Views sought for rural plan

04:45, Feb 03 2014

Liz Hutson has long been waiting for a city council review of Upper Hutt's rural area and its future.

However, the Mangaroa Valley resident of 23 years is disappointed with the timing - with "workshop" public meetings set through this month and January and her local one at Mangaroa School taking place tomorrow evening.

"It does seem interesting really. Yet again we are being asked before Christmas when people are busy with school finishing and the build up to the end of the working year," Mrs Hutson said.

"Their timing is bad, I guess, but when is a good time, maybe more March and April?"

"I don't know if it's going to do much. It's hard to get people to make a stand."

For all, that she knows she will be making a submission.

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Mrs Hutson is an equestrian and her property includes a training arena and paddocks for "tenant" horses along with several chickens and the required couple of dogs.

She also operates Jackson & Butters Upholsterers.

The business was started in Upper Hutt by her father in 1960 and is now accommodated on her several-hectare property in Colletts Rd. When she and husband Peter moved to the valley the council required them to be generating an income from the property.

"When we bought this land, the council had a caveat over it. We had to be engaged in a sustainable rural activity before they would issue us with a building permit. We did that with beef cattle."

The decades since have seen change in the area, with smaller, but still sizeable lifestyle blocks, the norm. However the community remains rural in its activity and outlook.

The council's controversial plans for the development of Maymorn into an intensive, 1800 lot "eco-village" will be sure to be mentioned by respondents, she said.

The plans, soon to be again debated by the new council, are not mentioned in the information for people responding to the rural survey.

"It will feature, for sure. If the Maymorn Plan does go ahead, we all stand to lose a lot and not only money invested in rural properties," Mrs Hutson said.

"Maymorn does seem to have disappeared a bit, maybe lost under a lot of things," she said.

"I certainly hope so. I went to that (council) meeting and believed they were going to veto it. I couldn't believe it. I was gobsmacked." Away from that big issue Mrs Hutson will look for changes which recognise the area as a "horsey community".

She would like to see more awareness of safety issues with traffic, particularly on narrow roads.

"It would be quite good to think about some bridle paths." These could be shared with walkers and push-bikers and could use the routes of the old railway line - sections of which are separated from properties and the road today.

HAVE A SAY

Upper Hutt people are being encouraged to have a say on what the rural part of their city should look like in the future, what they like about it today and what they might like to see changed.

A survey and workshops form the core of the public input in what will be the development of the Rural Strategy 2014. This will identify social, economic and environmental issues to create a vision of rural Upper Hutt in the next 10-20 years.

The Rural Strategy will sit alongside the Urban Growth Strategy in guiding the future of Upper Hutt. Several workshops are to be held, both in the city and the Mangaroa/Whitemans Valley, before the mid-February close-off for the survey and submissions. A draft strategy will be released and opened for formal submissions, and hearings under the Local Government Act. For more, see: consultation.upperhuttcity.com to complete survey and make comments online. For other inquiries, email ruralstrategy@uhcc.govt.nz or call 527 2169.

 

Country life: Liz HutsonntsTnte, a long time Mangaroa Valley residentntsG.nte, says: ‘‘ntsGTntetheir  timing is badntsG,nte’’, ntsGshe saysnte of the council’s long-promised rural strategy.bb Photo: COLIN WILLIAMS 

Upper Hutt Leader