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Unitary Plan awaits your comments

It has been a historical month for Auckland.

After five days of discussion the Auckland City Council approved (on September 10), the proposed Unitary Plan for notification and a formal submissions phase.

This followed 22 workshops over eight weeks with Councillors, Local Boards and Council staff as we took on board the 22,000 pieces of feedback and what we heard from the 15,000 Aucklanders who attended public events.

As Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said, the Plan has come a long way since March. We developed it with our communities, using a brave new process and the proposed Plan now reflects a careful balance between quality development in the right places and the concerns of our communities.

There have been many changes, but examples include increasing minimum dwelling sizes in terraces and apartments for units above the ground floor; and reducing maximum building heights in places like Devonport, Milford, Browns Bay and Northcote.

New electric trains

The same week, I had the pleasure, ably assisted by my three-year-old grandson Luca, of unveiling Auckland’s first electric train which is now undergoing testing on our network. These fast, efficient trains, along with the City Rail Link and the new harbour crossing, are the precursors we need in place to ultimately get rail to the Shore.

As the first term of the first Auckland Council draws to a close, I am pleased with what we have put in place for Auckland and its people.

With the input of tens of thousands of Aucklanders, we developed the Auckland Plan, a shared vision for our physical, social, cultural and economic development over the next 30 years. We have agreed a proposed planning rulebook, which gives us the tools to help Auckland grow with greater choice of homes, better connected communities, and well-designed buildings and public spaces that we can all enjoy.

The Unitary Plan will also enable us to look after what makes Auckland special – our beaches, harbours, maunga and built heritage.

We have also agreed with the Government our shared transport priorities and immediate action for our housing challenges.

There is always more work to be done and improvements to be made, but now we have a strong foundation in place.

The opportunities for you to be involved continue.

Vote in the upcoming local government elections and check out the revised Unitary Plan online or at your local library – the Council has information available on what has changed since the March draft.

Aucklanders now have 90 days to make a formal submission.

Len Brown is Mayor of Auckland City.

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