The urban growth strategy for Te Awa Lakes

Hamilton City has experienced rapid growth over the past decade with more than 30,000 residents added during this time and a further 16,000 predicted to arrive by 2021. As the city enjoys the spill-over benefits of Aucklanders moving to Waikato in search of a better lifestyle and more affordable housing, Hamilton has had to cope with the strains that such rapid growth brings with it. Demands placed on housing supply, infrastructure, employment and associated services have all needed to keep pace with this accelerated rate of change.

To cope with this, both central and local government has put in place a number of strategic plans to ensure such growth is managed efficiently and effectively. At the local level, two of these plans are particularly relevant to the proposed Te Awa Lakes development in Hamilton’s north.

The Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy, focuses on sustainable growth and maps out exactly how, when and where this growth should occur. This plan in turn feeds into the broader Future Proof plan that takes into account how the city interacts with the surrounding districts. Te Awa Lakes has been planned from the ground up with both of these strategies in mind.

Firstly, the entire development will be built on a disused sand quarry meaning it doesn’t require more rural land. It’s also entirely within Hamilton’s existing city boundaries, so it fulfils the council’s preference for infill developments that don’t just contribute to urban sprawl north of the city.

What’s more, Te Awa Lakes’ mix of medium density housing (upon completion there’ll be some 860 new dwellings in total), shops, exciting new links to the Te Awa Cycleway and an adventure park that all come together to form a community and a new way of living that is also a destination in its own right. Not only will it be self-sufficient, but it will also complement the area’s other, more major retail experiences such as The Base shopping centre.

Transport connections are well served thanks to the new Waikato Expressway and Horotiu interchange that link the Te Awa Lakes to both Hamilton’s CBD and north to Auckland.

Second to the urban growth strategy is the Hamilton City River Plan, a 30-year framework that seeks to reconnect the city with its greatest natural asset, the Waikato River. This guiding plan includes projects such as the Ferrybank Development and the transformation of the Pukete pedestrian bridge into a flower garden bridge.

Te Awa Lakes embraces this concept by connecting Hamiltonians to an entire kilometre of river frontage that would otherwise remain largely cut off by industrial usage. Through the construction of an esplanade, new plantings and a host of new connections between Te Awa Lakes and the existing Te Awa Cycleway, Hamilton’s reimagined northern gateway will be opened up for recreational use by locals and visitors alike.

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