The Whangarei District Council has announced a proposed plan change to the Whangarei District Plan to make Kamo more appealing for foot traffic, following the findings presented from the Kamo Place Race initiative, which began in February.
Plan Change 120 – Kamo Walkability Environment (KWE), which was announced on 01 July 2014 seeks to introduce an ‘Environment’ (zone) and three ‘Precincts’ to the Operative District Plan and will include objectives for the Environment, objectives, policies and rules for the Precincts, and updated District Plan maps.
KWE is generally defined as ‘the walkable catchment around the Kamo commercial centre, and contains a Primary and Secondary Pedestrian Network’.
As part of Council’s rolling review of the District Plan, those urban areas experiencing the most rapid change have been identified as “change areas”. Kamo is one of these “change areas” and the first to have community consultation through the “Kamo Place Race”.
In a New Zealand first, Whangarei District Council hosted the Place Race – a fast-track community discussion and planning process to help revitalise the village – at the end of February 2014.
The aim was firstly to update the zoning rules in relation to Kamo, and also to have a five-day conversation with the community about what they identified as issues and ideas for the village.
As reported in the Northern Advocate on 06 March, a week following the event, giant fish bowl, ice-skating rink and ‘Welcome to Kamo’ sign were among the ideas put forward in the Place Race.
The most surprising outcome, however, was the high number of locals who indicated they walked into Kamo’s shopping precinct – around half of those surveyed travelled by foot, making parking less of an issue than had previously been thought. The survey also found most people were coming in to Kamo for community facilities firstly, followed by shopping and for services such as banking.
The proposed plan change is the first outcome from the Kamo Place Race, which continues to generate ideas and discussion for the area. Less concrete, more green and more places to sit, dine and hold community events are also high on the locals’ wish list.
The Kamo Place Race won the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) 2014 Web and Digital Award for Best Use of Social Media for the Kamo Place Race initiative.