Category Archives: Economics

Development Contributions (DC) higher density traffic bonus

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Looking at the statement in the Outline of significant changes to the Development Contribution Policy 2018/19 – Page 5

“Under the existing policy some high-density developments received a discount for placing lesser demand on the Council’s services – but in fact placed demand equivalent to those of larger dwellings”

Note the key word change here is “high-density” in the proposed DC policy reports, whereas it was “higher density” in previous DC policy. When it comes to traffic in Hamilton, increasing (higher) density cannot be said to place equivalent demands on roading infrastructure as lower density areas. The graph below shows the wider Nawton area population trend line increasing at a steeper angle than the local traffic trends line.

What is being suggested in the new DC policy is that the location of a suburban stand-alone 3-bedroom dwelling on a 650m2 section places an equivalent demand on services as a 3-bedroom dwelling in a higher-density urban area. This is where the definition of “high-density” may be clouding assumptions. It is possible that high-density (such as High Rise) has greater costs than suburban density, but urban density is debatable.

The traditional traffic assumption is that a new suburban “3-bedroom dwelling equals 10 traffic movements per day”. The proposed 2018 DC policy (p42) for 2-bedroom and 1-bedroom dwellings uses “Residential Conversion Factors – Two Bedroom – Factor = 0.689 & One Bedroom – Factor = 0.477” (p41), which rounds up to 7 and 5 traffic movements per day respectively.

This next graph measures, as percentages, the wider Hamilton East area population growth vs traffic actual vs traffic predicted.

The above graph includes the actual and predicted Ruakura/Peachgrove intersection counts. We should note that the development of Hilda Ross retirement village occurred around 2002, quickly followed by Ruakura/Peachgrove/Wairere road building. Once the construction work force left this area, traffic movements evaporated to a level below that in 2002, despite the 200-plus dwellings having been built at Hilda Ross village for about 450 people (census mesh block 0896002 & 0896402). Yet at its gate is an oversized road designed to cater for predicted phantom trips (see below for predicted traffic), which by design has a negative/deadly impact on safety for weaker road users in the area.

To Summarise: the wider Hamilton east area’s density increased from around 1,900 people per km2 (ppkm2) in 2001 to 2,200 ppkm2 in 2013. For Hilda Ross village, which is dominated by smaller dwellings, there is a population density of over 5,000 ppkm2. However, a negative effect on traffic movements appears to be measureable. Like the assumptions used to predict the 80,000 vpd for 2026, the 0.477 factor for 1 bedroom homes is an assumption, not a fact.

For more on one-bedroom dwellings, Hamilton City Library has Kol Peterson’s book Backdoor Revolution: The Definitive Guide to [Accessory Dwelling Unit] ADU Development

The following excerpt is from Chapter 9: Impacts on a City

“Space efficiency and location efficiency – In general … neighbourhoods that are walk-able, bike-able, or transit oriented … Residents in such neighbourhoods will tend to have dramatically fewer vehicle miles travelled in a year than US residents living elsewhere.”

Reference: Ruakura Peachgrove Noise AECOM Nov 2009 – page 84 – Table 9: Predicted 2026 Upgraded Traffic Volumes


Hamilton water to wastewater spend 2018/19

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Disclaimer: the numbers used in this post come from council fund project lists. It looks to me that the way people analyse the counting changes, also my data is copy and type, not copy and paste. So please do a check;

In the briefing note for the Council meeting on Wed 6th Dec 2017 – 2018-28 10-year Plan – page 172: The funded Capital Programme spend on wastewater and water for the plan for 2018-28 was $457,508,506. The 27 March Council Report Attachment 8 Draft Capital Projects List 12-3-18 (D2625967) spend totals $592,820,000; a 29% increase in just 3 months.

The 10-Year Plan 2018-28 Consultation Document (page 11) puts water at $285m & wastewater at $358m, totalling $643,000,000. This post uses funded project lists for benchmarking, see end of post for examples from 1999-2019, 2009-19 & 2012-12.

Back last century, Hamilton’s Strategic plan 1999-2019 budget for year 2018/19 (page 70 & 71) approved a budget for water $4,274,000, wastewater $2,954,000: total $7,228,000 ($10,788,392 inflation added).
Looking back a decade, in the 2009-19 long term plan the spending for year 2018/19 on wastewater and water was $20,167,000 ($23,252,760 inflation added) compared to the latest plan for year 2018/19 of $72,319,000 which is an increase of over 200%.

Year 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2018-25
Long Term Plan $000 $000 $000 $000 $000
1999-19 $10,788
2009/19 $23,253
2012/22 $31,894 $31,740 $32,654 $24,494
2015/25 $243,781 75% Increase
2018/28 $72,319 $90,311 $73,974 $58,923 $427,917

The numbers above shown as single years don’t give a balanced picture, as long term plans are rewritten  and projects’ funding dates change, so below I’ve graphed each long term plan’s budgeted total 10 year spend on Water and Wastewater as single $k values along with population data, and the future population council is planning for as stated in the 2018/28 long term plan.

What I’m seeing is a growth plan that pulls the trend line up away from population growth, but even more concerning is the accelerating cost of adding new water/wastewater infrastructure.

The challenge of ‘Deciding where our next big housing area will be’ should not be about pushing the city wider and wider; it is about when do we start looking at slimming existing properties that are close to existing shopping and service centres, so that they are used more frequently and their efficiency will rise.

Link to Former 10-Year Plans

Examples of project list I’m using for benchmarking.