What is in the pipeline
With a 14-7 progressive-conservative split on the Governing Body of Auckland Council (see: 15% Council Reputation = Elect Exact Same Council Makeup) it looks like a continued steady as she goes approach to the City Building exercise now under-way with the Unitary Plan nearly there (once appeals are sorted). Yes Mayor-elect Goff might trigger a shake up in the bureaucracy but, the path already set in motion by previous Mayor Len Brown coupled with new CEOs for Panuku Development Auckland and soon Auckland Transport I do not expect a major course change.
The appeals to the Unitary Plan do not affect Southern Auckland in any major form. This means the South knows its potential and spatial layout with the zones, knows what major transport projects are coming through the Auckland Transport Alignment Program (the third Main on the Southern Line, Mill Road, Botany Line study etc) and most of all has Transform Manukau working away.
So what does the next three years for Southern Auckland have lined up?
MASSIVE GROWTH particularly in Franklin (Greenfield Residential and Industry) and in the Manukau Ward area with the Airport and Wiri industrial complexes continuing to intensify while Manukau City Centre continues its growth and regeneration. Otahuhu and Mangere are not forgotten either given their proximity to either the rail line or a future rail line (heavy or light (hopefully heavy)) and their Unitary Plan zoning that allows for intensification. The Flat Bush area will also continue high growth creating pressures on east-west links to the Southern Motorway and rail line at Manukau until the Botany Line is built along Te Irirangi Drive.
The growth in the Franklin, Manukau and Howick (Botany) Wards present both exciting opportunities for quality 8-80 City urban development but also some serious challenges ahead. While not much can be done now for developments under way (apart from later expensive retrofitting) but new developments we can certainly push for pro-people rather than pro-car in the design aspects. Making those designs also easily accessible to current and future transit options is also a must if we want to keep people and freight moving. The industrial complex in Drury South should be designed to allow a rail spur off the Southern Line and that spur servicing a possible future inter-modal cargo station so fewer trucks ply the Southern Motorway. And of course (as well as confirmed in the ATAP) the electrification of the rail line to Pukekohe will assist commuting greatly.
The main challenge is to get the infrastructure ahead of the developments rather than the usual New Zealand way of infrastructure lagging behind the development. Whether Goff can get this turn around is yet to be seen but needs to be done fast.
You might have noticed I have left the Manurewa-Papakura Ward out of the growth pipeline mentioned in this post. I have and due to two factors:
- A return of a NIMBY Manurewa Local Board that will drag the chain on intensification in the Manurewa area (excluding what is in the Transform Manukau zone to the north)
- A 3-3 split Local Board in Papakura which if relationships breakdown the growth that we are seeing could stall as development goes to Manukau and Franklin on the path of least resistance. The optimist in me hopes we will see more apartments in the Papakura Metropolitan Centre but I have doubts the Local Board make up will be of great encouragement unless the Governing Body “lays down the law” given 7,000 homes or 21,000 people are expected in Papakura over the next decade.
So for me at this point in time my attention turns north to Manukau and Otahuhu-Mangere as well as Franklin as the real life Cities Skylines plays itself out!