Hamilton City councillors are aiming to learn from previous councils' mistakes when it comes to developing future suburbs by purpose planning and building, rather than retrofitting infrastructure.
With work set to begin on the development of Peacocke, it leaves Rotokauri as one of the last remaining suburbs within Hamilton's current boundaries that will be developed for future use.
Last week, city councillors unanimously approved plans to set aside transport routes in Rotokauri in preparation for the development.
Councillor Ryan Hamilton said council had to make more of an effort with planning developments and learn from the mistakes of the past.
"It has been this lump of coal, and now its getting all this pressure from councillors, stakeholders and Government but this is a unique opportunity for the city as the city has been constantly retrofitted and similar to Peacocke but even better we are purpose planning and building and with the right density mix we have the ability to turn the dial," Hamilton said.
Councillor Mark Bunting said future planning is what council is here to do.
"There is a certain nervousness about committing too hard, we are going in toes in first and I remember the feeling of getting pulled into the quicksand when we were discussing Peacocke with terms like non-binding and just staying in the conversation," Bunting said.
"I feel a bit more aligned with my colleagues when it comes to designating so go ahead."
As councillors plan for the future development of Rotokauri, Hamilton City Council is also asking for input into a revised Structure Plan for the Peacocke neighbourhood. The plan will provide the blueprint for how the area will be developed; guiding housing style and density, transport connections and community spaces, as well as considering how the area's cultural heritage and natural environment will be protected.
City Planning Manager Luke O'Dwyer said this is a fantastic opportunity to create a neighbourhood to reflect the future of Hamilton city.
"It's not often we get the chance to review a structure plan this close to houses actually being built. It means the planning guidelines for Peacocke will reflect best-practice in city planning, urban design and environmental outcomes and we'll see the benefits of that almost immediately," O'Dwyer said.
Some of the features proposed for the plan include a focus on walking, cycling and public transport, an increase in protection for gully networks and streams and community spaces that are easily accessed by everyone.
"We have received a strong indication from central Government that we need to provide affordable, quality housing in the city. We can do this by encouraging medium and high-density housing, surrounded by good open spaces and quality transport connections," said O'Dwyer.
"This supports a 20-minute city concept where people can access most things they need within 20-minutes, without relying on their cars."
Discussions with mana whenua, community groups, developers and the community through co-design workshops, have informed the work so far. Detailed discussions with landowners in the Peacocke area are expected to take place early next year before the plan change is formally consulted on in mid-2021.
O'Dwyer was clear that some decisions have already been made, and the Southern Links roading designation, wastewater infrastructure and housing developments, that are already approved, are not up for discussion.
"There are some things that have already been approved, and we can't change that. What we can do is look forward and ask ourselves what we want to influence to create a community that we can all be proud of."
For those who would like to have their say in person, a Peacocke Open Day will be held on December 1 from 4pm to 7pm at the Glenview Club.
There will also be a chance to learn about the other projects happening in Peacocke including the construction of wastewater pipelines, the new Waikato River bridge and work to protect the natural environment.