Our rapid growth and the challenges this presents for Auckland have made more than their fair share of headlines. Every day, we consume rhetoric about the need to build homes — faster and cheaper than ever before, coupled with a shortage of people with the necessary skills to build them. We are saturated in articles about their affordability, or lack of it.
We turn the page and absorb the latest data on how much time we spend sitting in traffic, how many billions this costs us in lost productivity. We scroll to the next page and hear stories of people. Of families, who feel their livelihood is threatened by today's technology. We wonder what the impact of tomorrow's advancements will be.
At the Auckland Council these critical issues are being planned for and responded to. You have elected us, your mayor and councillors, to be forward thinking and to act regionally for you. And in turn, we want to make sure you have ample opportunity to tell us what you would like us to do.
Now is the time to tell us how you would shape Auckland.
The Auckland Plan 2050 is our ambitious vision for the future of Auckland. It outlines our key goals and identifies the critical issues we, our children, and their children, will have to deal with and respond to over the next 30 years.
The Auckland Plan covers the big topics and asks you what you care about. An unprecedented rate of population growth. The need for necessities such as housing and infrastructure that follows. It asks how economic prosperity should be shared among all Aucklanders. How we should deal with the increasing pressures laid upon our environment.
How we respond to these challenges, and the opportunities within them, is detailed within the draft Auckland Plan 2050, and you have until March 28 to provide feedback at the website below.
The draft plan suggests ways we can go about achieving more positive outcomes for Aucklanders. These outcomes provide the context and the collective goals that will inform other important documents — our strategies, businesses cases and budget. It will guide not only how we respond to challenges, but how we turn them into opportunities.
This isn't new but it is different. The plan is reviewed every six years and this year we're doing it a little differently. The approach is streamlined and consultation is happening at the same time as the 10 year-budget (also known as the Long-Term Plan) so that you can tell us what you want for Auckland in both the short and long term.
Those familiar with the Auckland Plan will notice differences with previous versions. Some people are concerned the council is neglecting areas like heritage and physical activity through the removal of a specific section dedicated to them, in place of the six broader outcome areas.
Read through the outcomes, the focus areas and the detail. You will see the health and well-being benefits of physical activity are there, integrated into discussions on how we socialise (playing sport, taking walks) or how we travel (cycling and walking).
Built heritage is acknowledged for the role it plays in providing an identity and character to communities, and the value it holds in local place-making.
The Auckland Plan 2050 is a visionary document that guides implementation plans. For example, the specifics of how the physical activity sector will contribute to the outcomes of this plan are detailed in the Auckland Sport and Recreation Strategic Action Plan, Parks and Open Space Strategic Action Plan, Auckland's Sports Facilities Plan 2017-27 and the Sport Facilities Investment Plan.
The new Unitary Plan is the protector of built heritage, keeper of the additional heritage areas introduced and referee of what can and cannot be permitted.
But remember, this is your future Auckland, and this is your Auckland Plan. If this approach is not for you or you want more detail, sections or specifics, tell us by visiting the website. Likewise, if this version is clearer and more outcome focused, let us know what we're doing right.
Without an end goal, it is much harder for us to know where we are going. The Auckland Plan 2050 is our guiding document – it defines how we want the city to unfold, develop and socialise.
The issues covered in the Auckland Plan 2050 will define the future well-being of all Aucklanders – both present and future. This is a city we all want to belong to, benefit from and enjoy. Tell us how you want to do that.
• Councillor Chris Darby is chair of the Auckland Council planning committee. The website for feedback on the Auckland Plan is www.akhaveyoursay.co.nz.