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Council endorses Waipatu Community Plan

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The Waipatu community’s vision and aspirations for both present and future generations have been recognised with the Hastings District Council’s endorsement of the Waipatu Community Plan 2016-2021.

Rather than meet in the council chambers, the council took the opportunity yesterday to be presented the plan by community members at Waipatu Marae.

Hastings District Council began supporting the development of community plans in 2002 as a way to engage with and provide additional support to communities identified as having high needs.

The Waipatu Community Plan draws on work done between 2016 and 2019 to address the community’s desire to make the area, home to about 550 residents, a safer place to live, and for community members to be included in local developments.

This work included community engagement through hui, social media, email and letterbox drops, and resulted in four main priorities to be addressed: Identity and culture, water, traffic and safety and development.

In terms of identity and culture this included acknowledging and sharing the rich history of the area, strengthening community connections, supporting Ruahapia links and creating signage for the entrance to Waipatu.

One of the suggestions for water had already got underway – a community survey to assess what people thought the main water issues (storm, waste and drinking water) were and how they wanted them addressed.

Traffic and safety concerns centred on making all roads safer in the area in terms of speed and road design, as well as consideration of extra footpaths and street lighting in key locations.

Overall the community expressed a desire to be more involved in development decisions for Waipatu considering future activity such as land, housing and commercial development and associated services.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst thanked the Waipatu community for the work they had done to bring everyone together to create a visionary plan.

“It was fantastic to listen to the community leaders sharing their goals to improve the wellbeing of the Waipatu community. Now we have to turn these aspirations into an action plan on how we are going to deliver them.”

Last year Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana submitted to the council that the Waipatu community wished to show leadership and develop this plan.

“It’s not always been plain sailing but we have all come together and after all the hui we have reached a point of authentic community development,” he said.

Photo: Members of the Waipatu community presented the Waipatu Community Plan to council at yesterday’s meeting held at Waipatu Marae.

12 July 2019

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