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Seriously serial structure plan submission

by 3 Mar 2019Local, Warkworth, Warkworth Town Hall Talk0 comments

Draft Warkworth Structure Plan cover

Fleeting Opportunity for Feedback: Less than a month to respond to a probably the most defining document ever on Warkworth’s destiny is not a lot of time. While there have earlier been opportunities to engage, it was only after this draft was notified, on the afternoon of 27 February, that the Mahurangi community knew exactly what was being proposed, out to 2050. Meaningful consultation takes time, and fewer than 30 days to contemplate a structure plan for the next 30 years might be considered hasty. Having said that, digesting and responding to the 152-page draft in 27 days is considerably less brutal than the 623 topic-paper pages and maps in even fewer days allowed, in April last year. document Auckland Council

There is much to applaud and support in Warkworth’s draft structure plan.

Submissions are invited, as is statutorily required, prior to the final stages of the process, labelled, on the flow chart:

Changes to Structure Plan and Adoption

Or, as the text would have it:

Following consultation, the feedback will be reviewed, and any required amendments made to the structure plan.

Now, this might amount to hair-splitting, but that statement, improbably, implies the possibility that there might not be “any” amendments required. Given that Warkworthians have just had any faith they might have had in Auckland Council’s commitment to authentic consultation seriously tested, “all” might have been the better word. Alternatively, the statement might have read:

Following consultation, the feedback will be reviewed, and such amendments made to the structure plan as are deemed appropriate by Auckland Council.

Vision for Warkworth Structure Plan

Setting perceptions and semantics aside, the draft Warkworth Structure Plan begins, appropriately, with a vision for Mahurangi’s tidehead town:

Warkworth is a satellite town that retains its rural and natural character. It is centred around the Mahurangi River and has easy walking and cycling access around the town. There are a variety of high-quality residential neighbourhoods. Warkworth is largely self-sufficient with plenty of employment, education, shopping and recreation opportunities. Transport and other infrastructure are sequenced to support Warkworth’s planned growth.

While this provides some considerable assurance that planners appreciate Warkworth’s values and potential, without scaring the horses, the vision could be far bolder and more beautiful:

Warkworth is a satellite town that retains its natural character, and establishes a clear, inviolate ‘wall’ beyond which it will never encroach upon the adjacent rural. Embracing the Mahurangi River, the tidehead town is palpably connected with the Mahurangi Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. The river is the strong backbone of rich linear parks, paths and cycleways, providing active access throughout the town. Warkworth is compact and surprisingly self-sufficient with plenty of employment, education, shopping and recreation opportunities. Mindful of the existential imperative to rapidly become fossil-fuel-free, Warkworth is the least car-centric country town in Aotearoa.

That Warkworthians fervently wish their town to be vibrantly reconnected to the sea is epitomised by the support for Peter Thompson’s Mahurangi River Restoration Trust initiative, which, properly funded, is poised to make an accommodating town basin and an all-tide-navigable river a reality. Most New Zealand towns have a river. Far fewer have a town basin, and only one has a town basin on the first natural Hauraki Gulf harbour north of the New Zealand’s metropolis.

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 Green Network section of the draft plan, but meantime, readers can use the pro forma text below to respond to the vision, or craft their own:

  • Warkworth Structure Plan submission

    You may submit now, or more comprehensively closer to the closing date, midnight Monday 25 March