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New recreational development on the cards for Te Kowhai

Waikato District Council is planning to serve the growing community of Te Kowhai and the surrounding area with more public space for recreational and sporting activities.

Council has bought 757 Ngaruawahia Road, Te Kowhai with an eye to developing the area into a multi-use community park with sports fields, a fenced dog park, and a carpark with walking connections to Te Otamanui Walkway down Coombes Road.

“The area comprises 23.7 hectares of flat, rural land located just 1.7km from Te Kowhai Village and provides sufficient space for a number of opportunities over time,” says Anthony Averill, Acting Deputy General Manager – Service Delivery at Waikato District Council.

“As part of our planning process, consideration will be given to extending the Te Otamanui walkway from the village centre which currently ends at Coombes Road. This will make the development more accessible, enabling walking and cycling options.”

While there is not currently a concept plan for the site, Council has a budget of $1,512,781 for the design, consent, and development of the area within the 2023/24 financial year.

“The budget for the next financial year will allow us to start planning and consent processes, as well as deliver stage one of the development, including a concept plan, which is due to get under way in the second half of 2023.

“We will be seeking feedback from the community as we work through the design process.”

The need for such a development comes from recent growth trends within the Te Kowhai area, as well as the wider Waikato district.

“Since 2013, the population in Te Kowhai has jumped from 1686 people to 2219 people. This growth is expected to continue between 2025 and 2030, with estimations shooting up from 2278 people in 2025, to 3292 people in 2030,” Anthony says.

At this stage Council will continue to work on next steps, including community engagement, a detailed traffic safety assessment, and assessments for connectivity to Te Otamanui Walkway in order to develop a concept plan.

Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church says that this purchase is a great accomplishment and the first step in Council’s plans to enhance recreational opportunities in Te Kowhai and surrounding villages.

“Council has been extremely supportive of the acquisition of this land as it gives us the opportunity to explore environmentally sustainable design outcomes with the local community,” she says.

“Council has a focus on promoting physical and mental wellbeing through active recreation, where the long-term positive benefits are far reaching within our communities. This fantastic acquisition will help fulfil Council’s goal of creating liveable, thriving, and connected communities.

“Local councillors Janet Gibb and Eugene Patterson agree, and they look forward to hearing the community’s views to help guide Council to create an area that can be enjoyed by everyone as the park develops over time.”