Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Local elections 2016: Franklin - A fast growing community

The sprawling Franklin ward has major infrastructure needs, say locals.
The Franklin ward is diverse, with rural areas like Clevedon and large towns like Pukekohe. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Franklin ward is diverse, with rural areas like Clevedon and large towns like Pukekohe. Photo / Dean Purcell

Our infrastructure here is absolutely critical. Transport, the cost of housing and the sheer pace of change are what people are telling me they're concerned about.Bill Cashmore

From Pukekohe in the south to Beachlands in the east, the vastness of the Franklin area brings with it a range of key issues for the ward's constituents.

In this rapidly growing area, people want to see council investment in infrastructure keep up with the population increase.

"It's a matter of getting fuller infrastructure to cope with the housing developments that are going on," said Pukekohe Community Action director Jan Wallace.

"In particular, there need to be changes to the transport system.

"I'm concerned about our elder people and less well people getting through to hospitals; the need to transfer from trains at Papakura is fine for the fit and healthy, but it's a challenge for some of the older people.

"It can take you half a day to get to Middlemore or Auckland Hospital."

Wallace said she'd like to see council spending reined in, with less money going towards "non-essential expenses".

Maraetai Beach and Beachlands residents have been reluctant to embrace changes. Photo / Michael Craig
Maraetai Beach and Beachlands residents have been reluctant to embrace changes. Photo / Michael Craig

Any Franklin representative would need to be sensitive to the ward's diverse needs, and that the ward hasn't had enough attention paid to it by Auckland Council.

Many residents in Beachlands want to stop intensification from changing the relaxed seaside lifestyle they enjoy.

New housing developments have sprung up across the suburb, and projects are beginning to get under way to ensure the infrastructure can cope with the influx of new residents.

Some residents in Beachlands and Maraetai have been reluctant to embrace the change to their community, evidenced by their strong opposition to a new supermarket earmarked for the area.

Bill Cashmore. Photo / Supplied
Bill Cashmore. Photo / Supplied

Bill Cashmore is running unopposed for the council seat, and said it was a disappointment, as he enjoyed campaigning. He said the most distinctive feature of Franklin was its "sheer diversity".

"We have large towns like Pukekohe and then smaller places like Wairoa and Beachlands and Maraetai -- but in saying that, Beachlands and Maraetai are trebling in size, and on the other side we have Drury, which is becoming the next Manukau City."

Cashmore said Franklin's population was scheduled to grow by 100,000 in the next 25 years, and the challenge was to support that growth with investment in the area.

"Our infrastructure here is absolutely critical. Transport, the cost of housing and the sheer pace of change are what people are telling me they're concerned about."

YOUR COMMUNITY, YOUR CHOICE

Monday: Auckland mayoral hopefuls share their vision
Tuesday: Waitemata
Wednesday: Albert-Eden-Roskill and Manurewa-Papakura
Thursday: Albany and Howick
Friday: Licensing trusts and DHBs
Today: All the Auckland wards, plus regional highlights, in our local body election supplement

- NZ Herald

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