The public of Taupo is being urged to get involved and have their say on the Draft Taupo Urban Commercial and Industrial Structure Plan.
The Draft Plan looks at building on the existing character and strengths of the Taupo central business district. It focuses on refreshing and reconnecting the town in a range of ways such as making public spaces more attractive, providing better facilities and spaces for events, turning streets into pedestrian-friendly shared spaces and reconnecting town with the Tongariro Domain and the Lake. The Draft Plan also looks at where future industrial growth is most appropriately zoned.
At a meeting on 12 November, a majority of elected representatives recommended that the Council adopt the Draft Structure Plan for public consultation. Following that adoption on 24 November, the Draft Structure Plan will be released to the public for an extended period of consultation over December, January and February. Further information on opportunities for the community to access information about the Draft Structure Plan will be made available in early December.
Clr Kathryn Uvhagen says Taupo is blessed with an attractive urban environment and it is vitally important that future development of the central business district is sensitive to its extraordinary setting. “We have to think very carefully about how we can achieve the objectives of structure planning while ensuring we protect the things that make Taupo unique.”
One of the more controversial proposals is the construction of a multi-use civic building on the Tongariro Domain, north of the Great Lake Centre. The new building is part of a proposal to create a “civic heart” which includes the Cenotaph, Library and the Great Lake Centre. The new three floor building would consist of an events pavilion on the ground floor, Council administration and new Council Chambers on the first floor and a new Arts/Heritage/Cultural Centre on the second floor.
Clr Uvhagen said “I strongly encourage everyone to have their say on this proposal by making a written submission telling Council what they think.”
She said it is also extremely important that people understand there is more to the Draft Structure Plan than this proposed controversial multi-story civic building. It includes, for example, proposed extensions to our existing industrial areas and suggested changes to the District Plan.”
Group Manager Gareth Green says the Structure Plan has been pulled into draft form after over a year of pre-consultation including workshops and open days. “The Draft Structure Plan is the product of a very long process of talking to people about their aspirations for the future of the town.”
He says although the plan is quite a technical document the Council will produce a summary for distribution to residents and out-of-town ratepayers. “We need to ensure that our non-resident ratepayers have the opportunity to have their say on the draft plans for Taupo’s future.”
Mr Green says one of the big challenges is helping people to understand the whole range of issues raised by the Structure Plan. “To help with this we will run regular features in the Taupo Times looking at different aspects of the Structure Plan each week. We hope people will take the time to read these and be encouraged to make a submission.”
There are also plans to hold a number of open days at the Great Lake Centre in mid December. The dates and times for these sessions will be published in the Taupo Times and on the Council website closer to December.
Mr Green says “previous open days during the development of the Draft Structure Plan were very successful, but this time we want to expand them further and give people more opportunities to have their questions answered.”
Mayor Rick Cooper says “I for one have no pre-determined outcomes in mind. I strongly encourage everyone to make a submission because I support everyone’s democratic right to be involved in these major decisions. We don’t just want to hear from the ‘naysayers’, we would also like to hear from those who have some positive input to the plan, and want to see Taupo moving forward into the future.”