Waipā District Council is sending out teams of elected members and staff to 11 towns and villages for at least 22 events to gather public input for a 30-year plan on how the district manages growth and development.
The six-week-long engagement will seek comment on Ahu Ake – the Waipā council’s draft Community Spatial Plan. When finalised, the plan will lock in a 30-year blueprint and guide how Waipā manages issues ranging from growth and housing to economic development, arts and culture, transportation and more.
The council’s group manager for strategy Kirsty Downey said direct engagement last year with partners and key stakeholders, including mana whenua, had provided the council with a clear “first-cut” direction on key issues.
“That’s provided a good baseline and means we’ve been able to put some initial lines in the sand. Now it’s time for the community to see what these broad principles might mean for their own towns and neighbourhoods,” Downey said.
“This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff; we are coming at it from a very practical lens. Ahu Ake will have a direct bearing on our future and on the future of our children and grandchildren growing up in Waipā.
“There are some really important conversations to be had around issues like climate change, housing intensification and transport links. We need those conversations now, so the council can reflect community priorities in plans and budgets.”
Mayor Susan O’Regan expects all councillors will be personally involved in the roadshow, fronting up to their own communities to talk directly with people about issues important to them. Council staff will also be available to answer questions.
“Personally, I think it’s really important we hear first-hand about what people want the future for Waipā to look like and why,” O’Regan says.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for all of us to connect with the people, towns and neighbourhoods we represent. A huge amount of effort has gone into making it easy for people to be involved in this process, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Community events will be widely advertised in a range of channels, including media, flyers online, neighbourhood noticeboards and through the council’s Facebook page.
People can also have their say online at ahuakewaipa.nz/have-your-say and via a hard-copy survey available at Waipā council offices and libraries.
Community consultation closes on March 27, with all feedback pulled into a comprehensive report that will be publicly available. A final Community Spatial Plan will be presented to the council for adoption in September.