The Village Planning Programme is Porirua City Council’s (PCC) innovative programme to encourage community participation and empowerment. It started operating in 2003 when the city had only four Residents’ Associations. In 2006, Pukerua Bay became one of the first communities to develop a Village Plan. Porirua now has fourteen community groups, each with a plan of its own.
One of the Programme’s fundamental principles is that the plans must be created out of widespread community consultation. They should never just be a vehicle for a Residents’ Association Committee’s pet projects. We’ve consulted widely for every plan, and it’s resulted in some amazing new amenities for Pukerua Bay.
COVID-19 response report
With the COVID-19 lock down in 2020, people throughout our community reached out to help their neighbours. Some of us formed a group to create an organised response. We asked you what you thought about this, and that information has now been used to help write a report about “lessons learned”. We can use those lessons to help us revise our Village Plan. You can read the report here:
Previous village plans
What have we got from Village Planning?
Did you know that our wonderful skate park was a Village Planning project, the initiative of a group of keen young skaters? The old bowl was unusable, but the kids knew it could be made into something special. They developed a plan and petitioned the Residents’ Association to put it into the first Village Plan. Then they worked with a designer to create a new design, got parents on board to find funding, and worked with PCC to get it built.
When you’re sitting on the seats in the grassy dell near the Pou Tangaroa, you’re sitting on what used to be a car park. Locals worked with PCC to get rid of the asphalt, landscape the beachfront, and plant hundreds of trees to stabilise the cliffs. The wooden steps down the Goat Track also came from Village Planning funding.
The permanent marine protection measures were the result of the support the community gave to Ngāti Toa Rangitira’s application for legal protection. The relationship between Ngāti Toa, the beach and marine environment, and the community, is honoured and celebrated in the Pou Tangaroa carved by Hermann Salzmann. This was another Village Plan initiative.
The Food Forest was another Village Planning project. It now has a full head of steam, supported by an enthusiastic group of gardeners.
He Ara Pukerua has spent countless hours collating the history of Pukerua Bay and working with PCC to erect displays that teach us about our past. The display boards at the train station and beach, and the numerous information bollards, are all evidence of their work and the support of PCC’s Village Planning team and funding.
The footpath and extra lighting along Muri Road were also a Village Planning project, prompted by the closure of Muri Station. Residents were consulted and directed the final form of safer access.
Have your say on a new Village Plan
It’s time to develop a new Plan, and we need to look forward. The strong message we’ve got from residents is that we need to look much further into the future. Past plans have had a five-year horizon. People have told us that’s not long enough. We agree.
There are many changes coming our way – more residential development to the south, population growth across the city, the opening of Transmission Gully, the popularity of Te Araroa walkway, sea level rise and climate change affecting the foreshore, and economic and social changes across Aotearoa.
These changes are coming over the next 20–30 years, and we want to capture them in the next Village Plan. We want to think well into the future, and to think broadly about what our village could be like. What do we want to preserve of our existing community, and how do we want to take advantage of the opportunities coming our way?