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Devonport Heritage 2017, an incorporated society formed in 2017, promotes heritage and sustainable development in Devonport.

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News

Filtering by Category: Auckland Council

Cruise ship mooring expansion should be rejected

Spokesperson McRae

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A crucial hearing on the future of Queens Wharf starts in Auckland this week.

Panuku is applying for resource consent to construct two mooring ‘dolphins’ up to 82 metres out from Queens Wharf for mega cruise ships to berth.

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There is huge opposition to the proposal from many groups including Stop Stealing Our Harbour, Urban Auckland, Heart of the City as well as Devonport Heritage. Even an independent report prepared for the Auckland Council development agency states that the proposal should be refused.

The hearing opens on Monday 18 February when Panuku will put its case. The opponents will put their case from 9.30am Monday 25 February. Devonport Heritage will be speaking on Tuesday 26 February at 11.15am.

The hearing is at the Auckland Town hall council chambers in Queen Street. Please come along to the hearing on Monday or Tuesday, Feb 25 or 26, and show your support for those defending the Waitemata Harbour from Port expansion.

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Urban Auckland is looking to raise funds to support the legal representation for a submission to the Resource Consent hearing.

Financial assistance is once again needed to fight Auckland Council from extending into our harbour!

A 90 metre EXTENSION OF QUEENS WHARF by 2 concrete ‘dolphins’ to berth over-size Cruise Ships:Resource Consent, being sought by Panuku/ Auckland Council, is about to go before the Planning Hearing Commissioners on February 18th.

The proposal is to put two concrete mooring pads off the end of Queens Wharf extending out into the harbour for a length of 90.5 metres, with a 35 year lease. That’s permanent.

The buoys are to enable the berthage of ‘over-size’ cruise ships, such as the Ovation of the Seas, which is scheduled to come to Auckland for 7 days this summer season. The ships arrive in the morning and leave at the end of the day. As they do in Sydney, the ship moors in the harbour using stationary positioning technology, and the 4,000 passengers on board are shuttled back and forth in tenders. Given the size of the vessels in relation to the locations they visit, this is not unusual. Nowhere in the Southern Hemisphere are they berthed right in the centre of a destination’s downtown.

Under pressure from the cruise industry, Auckland Council is bending over backwards to accommodate these ‘over-size’, 348-362 metre long ships, carrying up to 4-6,000 passengers, right on Queens Wharf, with an industrial scale extension that will severely compromise the future development of Queens Wharf as the marae atea of our city.

We are not against cruise ships. They have always been a welcome addition to our harbour and city life. Traditionally bigger ships, such as the 345m Queen Mary 2, have been berthed (enthusiastically) by Ports of Auckland at Jellicoe Wharf. But cruise ships will continue to increase in size and number and Auckland Council has, to date, NO long-term plan or funding in place for the Waterfront or its development. This total lack of management of our Waitematā Waterfront beggars belief.

In 2008, Queens Wharf was bought from the Ports of Auckland by the Crown and local government to become the People’s Wharf, an important civic space where the city meets the sea. The importance of Queens Wharf historically in the formation of Auckland as a city, inevitably continues into the future. At the northern end of Queens Wharf where it reaches into the sea, there is a natural expectation of openness and engagement with the Waitematā Harbour. This will be unacceptably compromised by the proposed concrete pads and gangways.

Auckland Council is also not taking into account:

The Upper North Island Supply Chain Study (port and logistics infrastructure), currently being undertaken by Government. This may well see a sizable chunk of Port activity being relocated to Northport, freeing up port berthage for cruise industry growth.

The proposed extension of ferry terminals along the western side of Queens Wharf. This will substantially alter the number of people on Queens Wharf. NO investigation has been made of the cumulative effect of 4,000 extra people arriving by cruise ship and the attendant servicing, buses, transport, truck deliveries, tour guides etc on the use of Queens Wharf by local people.

The effect of the mooring buoys on local boat traffic, especially ferries. Fullers anticipate it adversely affecting their current half-hour scheduling for Devonport ferries, disrupting service.

We dispute Auckland Council’s claims that the Cruise ships will go elsewhere and that valuable jobs will be lost. The great majority of cruise ships being smaller come here quite happily. We want growth to be appropriately planned.

