The West Town Belt is an expansive 54ha network of parks and gully on the edge of Hamilton's central city.
A draft Masterplan has been prepared to protect and manage this important open space.
It has been developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders including mana whenua, relevant regional and central government agencies, stakeholders who lease buildings and land on the WTB as well as local businesses and residents.
Where is it?
Originally surveyed in the 1860s as a green boundary between the historic Hamilton and Frankton boroughs, the West Town Belt (WTB) stretches from Hamilton Girls' High School to Edgecumbe Park, linking the Hamilton Lake Domain to the Waikato River.
The West Town Belt retains its public recreation use today and is home to many sports and community facilities, including Seddon Park and FMG Stadium Waikato – the city's two international sports stadiums. It is also an important open space for biodiversity along the Waitawhiriwhiri Gully and includes significant heritage sites like the Whatanoa Paa and the historic Hamilton West Cemetery.
For the Council, and for the city's residents, the West Town Belt is an important public open space where events, community sports and recreation combine and intersect.
Why we are we developing the Masterplan?
Over time the WTB has become a fragmented open space including several important sites on the town belt requiring comprehensive consideration and planning. The residential population of central Hamilton is also increasing, and existing and new residents need access to quality open space.
In June 2018, the Council's Community and Services Committee directed staff to produce a masterplan for the WTB to manage its use and development over the long term.
What is the focus of the Draft Masterplan?
The preservation of the unique urban park character is at the heart of this Masterplan.
The Draft Masterplan sets out what's valued and loved most about the WTB and presents opportunities for planning and redevelopment in the future.
The purpose of the West Town Belt Masterplan is to:
- Consider the West Town Belt in an integrated manner.
- Present a clear and compelling long-term vision that reflects the values of the community and enhances the park's use and enjoyment.
- Provide a comprehensive framework to inform future decision-making.
- Unify all transport, public realm, civic projects and environmental outcomes into one plan to prioritise and coordinate the implementation of specific projects.
The Draft Masterplan includes a vision, goals and five key strategies to enhance the space. The Masterplan is broken into nine character areas which provide a focus for more specific potential developments. The projects are not currently funded, however the Masterplan would inform the Council on future decision-making.
What was our process?
The Draft Masterplan has been developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders including mana whenua. We held pre-design consultation in August 2018 during which relevant regional and central government agencies, stakeholders who lease buildings and land on the WTB and local business and residents told us:
- How they currently use the WTB.
- What they love about it.
- What could be improved.
- And their long-term future aspirations for the WTB.
It was clear from this feedback the community is passionate about the WTB and this information informed the Draft Masterplan.