Council runners talk city growth Whakarongo option supported
Most of Palmerston North's councillors-in-waiting would be likely to resist urban development at both ends of the city.
Eleven of the candidates have spoken out about the council's planning and policy committee's opposition to a proposed private plan change that would allow urban growth at Pioneer City West.
Most of them supported the council's preference for residential growth at Whakarongo.
But some said the council should not discourage developers, while others wanted more information on the costs to the ratepayer of extending city services to the east and west.
Hayden Fitzgerald, standing on a promise of no further council borrowing, said the council should be friendly to developers, lower development fees and allow development to happen wherever it was desired.
James Pettengill agreed the city needed to empower rather than hinder the private sector, to free up more affordable sections. But he tempered his comments by saying he would need to understand the cost implications first.
Leonie Hapeta also favoured supporting developers, but would want to see a report on the costs of growing in both directions.
The rest agreed with the council stand, that the focus had to be Whakarongo.
Rachel Bowen said the council had to be smart about planning and resist urban sprawl. She said the council had put significant effort into its residential growth planning, and any move to change that would need to be shown to be affordable for the ratepayer.
Charles Turner said more emphasis should be put on in-fill housing, but there should also be the choice of a greenfield subdivision. Growth had to be manageable for the ratepayer.
Nick Eddy said councillors should heed the expert advice they had been given.
"It has to be Whakarongo. This area is growing and flourishing."
Former councillor Phil Etheridge said that on the grounds of sustainability, costs to the council, and risk, growth should only be to the east.
Lorna Johnson said the city could not afford to grow in two directions at once.
"I believe we should be looking at a more compact city."
Ashhurst resident Aleisha Rutherford said liquefaction issues to the west were best avoided, while increased amenities to the east were good for Ashhurst too.
Russell Johnson worried about the liquefaction risks toward Longburn-Rongotea Rd, and did not want the city exposed to those risks.
Niki Gunning said liquefaction was a word that "sends chills up the spine of any council considering housing development", and the preference for Whakarongo was sound.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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