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Whangaroa Maori Call For Better Planning To Manage Challenges From Unprecedented Local Growth

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Whangaroa Maori are calling for better Far North District Council planning to deal with their local area's unprecedented growth.

They say lack of council planning for fast-growing settlements in their district is causing problems for the communities’ infrastructure.

“We are in a period of significant growth that’s seriously impacting settlements including Taupo Bay, Whangaroa village, Te Ngaire and Totara North,” Eljohn (SUBS: correct) Fitzgerald, a member of Te Ukaipo - Te Runanga o Whaingaroa’s (SUBS: correct) environmental unit, said.

“What’s glaringly missing is an overall plan and programme to provide the infrastructure and services to keep pace with this growth,” Fitzgerald told a recent Far North District Council (FNDC) meeting.

The council was allowing it to happen without adequate planning, he said.

“Council statistics on the number of resource consents for new developments across Whangaroa will confirm we are in a period of significant growth that’s seriously impacting council services, existing infrastructure and the natural environment.”

There was an immediate and ongoing need for the council to put resources into planning for what was already significant development.

Ongoing subdivisions and new builds were at various development stages across Whangaroa.

Fitzgerald said FNDC had failed in its infrastructure planning for Kerikeri’s growth. This had led to problems for the town that had yet to be solved.

Te Runanga o Whaingaroa did not want to see a local repeat.

“We have no appetite for something similar to happen in our communities,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the council should ensure its next long term plan addressed future local growth.

“Good future planning is needed and is paramount to our survival, the Covid-19 lockdown has shown that.”

Fitzgerald and Stephen Rush, Te Ukaipo chair, made their call in a deputation to FNDC’s online June 25 council meeting.

He said there were many environmental issues facing the district’s land and seascapes.

Te Runanga o Whaingaroa had a ‘Future Whangaroa’ plan addressing these along with sustainable employment, commercial enterprise and advancing future growth.

It wanted to work with FNDC leading into developing its next long term plan.

The ‘Future Whangaroa’ plan would work with organisations including Whangaroa Community Trust, New Zealand Transport Authority, Northland Regional Council and Department of Conservation around pest eradication, planting natives, improved waste management, better sewerage and greywater processing and discharge practices, riparian planting and waterways recovery.

John Carter, FNDC Mayor said the runanga’s call was timely as it came at the same time as the council starting work on updating its long term planning and reviewing its district plan.

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