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What is an ‘open space’?
A space under the control of Rotorua Lakes Council, set apart for public recreation purpose inclusive of recreation reserves, freehold land, drainage reserves, esplanade strips and reserves, court, alley, lakeside reserves, cycle track and road reserves used for public recreation, excluding exclusive leased land.
Why does Rotorua need a policy?
The proposed Policy will provide a framework to help Council determine open space requirements for new developments. The Policy will also help guide assessments of the existing open space network to ensure they meet a determined level of service for the community. It is important to ensure this framework is in place now and ready for the level of growth that is expected in the future for residential developments within the district.
The Policy will also align with the work that Council and various community partners are doing to plan for the future of Rotorua by creating thriving communities that enhance the wellbeing of our people. A key part of creating thriving communities is ensuring residents have access to open space and recreation areas, providing a diverse range of experiences for people to enjoy.
What is in the policy?
The draft Policy sets out a number of objectives that align with Vision 2030 for Rotorua, the Rotorua Spatial Plan, the Homes and Thriving Communities Strategic Framework and other strategies. The Policy also covers specific standards for the level of service that open spaces should meet. The level of service standards in the Policy include accessibility, quality, quantity, accessibility and function. The level of service standards can be applied to both the existing open space network and future development areas.
What are the main objectives of the Policy?
The proposed Policy identifies the following objectives for the open space network:
- It is accessible to all,
- It is connected with neighbourhoods and places people want to go,
- It is protected and enhanced,
- It is something Rotorua can be proud of,
- It will deliver great outcomes in partnership with Te Arawa and the wider community.
What are the four levels of service standard?
- Quality standards – what our open spaces should look and feel like.
- Quantity standards – how much open space we should have.
- Accessibility standards – how far people should have to travel to get to an open space.
- Function standards – the range of experiences the open space network provides.
Does this mean my local neighbourhood reserve could change?
If adopted, an Open Space Level of Service Policy would enable Council to assess all open spaces against the same standards, regardless of location. That could mean some open spaces could be marked for a lift in the level of service. It also means Council could look at areas, where the open spaces network is well above agreed level of service for quantity, for potential development or change of use.
Who is being consulted?
Consultation is open to the public from Wednesday 18 November 2020 to Wednesday 16 November 2020 to provide feedback on the draft Policy. Council will also look to engage directly with affected parties such as mana whenua groups and developers.
What work has RLC done to talk to the community?
The Policy aligns with objectives set out in the district’s Vision 2030 plan as well as the Sport and Recreation Strategy and the Homes and Thriving Communities Strategic Framework – both of which have had significant community input. Following the adoption of the draft Policy the community now has an opportunity to provide feedback.
Does this mean I can request that my local reserve is upgraded?
This Policy is not an action plan for reserves upgrades or what playgrounds need replacing. Council already does that work as part of its reserve management planning and annual renewals programme. Reserve Management Plans are community documents that set out the desired range of uses for a specific reserve or group of reserves. The renewal programme is sets through Councils Long Term Plan process and identifies which assets will be replaced. Generally assets are prioritised for replacement/renewal based on quality and/or safety.
What this Policy will do is provide Council with a standardised framework that can be used to measure all open spaces against based on their function. It will also enable Council to have clear requirements for any future open spaces. The framework can be applied to new developments as our district grows.