Hamilton City Council caps funding for Waikato Plan

19 August 2015

The region's million-dollar Waikato Plan had been given a "reset" after the project became bogged down in information.

City councillors were given a briefing this week on the plan's progress following concerns voiced by some regional leaders that the project had stalled.

The Waikato Plan is a key initiative of the Waikato Mayoral Forum.

The region's million-dollar Waikato Plan had been given a "reset" after the project became bogged down in information.

City councillors were given a briefing this week on the plan's progress following concerns voiced by some regional leaders that the project had stalled.

The Waikato Plan is a key initiative of the Waikato Mayoral Forum.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the Waikato Plan could deliver tremendous benefits to the region.

Its overall goal is to give the region a collective voice on high-priority issues.

Blair Bowcott, council's performance general manager, said the plan's project team had completed some good work but there was a need to study the information at a strategic level.

In June, the mayoral forum held a workshop to address concerns that insufficient progress was being made on the plan.

The plan's project stages had since been rescoped to focus on key priorities, including opportunities for the Waikato through better planning and understanding population changes.

"The reason for the reset was that some fantastic work had been done on the project to date but the project had become almost bogged down with too much data, too much information, and it needed to be lifted up to a more strategic level," Bowcott said.

Advisers with experience delivering large strategic projects had been recruited to the project as well as an iwi representative.

The Waikato District Health Board, NZ Transport Agency and the Government's national infrastructure unit have also been invited to be observer

The Waikato Plan was originally costed at $876,000 but that had increased to $1.195 million.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said resetting the plan was a good idea but the city council had made it clear that its funding was capped at $142,000.

Once complete, the plan could deliver enormous benefits to the city, she said.

"If the region can agree on two or three or four things that collectively we will advocate for to the Government and those outside the region...I think that would be very powerful," Hardaker said.

The region had enjoyed good success when it spoke with a collective voice, Bowcott said, such as when the region's mayors advocated for the Waikato Expressway project.

A full draft of the plan is expected to be finished by December 2016.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/71263799/Hamilton-City-Council-caps-funding-for-Waikato-Plan 

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