Growing Hamilton On the Move

Rail and transport progress outlined

All aboard, courtesy of our friends at Waikato Regional Council

Progress on Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail and roading signage was outlined at yesterday’s Hamilton City Council Growth and Infrastructure committee meeting.

Councillors were told a detailed business case for a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service was due to go before the NZ Transport Agency board for sign off on 5 October. The Government, the Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport support a start-up service and working with all stakeholders to present a good business case. The Council’s role will be to provide a new rail platform and a park and ride facility at Rotokauri (the Council has allocated funding in its 10-year plan for this work).

Signage for key routes in and around the city – including for the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway, the Ring Road and the Thermal Explorer route – was also agreed at the meeting.

A verbal briefing from the Transport Agency’s Safety and Environment Director Harry Wilson covered a range of subjects. This included the need to manage risk on Hamilton and Waikato roads through safe and appropriate speed limits which were aligned across the roading network by neighbouring councils and the Transport Agency. Committee chair Cr Dave Macpherson said the five road deaths in the city so far this year “indicate a need to do more on the road safety front in Hamilton”, which has a long-term vision of no road deaths in the city.

Councillors also used the meeting to indicate areas of interest or concern in the proposed Amberfield development in the city’s south-east (Peacocke). The development involves creating 862 sections within 105 hectares of land between Peacockes Rd and the Waikato River. The site, once completed, is expected to be home to more than 2000 people. Two consent applications have been made to the Council in relation to the project.

Councillors area of interest at the meeting included: housing density and quality, the width of the riverside esplanade, traffic access and routes, cycling and walking options, efficient rubbish and recycling, good emergency access and public transport infrastructure.

The partly Council-funded Hamilton and Waikato Tourism (HWT) outlined a range of regional gains in its annual report for the year to 30 June, including a six per cent increase in annual visitor spend, a 10.6% share of conventions and business events (third behind Auckland and Wellington) and improved visitor awareness and perceptions. Visitor nights, while not growing as fast as hoped, were still up 3.9% compared to 2.9% nationally. HWT chief executive Jason Dawson noted more people were staying in Hamilton to use it as a travel base or avoid congestion in Auckland. HWT’s annual report said the industry now contributed $1.53B to the regional economy, the fifth highest visitor expenditure behind Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. Domestic visitors spend $1.16B while international visitors contribute $365M, the report said.

A report covering the first half of calendar 2018 from the Hamilton Central Business Association (HCBA) said latest quarterly data showed a positive retail spend in the central business district (CBD) building on 2017 results, which saw a 2.7% increase in the central city retail spend. Retail and office vacancy rates were steady.

  • This release is for information only and shouldn’t be viewed as meeting minutes. Resolutions from the meeting will be online at this link at the end of Wednesday 5 September.
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