Seriously steeling the green network backbone
Whether the green network proposed in the Draft Warkworth Structure Plan is fit-for-purpose for this week’s climate-striking school students, for their next 30 years, must be the question.
And given that streets, once surveyed, tend to endure, the Warkworth Structure Plan, with its remaining two weeks of consultation, will be shaping Mahurangi tidehead town for centuries hence. Because it has been repeatedly robustly demonstrated that biodiversity benefits from broader corridor width, Warkworth’s governance green network demands to be less apologetic; less vein-like, and more arterial.
The ultimate example of an all-too-narrow buffer is the forest directly across the Mahurangi River from the town centre. At street level, it provides a very effect forest backdrop for the town, but, from many of the Oaks on Neville apartments, the backdrop is revealed as a scarily skimpy curtain. Hugely commendably, the draft structure plan proposes to plug the 100-metre gap opposite the boat ramp, increase the protected depth of forest there from 60 metres to 160. Bizarrely, however, where the backdrop is particularly scanty, opposite Wharf Street, the land in question is not indicated as a not-for-development protection area. This is not to suggest, for a second, that the current property holders should not be compensated should they be obliged to relinquish a reasonable expectation of development. Fair compensation should be an entirely separate and routine matter.
A seriously green network is not just a biodiversity nice-to-have. It is a climate-action prerequisite, and a fundamental to enabling fossil-fuel-free lifestyles where active modes of transport, and close-cousin public transport, finally end the era, and error, of car-centric non-communities. Siting an essentially greenfields satellite growth centre at the end of a motorway was problematic. With school students reduced to striking against the absence of adults in the room, planners must be steely in their resolve to produce a structure plan for tomorrow that proudly broadcasts there is life beyond business-as-usual.
Submissions will be accepted until 25 March. Up to a yet-to-be-advised hour on Monday the 25th, readers may wish to begin serially submitting submissions, using the form below. The next Mahurangi Magazine article will focus on the Lower Density Residential section of the draft plan, but meantime, readers can use the pro forma text below to respond to the vision and green network sections, or fashion their own: