Regional round up - Auckland
Aucklanders will soon be able to have their say on the City Centre Masterplan designs, which will be out for public consultation in mid-August. The plans present a CBD that is pedestrian-friendly with more green space.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “Auckland's future is in progress with $73 billion worth of commercial construction and more than 150 major development projects – including our multimillion dollar Downtown Programme – in progress or planned.
“Over the next ten years, there will be eight times as many people using the waterfront area every day. The completed Commercial Bay precinct alone will house 10,000 workers, and pedestrian traffic at Britomart is set to double when the City Rail Link opens in 2024.”
A recent report from ATEED, Auckland Council’s economic development arm, said the region’s population was predicted to increase to over two million by 2031, resulting in significant growth over most industries and 200,000 new jobs.
Construction and professional services were expected to be the strongest growing industries, accounting for 45 percent of employment growth. The construction sector would swell by 70 percent with 56,000 new jobs created, the report said.
Auckland metropolitan sprawl is posing a serious threat to its rural neighbours, with valuable horticultural land being swallowed by green fields housing projects. Pukekohe, New Zealand’s premier onion growing area, sits on the edge of the supercity. Their population is projected to grow from 20,000 to 50,000, something that will seriously hamper the volume of vegetables grown locally.
As the council says, “The Pukekohe hub comprises 4359 hectares of some of New Zealand’s most fertile and productive soils. Fruit and vegetable production contributes $1.2 billion to Auckland’s economy. The hub generates $327 million, which is 26% of NZ’s total domestic value of vegetable production.”
Auckland Council’s chief sustainability officer, John Mauro, says this highlights the obvious tensions between development on the one hand and the need to maintain a source of horticulture and food for the city on the other.