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Ed Said -†In 25 years itíll be Mangawhai, but not as we know it


dadIsn’t Waiheke Island a great place? Boutique eateries, surrounded by water, accessable by anything except cars, walks, cycle trails, the mussell festival, wineries, and for seniors even the boat trip is free. Waiheke pretty much has it all. This description could almost fit Mangawhai – except for the traffic and that’s a big negative but one we are definitely going to have to accommodate whether we like it or not. 

In 1964 Waiheke was home to 2,500 people. Now it has 10,000 permanent residents. Let’s not even think about casuals, weekenders and holiday visitors. Could you ever conceive of that situation in Mangawhai? If not, why not? The Waiheke example happened over more than 50 years. I reckon it could easily happen in Mangawhai in half that time. Granted, the infrastructure simply couldn’t handle that rate of growth but that’s exactly what a Long Term Plan is all about. If subdivisions are granted and sections are available (and they will be), people will come, buy, build and stay. The old saying “build it and they will come” is generally true but sometimes it happens when the town is not ready for it. That makes Mangawhai Central timely indeed. Once construction starts it will bring another wave of contractors and, therefore, jobs and also more commercial activity from and for peripheral businesses, and economic growth. 

That of course means more infrastructure especially in the area of roading which, dare I say it, makes a local quarry an essential service, and whether roads are sealed or still metal the demand is there and must be filled. The Council is currently grappling with the Long Term Plan. Where do we head in the next three to ten years? It could easily take a couple of years to carve through the red tape that currently binds Mangawhai Central. What are the priorities in both the east and the west which will benefit Kaipara as a region? What will be, for example, rating implications? 

Public consultation is nigh. We all have different views on these aspects but one interesting thing I was drawn towards was the fact that at all public meetings of any persuasion the attendees were almost entirely grey-headed: baby boomers looking for a cause. While these are the people with life experience, it’s interesting that, in the twilight of their lives, they want to be worried about a new golf course, a wastewater system, the fairy terns, mangroves, parking at the surf beach or whether road speed across the Causeway should be 80kmh or reduced to 50kmh. The long-term future ultimately rests with the 30-40-year-olds I feel, yet, while the oldies are embroiled in, often, quite heated debate over seemingly mundane issues, the 30-40-year-olds are home reading their kids bedtime stories, serving on the PTA or are out fishing or working long hours. Any long term plan to people of that age is entirely centred around putting food on the table and paying the mortgage. 

It’s an interesting scenario isn’t it, and one, I suspect, which has never really changed throughout the ages. However with our parliamentary leaders across the board being the youngest in New Zealand history, perhaps that is the start of a major change. 

Just my opinion.

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