February 2010 Newsletter

  • ARC pledges $2million
  • Consent granted to start Long Bay Structure Plan
  • What the Society has achieved so far
  • ARC resolution in response to the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society presentation
  • Still Fighting the Battle – the Long Bay Court Case goes on!

Here we are already well into the New Year and there is much to report.

ARC pledges $2million

In our newsletter of November last year we urged as many of you as possible to come and support our presentation to the Parks and Heritage Committee of the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) requesting councillors’ support towards purchasing Area D on the ridge that you see on the approach to Long Bay Regional Park. Your large and ever aithful presence paid off, and we were elated that the ARC so generously pledged $2 million. (See resolution further down page.)

We greatly appreciate the ARC’s recognition of the importance of this piece of land in protecting the backdrop to the southern end of the Park. We also appreciate the supportive role that the North Shore City Council (NSCC) played in securing that ARC pledge. So big bouquets to the ARC, the NSCC and to all those who have supported us in success. It is a wonderful result and negotiations with the owners of the land, the Todd Property Group, for the purchase of Area D have now proceeded.

Consent granted to start Long Bay Structure Plan

You may have read in the newspapers that reso urce consent has been granted for work to begin on the first stage of the Long Bay Structure Plan. Thi s means that the first steps of the new development have started. At this stage, earthworks will be confined to part of the wetland area near the entrance to the Park with the formation of siltation ponds and laying the foundation for the Beach Road extension. We are pleased to let you know that the land for which resource consent has been granted for preliminary earthworks does not include Area D.

What the Society has achieved so far

We are all very sad to see that start of the development. We have worked very hard to protect this land from the time that the urban limit was moved and the land in question rezoned to become residential in 1996. Indeed, this was the impetus of the Society – to see this land become part of the existing Regional Park . Although the Society was not successful in protecting all the land that was originally envisaged – the only way to protect it all, once the land was rezoned, was to purchase it and this would have been much too costly by then – the Society was hugely influential in the NSCC’s purchase of land at Piripiri Point, and the ARC’s purchase of further hectares on the eastern slope of Awaruku Ridge and at Granny’s Bay. The Society was also successful in working with the ARC and NSCC through the Environment Court in protecting further land bordering the Park from development. Fiona has provided an update on Environment Court issues elsewhere in this newsletter.

The Society can be very proud of its achievements so far.

AGM and invitation to new members

You will see the agenda for the upcoming Annual General Meeting. We have a very hard-working committee, but we sadly lost one of our longest st anding, Beth Burns, during the year. Some others of our committee are considering standing down.

ARC resolution in response to the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society presentation on 2nd December 2009.

a) That the report be received.
b) That the Parks and Heritage Committee recommend that the Council approve in principle a financial grant cont ribution of $2,000,000 from the 2009/10 Annual Plan park acquisition budget towards the acquisition of approximately 4.8 hectares of land adjacent to the western edge of the Long Bay Heritage Protection area, otherwise known as Area D.
c) That the formal award of the financial grant for the acquisition of approximately 4.8 hectares of land adjacent to the western edge of the Long Bay Heritage Protection area, otherwise known as Area D, is subject to the approval of the Auckland Transition Authority.
d) That the formal award of any financial grant to contribute to the acquisition of area D is conditional upon a trust being formed by the Okura Great Park Society and raising the remaining balance of the purchase price to secure this land in public ownership and is available until 30 June 2010.
e) That the Chair of the Parks and Heritage Committee and the General Manager Parks meet with North Shore City Council to discuss options for progressing the acquisition of land on the south eastern edge of the Okura River, and that the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society be invited to attend.
f) That the Okura Great Park Society trustees are advised of these resolutions and that the resolutions be restated in public.

It looks as though the next year will be just as busy as ever, and we do welcome new members on to the committee. Please consider your availability and the skills and time you may be able
to give. If you are not able or willing to be a committee member, but have skills or time for particular tasks or projects, please let us know your availability for this too. We welcome all
help and support.

Thank you to all our members and supporters – membership fees now due
As you are aware, keeping our Society functioning requires some funding. This has been met by your membership fees and your generous donations. As mentioned in other newsletters, we never cease to be amazed at the contributions you make – some small, some large, all helpful and much appreciated.

It is now the beginning of the membership year, and we urge you all to support us once again for another year. If you know of others who wish to become members, we welcome them too.

You will see in this newsletter too that we have our first fundraising film for the year Bright Star. It has had some excellent reviews and promises another enjoyable evening for those who
can come. You may need to be quick to get a ticket as our shows often sell out early.

It was a very productive year last year and we anticipate another busy year to come. Thank you to all for your interest, your passion and your ongoing support and loyalty.

Kind regards
Chris Bettany

Bright Star
A Jane Campion romance drama not to be missed.
Bridgeway – Sunday 7th March 6pm
Tickets from Jennifer 473-6847 $15
Be there ..

Still Fighting the Battle – the Long Bay Court Case goes on!

As you are aware the Great Park Society returned to Court late last year to present evidence on aspects of the Long Bay Environment Court case still under dispute between the parties. These issues focused particularly around the Heritage Protection Area (HPA) on the Awaruku Ridge, and the Granny’s Bay buffer area.

While the Court has decided that the HPA cannot be built upon and the heritage sites in this area are to be protected, there is still disagreement between the parties regarding the legal mechanism for protecting and managing the area. There is also argument about whether the HPA is able to be subdivided, and whether the farm manager’s house and the labourer’s house (located near the Regional Park’s visitor centre) are allowed to be subdivided off and potentially sold. Also discussed was the provision of view shafts from within the new subdivision on the Awaruku Ridge, over the HPA through the houses adjoining it.

Regarding the Granny’s Bay and Homestead Ridge buffers, there is disagreement as to the extent of the area behind Granny’s Bay that needs to be protected from seeing houses in the new development. The Todd Property Group is arguing for less visual protection of Regional Park and Piripiri Reserve in this area, while the Society believes it is vital that the ambience of these parks be preserved.

Another debate is the wording of the Long Bay Structure Plan text package which outlines the rules for the subdivision. The Society has concerns that the rules are not detailed enough and are open to interpretation in such a way that it could jeopardize the protection of areas that the Court determined to protect.

The Court is now considering the evidence on the matters put forward by all the parties. The Society understands that the Court will be carrying out a site visit soon, and then will then make a determination. The decision is expected in March. If the decision is released soon, it may be available at our next general meeting if you would like to come to hear all about it.

Many of you will have seen the article in the local papers reporting that approval has been given by the North Shore City Council for preliminary earthworks on the Awaruku wetlands to allow for the Beach Road extension and stormwater ponds. Unfortunately the North Shore City Council has approved the resource consent as these works are located in areas of the Structure Plan that have already been agreed by the Court.

A commission appointed by the North Shore City Council will hear the next resource application submitted by Todd Property Group that, we understand, is to carry out earthworks for constructing shear keys (retaining walls) at the base of the southern Awaruku slopes. The hearing is scheduled for 9.30am on the 2ndMarch, Meeting Room 3, Level 3, in the main North Shore City Council building beside the Library in Takapuna.

This hearing is open to the public and you are welcome to attend, however note that we do not have the right to address the commissioners. The hearing may possibly run for three days.

Fiona McLaughlin

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