August 2013 Newsletter

  • Update on Auckland Unitary Plan and Long Bay
  • Proposed Okura development
  • Local body election

A big thank you to all who sent in submissions to the Auckland Council about our concerns about the draft Auckland Unitary Plan.

There must have been a large number of you, judging by the number who, when contacted, said that they most certainly supported our stance and were sending in their submission, and by the number who contacted me or other committee members for further submission forms. While all submissions are now on the Auckland Council website, we do not have an easy way offinding out actual numbers of submitters who sent in feedback about concerns that much of the work in the Environment Court to protect the unique features of Long Bay may be lost. The Society also submitted amore formal and detailed submission through our lawyer, and a copy of this is on our website. Thank you to Phil Yates for the large number of hours he put into this submission.

We would also like to thank the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chair-person, Julia Parfitt, and members who spoke out strongly to Council about the need to protect the measures formalized in the Environment Court to ensure so many protections of Long Bay in the Long Bay Structure Plan (the rules for development of the Long Bay development).

Your voice has had effect. Since the closing date of the feedback, our committee has had meetings and other contact with Council senior planning officers to try to address our concerns. Council officers told us that they also shared our concerns and wish to address the issues we have raised. However, this is a complex task and we are not yet reassured that all our
concerns will be addressed. We will likely have toseek further expert help with this before the next version of the Unitary Plan is notified. We will keep you posted on progress.

Okura Catchment

A further issue has arisen. The Society was a party to a 2003 Environment Court hearing regarding zoning in the Okura Catchment. The Court decision was that land at the upper end of the Okura Estuary could be subdivided into 2 hectare lots, but the lower area of the catchment, adjacent to the mouth of the estuary, should remain at 4 hectares. Todd Developments owns much this latter land and has shared with us their proposal to develop it much in a manner of their Long Bay development. Our Society is the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society, and although over the past few years we have concentrated our energies on Long Bay while we sought certain protections through the Environment Court in regards to urban development in this area, constitutionally we need to take an interest in Okura proposal and how it will affect the environment. It may also impact on the way in which land could become available for the Crimson Walkway, the concept of which we have strongly supported.

While our feedback to the draft Unitary Plan has supported the Okura zoning status quo, our executive believes this is an issue that our whole membership should have opportunity to have input into before we make any commitments to any particular stance. We have therefore put this on the agenda of our general meeting on the 29th of this month for further discussion.

I can say that the committee has been busy over the past few months since the draft Unitary Plan was released, and we hope that this work will bear fruit in regaining the achievements that the Society has worked so hard to gain. So thank you, thank you, all, again for your interest, your support and your active participation in the feedback process.

On a lighter note, some members of our committee hosted a visit last month to Long Bay from the committee of Friends of Regional Parks. This was a most enjoyable occasion, the sun shone, and we wereable to take them on a guided tour the extent of the Park. Our visitors were full of praise for what the Society had achieved and wished to pass on congratulations. Our Society is a member of Friends of Regional Parks and wetoo much appreciate the work that they undertake to protect the wonderful heritage of the Auckland regional park network, a legacy left to us by the former Regional Councils.

Looking forward to seeing those who can make it to our upcoming general meeting for some lively discussion.
Kind regards
Chris Bettany Convenor

Awaruku Stream Planting Day

Sunday 25 August 10.00am – 1 pm

Long Bay Regional Park Rangers have requested the Long Bay-Okura Great Park’s assistance in planting a small area, the riparian strip on the north bank of the Awaruku Stream alongside Beach Rd where the gum trees were recently felled. This is near to the entrance to the park. They have about 2000 trees to plant out.

The plan is to meet at 10.00am on Sunday 25 August near the bridge at the entrance. Wear stout footwear and bring your favourite spade, although a supply will be on hand if needed. A BBQ lunch is being provided, and gluten-free food will be available. If you cannot come for the whole time, you are welcome to come for just part of it. The more hands available, the quicker the task will be completed. All welcome. Please tell your friends and family.

Long Bay Development Update

The most obvious development since our last report is the mushrooming of large houses rising “cheek by jowl” within StageI of the subdivision on the southern flank of the Awaruku Ridge.
Major earthworks on Stages II and III in the Vaughan catchment have been suspended for the compulsory winter shut down. However following recent heavier rainfall, a significant slip has occurred on the western boundary of State I resulting in damage andevacuation of two classrooms in the adjacent Long Bay College. Under the development
plan, up to twelve metres of spoil was excavated from this area and it was from the resultant escarpment the slip has occurred. This has necessitated extensive remedial work and one can but wonder whether this is the forerunner of further incidents on the slip-prone terrain despite the extensive stabilisation engineering carried out.

Our water quality monitoring of the Awaruku Stream continues to show significantly higher sediment loadings below the development compared with above, indicating the reconsolidation process following the massive earthworks along the entire boundary of the stream within the development is far from complete.

Considerable public interest has arisen regarding the redevelopment of the cafe‚ within the Long Bay Regional Park. Demolition down to the foundations had taken place when human remains thought to be pre-European were unearthed. Under the Historic Places Act, this necessitated cessation of all work on the site while the Historic Places Trust assesses the significance of the find and gives approval for work to commence. Meanwhile the site lies idle and from lack of any sort of activity to date makes it highly unlikely the refurbished cafe‚ will be up and running for the approaching summer, not to mention many regular morning beach walkers going without or going elsewhere for their shot of caffeine!

This presumed archaeological discovery provides further validation for the Society’s advocacy throughout the Structure Plan process for the Long Bay development for historic landscape status be conferred on the entire area adjoining the Regional Park. The 20 hectare Historic Protection Area (HPA) designated by the Environment Court is a modest but gratifying recognition of this which we must continue to fight to preserve throughout all the uncertainties of the all-encompassing Auckland City Unitary Plan.

Bernard Stanley Deputy Convenor

Auckland Council Elections

Elections for Auckland Council (mayor, councillorsand local board members) will be held on Saturday 12 October. Prior to the election, we will be organising a ‘Meet the Candidates’ meeting likely in the second half of September. We have organized such meetings for previous local body elections and they have been well patronized and informative.

We will inform you just as soon as arrangements for this meeting are finalized.

International expert speaking on Marine Spatial Planning

One of the Society’s aims in opposing some aspects of the Long Bay development was protecting the Long Bay Marine Reserve and Hauraki Gulf from sedimentation and other threats.

The Auckland Council has organized a series of international speaker events on issues relating to making Auckland a most liveable city. As part of the series, Charles Ehler, an internationally recognized expert in marine special planning from Paris, is giving a presentation on best practice marine spatial planning on Wednesday 11 September, 5-7 pm, at Beca House, 21 Pitt Street, Auckland.

Marine spatial planning will help identify all the things that make the Hauraki Gulf so special and to protect and enhance them for the future.

Download print version: LBOGPS August 2013 newsletter [280KB PDF]