Berthage of ships of this magnitude should be the responsibility of Ports of Auckland. POAL argue that they have no room for 5-10 ship visits for 12 hours at a time. Meanwhile, they are looking at closing Bledisloe Wharf for three weeks for a car rally!!! There are other options available for them to manage their schedule and Auckland Council, as 100% shareholder, should be making that very clear to them.

We are calling for this ad-hoc short-sighted proposal to be turned down.

Instead, a vision and planning process should be underway NOW.

We would like to see the Mayor show leadership on this critical issue and begin a proper inclusive shareholder consultation process, using the same model undertaken with the Ports Future Study.

Urban Auckland is fronting a submission to the Resource Consent hearing, on behalf of other community groups (City Centre, Parnell and Devonport residents, the Civic Trust, Auckland Architectural Association and Stop Stealing Our Harbour) in a legal process that is likely to cost us $60-70,000.

Our High Court legal battle to stop the port expansion in 2015 cost $250,000. Fortunately, the 220m development of Halsey Wharf for the America’s Cup bases was resolved in our favour before it became expensive. We can’t believe the people of Auckland are still having to fight these battles of expansion into the Waitematā, without a vision for the future of our Waterfront.

We urgently ask for your financial support.

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/urbanauckland

thank you! – Julie Stout, Chair, Urban Auckland- juliemstout@gmail.com

Auckland Council Blunder over Resource consents for Character Areas

Spokesperson McRae

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The Auckland Council has announced that some Resource Consent Applications for houses in the Character Area Overlay zones, issued between 1 December 2016 and 19 December 2017 will now need to be reviewed because the process used was not a thorough and complete process. 

All of these consents are still legally valid but are now open to the challenge of a Judicial review in the High Court and work has stopped on up to five properties in the city while the problem is sorted out.

All homeowners whose Resource Consent was issued during this period will be notified of this situation by the 20 September 2018 and will be advised to undertake a process of re-submission for a new Resource Consent.

The background to this situation is that on the 1 December 2016 the Council began to assess Resource Consents under the Unitary Plan which had effectively created two sets of rules for character areas of the city, including Devonport.

There was the Single House Zone (SHZ) and also the Special Character Area Overlay (SCAR).

The rules conflicted on matters around site coverage, building envelopes and height to boundary and was a source of great frustrattion from developers, owners and planners trying to work with the rules.

So Auckland Council decided that only the Special Character Overlay rules should apply and for a year this was the norm.

But these overlay rules focused only on the character of the streetscape and were more generous about site coverage and height to boundary rules. It also meant  there was far less attention given to neighbours’ and the general amenity of a proposal.

The Council planner sought guidance from the Environment Court that they were interpreting their own rules correctly and late last year the Court ruled that they were not doing so. 

The Court ruled that the underlying zone controls (SHZ) should also be applicable even where inconsistent with SCAR and despite Council’s intention when drafting the rules.

All this means that some resource consents may have been wrongly granted or that neighbours should have been notified.

The council is now contacting all property owners who had been issued with a Resource Consent in Devonport during this period. They will need to make their own decision about  re-submitting a Resource Consent but the Council has stated that all existing issued consents during this period remain legally valid.

 

WHAT SHOULD NEIGHBOURS DO?

If you think you may have been affected by a nearby development and were not consulted these are the steps you can take:

-       Contact the Council to confirm if the Resource Consent for the house in question was issued during this period and therefore is subject to a review. 

-       Raise your concern with the Council to ensure that the re-submitted Resource Consent takes into account to the impact on your property. The Council will make this assessment under both the SCAR and SHZ at the time of the re-submitted Resource Consent.

-       If you believe you have been adversely affected you should contact firstly the Council Planning department. The General Manager Resource Consents is Ian Smallburn after that then a planning consultant or lawyer.

-       The last resort is to make a judicial review to the High Court which can decide whether the resource consent is invalid. 

 

Summary

The good news from this council blunder is that the Council Regulatory director Penny Pirrit says the decision means there will have to be greater scrutiny of resource consents which will require more input from neighbours.

Instead of just considering how the character property will look from the street, the council will also have to consider wider amenity issues.