Community interest and enthusiasm for the city’s newest neighbourhood saw close to 1000 people visit a southeast Hamilton and Peacocke information expo on Wednesday 3 April.
The ‘Your Neighbourhood’ event, one of a series of Hamilton City Council interactive open days, was held at Te Waananga o Aotearoa in Glenview and the turnout delighted Council’s Peacocke Programme Manager Karen Saunders.
“Our planning for Peacocke is enabling a new community which 9000 new Hamiltonians will call home in the next 10 years,” Karen says.
“This is more than just infrastructure, this is about new homes and families. We’re planning for all the things that are important to new and current residents – managing traffic, looking after the environment, providing the water and wastewater supplies and making sure we retain our green spaces and play areas for families.”
Those key outcomes were echoed in visitor views through the afternoon and evening, with Sophie Tuhura, a Glenview resident of 10 years, describing the city’s growth as ‘mindblowing.’
“I love Glenview because it has everything here, and also the peace and quiet. I came along to see what progress is being made and it’s mind-blowing how this area has changed since its humble beginnings,” Sophie said.
“Today is absolutely marvellous and we should have more of these sessions so the community can come and get informed and get the right information.”
Fellow Glenview resident Liz Spackman said the information on hand was great:
“We came along as I wanted an update on Peacocke and was aware of the development along Dixon Rd in recent years. Certainly seen some big changes since when we first moved in and it was market gardens around here. Today was great to have people on hand to ask questions, look at maps and ask what’s happening and help us understand how soon everything will happen.”
Around 50 staff and representatives from many different areas of the Council and partner agencies were on hand through the event to answer questions and provide information on topics as diverse as the new bridge over the Waikato River, new and improved roading networks, bus services, walking and cycling connections, education, parks, waters services, elections, civil defence and projects to look after the area’s critically endangered long-tail bats.
Providing a hub for a wide range of information pleased Melville’s Tony Purcell.
“We came along wanting to know what’s happening in our area around Kahikatea Dr, particularly for transport and housing. It’s been brilliant to get more information and have everyone in the same spot,” Tony said.
One of the highlights for many visitors was a virtual reality (VR) display which let people view the Peacocke of today and the Peacocke of tomorrow through a virtual flyover of the area. Popping the VR goggles on and being able to ‘look around’ the future neighbourhood was a favourite for many, including the Stringer family of Glenview. Dad Dean and daughter Paige had a great time looking into the future and the stand was among the busiest of the event.
A series of maps showing the connections to the new bridge across the river and the planned roading network linking the city to Peacocke was a huge drawcard. A key question for many was how the investment in Peacocke will help with congestion and traffic flows in the southwest area now.
Joan Limmer, a Melville resident for 30 years, shared the views of many when she said “The reason I came along is because I wanted to find out what development is happening in my area. I like where I live and want to make sure people living in older areas aren’t forgotten about especially with traffic and housing.”
Peacocke Programme Manager Karen Saunders says the Your Neighbourhood event was everything she hoped it would be.
“Peacocke is about people, not just plans. Being able to share the enthusiasm for this project with families and individuals who will be part of it was incredibly valuable,” Karen says.
“I’d like to thank all those who joined us yesterday and we’re already looking forward to the next one towards the end of the year – although we may have to think about hiring more space!”
Feedback forms on the day allowed people to ask additional questions and sign up to a mailing list for updates on the project and the Council is following up on hundreds of comments, suggestions and enquiries from the event.