Promoting access: Pūhoi to Pākiri

Planning for access in a rapidly growing peri-urban environment

The Commission has developed a partnership with Auckland Council to develop plans for public access in the Rodney local board area. Population in the north of Auckland is growing rapidly and is forecast to increase further in the coming years.

As a predominantly rural area now, this growing population will be housed through subdivision and new developments. This offers a unique opportunity to plan public access for both commuting and recreation prior to building the houses.

At the same time, the New Zealand Transport Agency is building a new motorway in the area from Pūhoi to Warkworth. This motorway required the partial closure of the Commission’s Moirs Hill Walkway, and the $800,000 compensation received by the Commission will largely fund the new project with Auckland Council.

The Commission employs Chris Charles, a staff member working within Auckland Council to lead the project, working alongside the Matakana Coast Trails Trust, iwi, the Department of Conservation and other relevant organisations.

Charles helps to build capacity within Auckland Council to ensure public access is a key element of statutory and other planning processes.

Over the next three years, this project will produce a strategy for public access in the area, ensuring that the communities are connected to each other and to local amenities such as the coastline and regional parks.

This strategy will be used to prioritise the acquisition of easements and other forms of public access on private land, working with landholders and developers prior to and during the subdivision process, to ensure we do not miss this unique opportunity.

The existing community has a vision for how they want things to be – in 20 years’ time, once there are tens of thousands of people living in the area, every child should be able to walk, cycle or even horse-ride to school, without having to travel on a road. That is a vision the Commission supports, and this project will help turn it into reality.

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