A deeper look at Hukutaia development in Ōpōtiki’s LTP
Ōpōtiki’s Engineering Manager, Glen McIntosh, provided some additional information to inform the wider public discussion about the Council’s Long Term Plan process and specific questions about extension of services to Hukutaia.
For those who want to get in depth information, particularly on the costs, risks and impacts, there is a full report in the ‘supporting information’ section on the website.
“There are several reasons that Council’s preferred option is to extend three water (stormwater, wastewater and water supply) services to Hukutaia for both current residents and for future growth.
“What it comes down to is this – Ōpōtiki has a housing crisis. We urgently need to build more houses and we urgently need to expand and grow to provide safe and affordable housing for current residents and those that come here or return here for the new jobs and opportunities coming online.
“As most local people know, the current town centre is constrained by its natural boundaries. A new development is underway in the old Sale Yards and there is infill housing, but in the medium and longer term, we need to look further afield.
“Hukutaia has long been on our radar as a logical next place to grow into – it is above flooding and sea level rise risks, there is plenty of land and growth opportunities, council already provides many services (particularly rubbish and water supply) to the area and there may also be opportunities for iwi-led investment in housing in the area.
“In fact, Hukutaia was such a good option that we consulted on it in our last LTP and the community feedback was pretty clear – when the district starts growing, then expand services to the area and start growing there as well.
“Three years later and that growth is now happening – we have a growing population for the first time in many decades and we need to house current and future growth. The key piece of this puzzle is the extension of three water services to the area providing the infrastructure to enable intensification.
“That intensification cannot happen without provision of wastewater services. Currently, additional housing in Hukutaia would mean a continuation of the larger section sizes required for septic tanks, using up even more farmland. In contrast, the provision of wastewater services means we could provide more housing in a smaller area, building homes faster and at a lower price for those that need them.
“Installing the wastewater network would mean change for current residents. It will mean that, due to regional council rules, properties will need to come off septic tanks once the services are available. The two options put forward are to hook up all existing housing immediately or to delay extending the network for existing residents.
“The options laid out in the consultation document explain the increased costs on the general rate and the targeted rate.
“It is also worth noting that central government recently announced a $3.8billion funding package for infrastructure projects such as this one. While there will be a lot of competition for that funding around the country, we have already signalled to our government partner that we will be applying for a share of that funding.” Mr McIntosh said.