There are no immediate plans for subdivisions in Gordonton Village, residents attending a public meeting hosted by Waikato District Council were told last Thursday evening.
Deputy mayor Dynes Fulton was responding to a question near the end of the hour-long session, which is the third of 12 meetings around the district.
Gordonton would grow, he said, but it would never grow significantly unless it was serviced by waste water systems.
“That’s when you start getting into difficulties. The cost of putting in waste water systems into a place like Gordonton just wouldn’t be fitting, unless it was going to be a big subdivision. The cost is horrendous on small-sized communities and is the biggest restrictor on those things happening.”
He said Council had had no approaches from large-scale developers.
About 25 people turned up for the meeting in the Hall, which aimed to give an overview of Council’s annual plan for the coming year. It was the largest turn-out to date, according to CEO Gavin Ion who led the presentation.
In response to another question about productive farmland disappearing under small (5000 square metre) sections, Mr Fulton said rules around subdivision had been tightened.
“It is now much harder for people to subdivide, the emphasis is on protecting that productive land.”
Projects that Council believed required funding included new footpaths, toilet upgrades for Ngaruawahia, and information boards for Taupiri.
Mr Ion said the council wanted to set aside $270,000 for emergency road works.
Two major issues last year highlighted the need for this – “ There was a significant drought, and a number of our roads built on peat compacted and this had to be addressed. Then, in the middle of winter there were issues around flooding and slips as well.”
Council had also been approached from a number of the rural fire services, needing money for tankers.
“So we’re looking at spending $40,000 for those rural fire fighters. We’re trying to make sure we are able to support them, they do a really important job in terms of supporting our community.”
There was a lot of legislation coming at councils from Government, he said.
“It is almost a full-time job keeping up with the legislation and the impacts it may have for the Council and its ratepayers.
Mr Ion said changes proposed by central government would mean less opportunity for councils to levy developers to pay for new infrastructure.
He felt Council’s current policy was robust and developers were not being overcharged. “Our concern is if it is not being paid for by developers it is almost inevitably going to fall back on existing ratepayers and we don’t believe that’s right or appropriate. So it is something we are strongly objecting to.”
Legislation around earthquake-prone buildings was another issue affecting the Council and ratepayers.
“Government is seeking a review be undertaken of pretty much all commercial buildings within our district to assess their ability to withstand an earthquake. In a district of our size, that is a very significant undertaking and the Government is also suggesting that it be funded by ratepayers. We think that is not fair. We support the intent of what the Government is trying to do, we just think it should fall on ratepayers.”
Residents were invited to make submissions on the proposed changes to the third year of the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
- Click here to make an online submission.
- The next meeting is in Tamahere on Monday 14 April, from 7pm to 8pm.
- The full draft plan is online here.
Submissions close at 4pm on Thursday 8 May and hearings will be held in Ngaruawahia on Wednesday 28 May at the Council Chambers, 3pm to 7.30pm.
By Annette Taylor