit from that infrastructure. These repayments are made by a long-term annual levy on the properties.

The approach offers Councils another way to fund the infrastructure needed to enable new homes, alongside ‘traditional’ growth funding via development contributions, rates and government subsidies.

Government legislation enabling the Infrastructure Funding and Financing tool is progressing through a Select Committee process and at the same time Hamilton City Council is evaluating whether the tool can assist growth costs, initially in Peacocke and Rotokauri.

At today’s meeting Councillors were given a progress update, noting a project team has been established to develop a feasibility study and business case so the Council can decide whether to use the tool should legislation be implemented.

The Committee also received an update on the city’s Peacocke programme, staff noting the programme remains on track and running to schedule.

Procurement processes for a new bridge across the Waikato River and other lead network infrastructure is progressing and a contract has been awarded for a new SH3/Ohaupo Rd intersection.

Current pre-application discussions and consenting and construction activity total approximately 2300 homes, which is approximately 60% of the projected 10-year developer uptake of 3,750 homes in Peacocke.

The Committee also approved draft submissions relating to national transport policies, ahead of the proposed 2021-30 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, which will be released for engagement early this year. The policy statement will set out the Government’s strategic direction for the land transport system over the next 10 years and provide funding levels for land transport, establish funding ranges for different activities and identify the results government expects from the investment.

For the full agenda, reports and minutes, go to www.hamilton.govt.nz/agendas

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