The Unitary Plan
The Southern Rural Urban Boundary
I have been meaning to get this up this morning but the perennial issue called Auckland Transport has being cropping up again.
So the Unitary Plan is out for informal feedback from Auckland and we have central government sticking its nose in our affairs when it should learn to butt out. Commentary on the Unitary thus far has been rather weak on the actual issues at hand: the rules, the zones, the RUB, the infrastructure deficit which is eye watering, and how to deliver all this from (at this rate) September. Then again once our Deputy Mayor gets MP Nick Smith out of the city and tell him to butt out as he is being counter-productive attention might be drawn back to the rule book that affects the lives and businesses of Aucklanders.
As mentioned before I went away on holiday, commentary on the Unitary Plan will start as BR:AKL looks at the issues at hand. At the same time a series on an alternative to the Unitary Plan will run in parallel to Unitary Plan commentary. Today I am going to look at the Southern Rural Urban boundary where upwards of some 57,400 new Greenfield dwellings could end up depending on the option. This kind of Greenfield development stems from the Auckland Plan calling for 60% of urban development to happen in Brownfield land with the other 40% in new Greenfield land. The Southern Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) is one such spot (the others being in the North and North West of Auckland) where some of that 40% is meant to go.
For those wondering what a Rural Urban Boundary is, please check THIS LINK from the Unitary Plan on its description.
As for the Southern RUB there are three development options Auckland can take with this Greenfield Land (which is 15 minutes away from where I live by car). You can see all three options layered over a GIS Map and a GIS Map with an Issues and Constraints Overlay as well as each of the three options below in the embed below:
The two GIS maps (pages one and two) have dwelling capacity limits for each of the Greenfield zones depending on which option is taken.
Personally I am in favour of the Draft Southern RUB Options – Corridor Focus (Page 4 of the embed) which contains primary urban development to Drury and Karaka (Core’s K and D), along the State Highway 22 and North Island Main Trunk Line rail corridor, the North East Pukekohe flank, and the Pukekohe South East flank. This option keeps the main development either near existing development or along a transit corridor making infrastructure provisions (Drury and Paerata Rail Stations) and access more easier than the other options such as those that include Karaka North and West. Per The Unitary Plan there is an option to retain a green belt between Pukekohe and Paerata which would provide a wildlife corridor as well as park space. While development is kept away from the highly valuable Pahurehure Inlet which according to the maps contains colonies of wading sea birds. In any case that area slated as Karaka North and West if need be can be converted either into lifestyle blocks with strict covenants or over time into a new regional park and green lung for the ever-growing Auckland (which is what I would prefer Council would do (like an Ambury Farm or Puhinui Reserve set up)).
I have also noted as potential transport link from Whangapouri to Weymouth via a new bridge over the inlet as well as talk of a new waste water treatment plant. With me preferring the corridor option thus Karaka West and North not being developed – but actually wanting to be flipped over to lifestyle blocks or even better a regional reserve I can not see the need for a transit link through that area connecting to Weymouth. That link would create a rat-run from State Highway 20 at the Cavendish Drive Interchange, down Roscommon and Weymouth Roads (Route 17), over the new bridge, down the new transit link and through to State Highway 22 just north of Paerata rather than containing it to State Highways 1 and 22. That kind of rat running would lower the amenity of the new Greenfield developments and do nothing to solve congestion issues. As for the waste water treatment plant, well with Karaka North and West no longer under development you can away plop the new plant there out of the urban road but near the potential outfall site.
Submission wise I am going to follow through and “recommend” to Auckland Council that the Corridor Option for the RUB being the preferred southern Greenfield development options, providing there is:
- A green belt maintained between Pukekohe and Paerata
- New waste water treatment plant is built
- That transit link over the Inlet is not built
- What was labelled Karaka North and West either be allowed to be converted to Lifestyle blocks or even better a regional reserve seeming wading birds live in those areas
- And that Auckland Transport will build the Drury and Paerata Mass Transit Interchanges (rail and bus station, and park and ride)
I will keep tabs on this and see which way Council swings on this once the Unitary Plan becomes near operational – whenever that may be