Many people going to Long Bay have seen the big sign near the entrance – Long Bay Under Threat Again. And many have wondered what the threat is.
As many of you will be aware, at the time approval was given for the land adjacent to the Long Bay Regional Park to be developed, the North Shore City Council needed to develop a Structure Plan for the development. This provided the rules and provisions under which development could take place.
The Council, the developer and interested groups from the North Shore contributed to the development of the Plan. Where it was difficult to reach agreement amongst the parties involved, contentious matters went before the Environment Court for resolution. The agreed plan was finalized in 2011.
The Long Bay Structure Plan was hailed as an exceptionally good model for balancing high intensity development with protection of what was so important for Long Bay: the outstanding natural landscape, the marine reserve, the unique heritage and historic features of the Awaruku headland, the ecology of the stream and limiting visual encroachment on the very popular Long Bay beach.
Then the various Auckland councils amalgamated to become one super city council and rules for urban development needed to be standardized across the city. The Council has been in the process of developing the Auckland Unitary Plan. The first draft of the Unitary Plan made many omissions and errors in including the provisions of the Long Bay Structure Plan.
There was a public outcry, and the next version, the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, was much improved. It was notified in September last year. Again, there have been further submissions from the public to the Plan, many supporting that the original provisions of the Structure Plan be retained, but some opposing.
The Long Bay community, indeed, wider community, fought hard for protecting all those special features of Long Bay, raising over $450,000 to achieve this. With some parties objecting to some of the important Structure Plan rules, it means that the protections we fought so hard for will need to be contested again through the Auckland Unitary Plan’s Hearings Panel – a legal and costly process.
The Long Bay Okura Great Park Society will be fundraising for this again. If you can help in any way – financial or otherwise – please contact the Society’s secretary:
Brian Moore, ph 09 473 9822.