We are at the end of 3 months of intensive community consultation on the draft Auckland Unitary Plan so it is a good time to reflect on the key issues that have been raised by communities.
One of the biggest discussions over the last month has focused on whether infrastructure and transport are ignored in the Unitary Plan. As we plan for the gradual intensification of our city over the next 30 years people want to be confident that we have also planned well for provision of public transport, ferries, parks, schools and community facilities.
As we have met with communities all over Auckland, it has become clear that the wider infrastructure plans for Auckland are not well understood. As a result, people presume that we are not thinking about this and headlines and commentary have popped up outlining worst-case scenarios (many of which are not even possible under the draft Auckland Unitary Plan).
New housing and business developments in Auckland will only occur with adequate infrastructure in place. The draft Auckland Unitary Plan has specific sections on infrastructure. It sets out rules to ensure efficient and secure development, operation and upgrading of infrastructure. However, it is wrong to expect that the Plan deals or must deal with all aspects of infrastructure.
The Unitary Plan is a Resource Management document. It is the planning toolbox to implement the Auckland Plan. The Unitary Plan does not include funding. The 10-year budget includes provision for the funding for roads, water supply, wastewater, stormwater and parks that will be built in response to growth. Nor does the Unitary Plan replicate what we have detailed in our integrated transport plan, open space strategy and the ongoing collaboration between Council and the Ministry of Education regarding future planning for schools.
What’s important to me is that community feedback has shown us that Council needs to make these supporting plans and conversations more visible and easier to understand. We also need to make clear that Council is well aligned to community thinking, particularly when it comes to transport. Only more roads is not the answer. This is why it is so important that Council continues to have a strong say on regional transport planning. The Land Transport Management Amendment Bill, the latest government legislation focused on Auckland, certainly makes that seem more and more difficult.