The UFTI project is focused on developing a picture of where infrastructure for growing communities should be built, and when and where major transport investments will be needed, to help ensure good housing is accessible and people and goods can move easily around the sub-region in the future.
The Interim Report is a key milestone for the UFTI project as it works towards the release of its Final Report – and a preferred future plan for the sub-region – in April 2020.
UFTI Project Director, Robert Brodnax, says the Interim Report offers an insight into what is being visualised for how people will live, work, play, learn and move in the sub-region over the next 50-100 years.
“The Interim Report considers a range of transport and land use options for the Western Bay which are needed to accommodate a possible population growth of up to 200,000 people,” says Mr Brodnax.
“Each of the concepts are based on heavily-used transport corridors in the sub-region, utilising road or rail, and a mix of urban form options that have been built from existing SmartGrowth plans for growth.”
Mr Brodnax says releasing the report at this stage provides the opportunity for partners and stakeholders to input and feedback into the four concepts, including delving into the evidence which will help develop them further.
“This is helpful as we explore these possible futures further and improve our understanding of what they might mean for us, what actions we might need to take now, and in the future, and how achievable they are.
“For example, we know based on the possible population growth over the next 50-100 years, that we’ll need up to 100,000 more homes and jobs to be created in the Western Bay and more than two million transport movements of people and goods will be completed per day.
“The UFTI team is looking at how we can manage this growth in a way which enhances our communities, embraces our cultural identities, is sustainable and safe, and maintains what we all enjoy about the sub-region.”
Mr Brodnax says the four concepts in the Interim Report have been narrowed down from nine as the result of a robust assessment process that includes analysis of existing partner plans and strategies, workshops, stakeholder feedback and research reports commissioned by UFTI.
“Central government priorities, freight efficiencies, housing affordability, multi-modal transport, growth of local industries, climate change and spatial planning that involves mana whenua are all key priorities and considerations.
“All of the concepts require further investigation and it is likely that the final preferred option will be a combination of different components of each.”
Mr Brodnax says partnering with central government will be key to the sub-region’s ongoing success, and it was positive to have the Transport Minister Phil Twyford discussing a potential partnership with key leaders from Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and mana whenua when he visited Tauranga in November.
The full Interim Report can be viewed here.