Will the Waikawa Beach population grow in the next 20 years?

The Horowhenua District Council are starting a process of consultation on the next Long-Term Plan.

Horowhenua District Council are about to develop their 2018–38 Long Term Plan, and the process involves consulting the community. The Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association recently received an email:

Because our district is about to grow significantly, we realised we need to plan for the next 20 years if we are to address the challenges and opportunities our community faces.

To get the ball rolling, we first of all want to hear from you and the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association about what is important.

On Monday 13 November 2017 Committee members John Hewitson, Kevin Burns and Miraz Jordan attended a meeting at the Manakau Hall where David McCorkindale, Group Manager Strategic Planning & Development, ran a workshop and led discussion.

Horowhenua District Council presentation, David McCorkindale at the screen.
Horowhenua District Council presentation, David McCorkindale at the screen.

Much of the discussion was about the Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway, which is of enormous concern to our neighbours at the Manakau District Community Association. The new Government has put a hold on all roading projects, which has left that one in limbo for the time being, with the Manakau folks not knowing which of the various route options near them will be selected.

David McCorkindale also presented some information about how Horowhenua will probably grow more than initially expected over the next decade or two. Manakau-Waikawa Growth Strategy Presentation 13 November 2017 (1.9 MB PDF).

While the PDF doesn’t make a lot of sense as a stand-alone document, note the figures on Page 7. By 2040 they expect an extra 10,000 people and 5,000 households in Horowhenua.

The most recent census was in 2013. It’s not entirely easy to derive population statistics just for Waikawa Beach, but Page 10 of the presentation tells us that it seems that in 2013 Waikawa Beach had 102 people living here, in 54 households. It was also pointed out that the median age of people in Waikawa Beach is the low 60s.

The population growth leads to some important questions: where will they live, what kind of people will they be, and what kind of lifestyle choices (eg rural or residential) will they make?

If some of these folks want to live in Waikawa Beach, where could they go? Do we as a community want reticulated water and sewage systems? If we do, are we willing to pay increased rates?

There was a lot of discussion on all these topics, and more. Some of the points we made included:

  • We don’t want the Expressway to cut us off from our Manakau neighbours.
  • Civil Defence regard the area north of Drake and Arthur Streets as flood plain so it would be a poor choice for additional residential growth.
  • Current farmland and areas around Strathnaver Drive are either / both historic swamps and part of the Low-Fly Zone for trainee pilots and would be unsuitable for further residential development.
  • In the past, costs for suggested reticulated water for Waikawa Beach have been far too high to be seriously considered.
  • The aquifer below Waikawa Beach provides many people with water. If too much water is drawn (for example, by adding a lot more houses), then the sea will come in and the ground water will become too saline.
  • We enjoy dark skies here and Council should consider measures to ensure the darkness is preserved as the population grows.

The Council’s official open consultation on the Long-term Plan is coming up. We should all take some time to become familiar with it and contribute our thoughts.

And finally, David alerted me to a very useful online mapping tool for viewing Census figures: StatsMaps allows you to select down to a Meshblock (the smallest unit of Census measurement) and see information such as the number of people, number of households, median income and so on. It’s fascinating.

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