Hamilton City Councillor Paula Southgate says that communities need to be built around the new housing areas in the Peacocke and Rotokauri areas in order to make the infrastructure deal a real success.
Farmland in Hamilton’s southern boundaries will be turned into residential housing after the city received a $272m loan from Government as part of the Housing Infrastructure Fund. It means a further 3700 houses in the next ten years, but crucially, growth in the south of the city.
But expansion isn’t going to be the ‘silver bullet’ for many of Hamilton’s ratepayers.
City councillor Paula Southgate says the work around creating flourishing communities in these areas should be high on the priority list.
“I’m a strong advocate for building a better city, not just a bigger city, because bigger is not always better.”
Concerns have arisen from ratepayers as to the actual number of dollars being spent on housing builds in Peakcocke. Numbers revealed by the Waikato Times on Tuesday suggested that very little, if any, of the money was being spent on anything other than infrastructure.
A new bridge across the Waikato River plus a serious expansion of Wairere Drive takes up $56.5m alone.
“The question to be asked is, how do we fund our new housing areas and how do we fund the city. That includes the existing facilities and services. We need to make sure we provide for ratepayers, both current and incoming, so we need to make sure these housing areas actually have real communities.”
It is the role of the City Council to provide infrastructure that opens up opportunities for housing before developers can begin work.
Southgate says that there is no point in borrowing all the money from Government if the city cannot use it in a useful way.
Decisions will be made in the coming weeks when Council sits down to discuss its Ten Year Plan. Hamilton is already under pressure to provide answers over the future of several community facilities. Southgate is cautious that a lack of development for community services will face similar issues in Peacocke as to what is currently being seen in the north of the city.
The ‘silver bullet’ Southgate talks about on her Facebook page isn’t easily found, but Southgate is adamant that different alternatives
“I just don’t believe that building a very large new subdivision is going to immediately address house prices and availability”.
More on this will be discussed during a full interview with Southgate this Friday on Free FM.