Transforming Taitoko/Levin – Levin Town Centre Strategy

Feedback closed on 25 May 2018, 04:00 PM

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The existing town centre faces the same challenges as many of New Zealand’s towns and cities, including potentially earthquake-prone buildings and limited transport options. Our town centre faces the added challenge that it may be bypassed by an expressway in the near future.

This gives us a unique opportunity to reimagine what the town centre should look like and how the space can be used.

The Levin Town Centre has a key role in supporting the regional economy and local employment. It is also a fundamental component to attracting and supporting the growth of our District.

We created a Draft Strategy called Transforming Taitoko/Levin. The strategy sets out factors we see as likely to influence the future of the town centre, as well as ‘The Big Six’ considerations set out below:

  1. Town Centre Activity
  2. Spatial Orientation
  3. Potentially Earthquake-Prone Buildings
  4. State Highway 1 Bypass
  5. Transport Options
  6. Town Centre Identity.

Feedback on the Draft Strategy closed on Friday, 25 May 2018.

Why do we need a strategy?

Levin is changing. In the next decade, the change will accelerate. This has occurred for many reasons including the construction of the Wellington Northern Motorway, tougher laws around earthquake-prone buildings and increased immigration. Growth may accelerate further if a bypass of Levin is built.

With this in mind, Council called in experts from Boffa Miskell and put an internal team together to look at how all these things might affect our town centre, and how we can take a leadership role to help the change be for the good of the wider community.

That led to the development of the Town Centre Strategy, and in 2016 we went to the community to ask what people thought of it. We took that feedback onboard and created the current document.

So, what will the strategy do?

It will mostly act as a guide to Council and the private sector – the people who own shops, those who design and build retail outlets. The strategy also includes actions for the next five years – these actions will, in turn, lead to significant changes.

What are the potential actions?

The actions include:

  • changes to the District Plan, including the potential creation of a ‘development zone’ to enable a variety of new development in the town centre
  • transferring some Council-owned properties to the recently established Horowhenua New Zealand Trust for development opportunities
  • enabling the development of the Levin Memorial Hall (if agreed to following the Long Term Plan process)
  • working with private landowners and developers to realise opportunities
  • working with Muaūpoko to ensure our town recognises where we have come from
  • working with NZTA to make sure Oxford Street is as safe as it can be, whether the bypass is built or not.

What does Council want to know?

We need to hear your thoughts and opinions on the strategy. Have we got it right? Are we missing something? Should we put more emphasis on one thing over another?

How much will my rates rise?

Not all projects will be delivered by Council and the ones that will be, will need to be scoped and budgeted for – this process will occur once the current consultation process has been completed – the budgets will be incorporated into a Long Term Plan Amendment next year or the year after and go through a consultation process.

What are you doing to prepare for growth?

  • We’re building in some capacity to respond to the anticipated growth and to help us be more resilient.
  • The Horowhenua New Zealand Trust has been established to deliver development projects across the District.
  • We are in the final stages of the District Plan Change 2 which will allow for intensification of housing in Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach and Shannon.
  • We recently consulted on the Draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy, which identifies areas of rural land for future residential and commercial areas.

What about the proposed expressway?

Ultimately, this project is a NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) project, and they have indicated that a four-lane expressway is preferred and if this is agreed to then a bypass of Levin would be required.

However, central government have not confirmed timing to construct it. Meanwhile, Council officers are working hard in the background on this project to help ensure our District can take advantage of the opportunities it presents. The second round of NZTA consultation is now complete and it is expected that the Board of NZTA will announce a preferred corridor in the middle of this year.

How do I find out more about the Levin Town Centre Strategy?

Come along to our pop-up session in the carpark at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō from Thursday, 26 April to Friday, 18 May 2018.

How much time do I have?

Consultation is open until 4pm on 25 May 2018.

What happens to my feedback?

Your feedback will be included in a report to Council; it will also be used to help finalise the draft Transforming Taitoko Levin Town Centre Strategy. That strategy document will then go to Council for consideration and adoption.

Can I write feedback for a group I belong to?

Yes, however, you need approval from your group to do this on their behalf.