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Water park, residential development proposed for old sand quarry

A disused quarry could be transformed into a mixed-use medium density community with a commercial hub, tourism and water-based adventure park if its proponents convince local authorities to rezone the land.

New Zealand’s Perry Group is seeking a planning rule change from the Hamilton City Council to convert its 62ha riverside site into its proposed Te Awa Lakes development.

The area, which would act as a northern gateway to Hamilton city, is currently classified as industrial land. However, the developers have embarked on a two week-long commissioner’s hearing process to secure a residential classification and pave the way for the five-year, billion-dollar project.

Perry Group’s vision is to turn the former sand quarry into a residential development with up to 1,000 new medium-density homes, including single family homes, terraced accommodation and apartments.

The firm has owned the land since the 1970s when Perry Aggregates Ltd was formed. The quarry closed in April 2016 after more than 20 years of operation. The former quarry status, according to the company, doesn’t lend itself to future industrial use.

If approved, the development would also feature lakes and a water-based adventure park with cable tow water skiing. It would be linked to the Waikato River and river activities, and the Te Awa Cycleway, including walking and bike trails. Cafes and restaurants, convenience shopping and modern workspaces are also planned for the community.

The proponents hope to get the project underway in 2020 with infrastructure, piping water and wastewater already in place to support the full development.

“Te Awa Lakes will be a master planned community designed to complement the existing growth strategy for the city,” Perry Group chairman Simon Perry said.

“Planning it as a single entity like this means we can ensure that every aspect of the design and construction is top notch. It also means we can be efficient with our layouts and amenity spaces, creating high quality homes on smaller lot sizes but with fantastic outlooks.

“This helps keep land and building costs down, meaning our offerings will be affordable for a wider range of families and individuals.”

According to Stuff, a key question is whether the former quarry could be used for industrial purposes, something that had been challenged by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.

In total, 42 of the 61 submissions have supported re-zoning of the quarry site.

According to Perry Group, the majority of those who originally opposed the development have changed their position in the lead up to hearings to either neutral or supportive, with only one or two major opposers left.

The hearing will also hear evidence from groups including Future Proof, Waikato Regional Council and mana whenua, who have been key stakeholders throughout the entire Te Awa Lakes process.

Te Awa Lakes would become a northern gateway to Hamilton city.

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