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Connecting Franklin-Northern Waikato Project
Communities in southern Auckland and the northern Waikato are growing rapidly, and this growth is forecast to continue for many years to come. The Commission is working with locals to identify the needs of current and future communities for public access to the outdoors – for recreation, for commuting and for everyday life.
Connected communities are vibrant communities, and the Connecting Franklin – North Waikato project will identify opportunities to link communities in this part of New Zealand to each other, to neighbours and to the natural environment.
The end vision is a shared vision and strategy for public accessways across the region. These accessways will cater for a variety of purposes, including recreation, tourism and commuting, via a variety of methods, including walking, cycling and horse-riding.
This vision and strategy will be owned by the three sponsors: Waikato District and Waikato Regional Councils, and the Franklin Local Board of Auckland Council. Implementation will likely involve others, including the Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa, Department of Conservation, NZ Transport Agency, local iwi and hapū, volunteer-based community groups and others.
Already, we’ve spoken to more than 50 people across the southern Auckland and northern Waikato areas, gathering their hopes, dreams, visions and ideas together to draw out common themes and desires.
Messages we’re hearing include the recognising the importance the Waikato River as a connector, ensuring that children can get to schools, parks and other facilities by foot or bike without having to compete on 100km/h roads, and how public access can enable the sharing of history and the creation of strong, vibrant communities, not just dormitory suburbs.