Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to approve Papa Ahuareka o Kirikiriroa – Hamilton Open Spaces Strategy 2023–2053 at yesterday’s (18 April 2023) Community and Natural Environment Committee meeting. The strategy aims to create a well-connected network of high-quality, inclusive, safe, and fun open spaces that are a taonga (treasure) for current and future communities.
Unit Director of Parks and Recreation Maria Barrie said the strategy will provide high-level direction on how we manage and enhance our open spaces into the future.
“Hamilton has a wide range of green, blue, and grey open spaces for our communities to enjoy – from local parks and playgrounds to destinations like the Hamilton Gardens and the lake,” she said.
Council looks after about 1160ha of green open space alone, such as parks and gullies. This strategy drives Council to consider the connection between our open spaces, planning better connection between these green spaces with blue open spaces like the Waikato Awa (river) and Lake Rotoroa, as well as grey open spaces like Garden Place and Victoria on the River, streets, and cycleways to maximise the benefits for our community.
It outlines four outcome areas that identify where Council will focus its attention to achieve the vision, centred around celebrating the culture and history of areas, creating spaces that meet the diverse needs of our communities, preserving and increasing our biodiversity, and maintaining and improving the network.
Community and Natural Environment Committee Chair Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf said the Strategy will put an emphasis on creating open spaces that respond to the needs of the surrounding growing communities as well as the needs of the environment.
“The wellbeing of Hamiltonians is at the heart of everything we do,” she said. “As we introduce higher density living, creating outdoor spaces for our people that align with our Open Spaces Strategy will improve the hauora – the overall health and wellbeing – of our communities, and the health of our environment.
“Having this strategy in place will make sure we are always looking at how we can improve this, especially as our city continues to grow and diversify, our housing intensifies, and as we action our climate response.”
The Strategy will provide Council with a 30-year vision for open space provision across Hamilton Kirikiriroa. It will be reviewed every five years to provide the opportunity to adjust the focus as and when required.