Ed Said - Mangawhai Central: Good things take time
Just last week I interrupted the busy schedule of Andrew Guest, property manager for Viranda Holdings, for a brief and casual chat as to progress of the Mangawhai Central project.
The public meetings held locally last year had been attended to the point of standing room only which, in itself, was a good sign of widespread community interest. Mr Guest showed concept plans of the development and also elicited and answered questions from the audience. Naturally different people have differing views on the composition of the project, the intensity of buildings and residential area, and also the ecological footprint which, attendees were assured, would be a major consideration as the project progressed.
Some have commented on social media that it was all quiet on the ‘Central’ front but Mr Guest assured me they haven’t been standing still. Simply put, he said, there is a process to follow and this is an undertaking on which no corners can be cut. As with any major project there are plan changes which, in themselves, may lead to others regarding access and safety issues including the planning of a roundabout, each one requiring time to develop and then the necessary consents that allow progress to continue.
He was complimentary about the company relationship with Kaipara District Council noting, like many Councils, they were under-resourced in some planning areas. However with earthworks consents being granted just prior to Christmas he expected equipment to be on site in a little over a month when civil works may begin the shaping of the precinct in terms of contouring, roading configuration and the preparation of building sites. He said once on site, the machinery would then remain until the job was completed.
We should note that the community has been appraised of and involved in this process from day one and at this point the company has only owned the land for eleven months so progress has been steady with a number of people working diligently behind the scenes. With the Christmas break now behind them Mr Guest said it had been a very busy few weeks for Mangawhai Central’s management team being focused on the engineering and civil planning consent requirements of the project and have also been working with appointed real estate agency Bayleys to release 18 light industrial sites of Stage 1 to the market. However he emphasised that the project was not dependent on the sale of these sites for it to progress.
Good things do take time and it is important to complete all due processes to ensure that once underway, there are no roadblocks causing unnecessary delays. Having all ducks in a row also reduces the possibility of disruption to the community and allows smooth progress. Mangawhai Central is a significant undertaking for both developers and the community with both standing to make considerable long term gains through employment opportunities, services and on a commercial basis – all important elements for a growing community. Everything must be completed in a compliant manner.
Mr Guest also told me that in one to two months he will look towards calling a further community meeting by which time the project will be significantly closer to reality than concept.
I think, deep down, we’re all quite excited about the prospect of a new ‘town’. Sure, there will be some complaints about noise and dust and the Insley Street bridge will need to be fully operational for handling big loads as the job progresses, but put simply ‘if you want to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs’.
There are several major items that figure in the history of Mangawhai such as the building of the Causeway which has been the embodiment of the Village and the Heads, the ‘Big Dig’ which gave Mangawhai its iconic harbour, and now Mangawhai Central which, in time, will rest alongside other historical events in the growth of our town.