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Commissioners decide: notification not warranted

MEDIA RELEASE


26 May 2003


Commissioners decide: notification not warranted

In a milestone decision released today, independent planning commissioners say public notification is not warranted for an application for resource consents for the planned Auckland City SuperDome.

The commissioners accepted that the applicant, Australian company Abigroup, had demonstrated:
- traffic impacts on neighbouring streets would be minimised by the adoption of event management plans
- the design proposed meant the arena would fit visually into the Quay Park area
- proposed on-site parking for cars and buses was in keeping with the District Plan’s strategy to encourage the use of public transport
- there are no special circumstances that would warrant public notification.

The planned indoor arena will provide Auckland with a world-class, all-weather arena for sport and entertainment with seating for up to 12,000 people.

It will be built by Abigroup at Quay Park in downtown Auckland in partnership with Auckland City Council. Under a Heads of Agreement signed by Abigroup and the council last year, the council will contribute $50 million to the estimated $80 million cost of the arena.

Abigroup will build, own, operate and maintain the arena, which will be transferred to council ownership at the end of 30 years at no additional cost to the city.

Auckland City’s director of planning services, Jill McPherson, says the commissioners’ decision released today validates six years of planning and consultation by the council for an indoor arena for Auckland.

“We are delighted with this decision, which means that Abigroup and the council can continue planning for the opening of the SuperDome in 2005.

“This will be a nationally important facility that will enable events that have bypassed Auckland to be staged here.

“It will bring business, employment and recreational opportunities that Auckland and New Zealand are missing out on.”

Jill McPherson says the commissioners’ decision is the culmination of planning to ensure that the arena would meet the expectations of the community in every respect.

“There can be no suggestion of fast-tracking when we have gone through six years of consultation through the council’s strategic and annual plans.

“In addition, there have been three intensive stand-alone public consultation processes – the first on whether or not the city should have an arena, the second on whether it should be at Quay Park or elsewhere and the third on whether or not the council should contribute $50 million.

“There has also been a publicly notified District Plan change which gave people more than a month to make submissions.

“When it supported non-notification of Abigroup’s resource consent application, the council was entirely satisfied that issues relating to design, traffic management, noise mitigation and parking were more than adequately dealt with.”

In their decision, the planning commissioners say the arena is a permitted activity under the District Plan on the Quay Park site and is allowed without resource consent if it complies with all relevant rules.

They go on to say they are satisfied that no resource consent is required in relation to the height and bulk of the proposed building, the control of noise emissions, and the temporary effects of construction.

On the building design and proposed sign programme, the commissioners say they agree that “the proposed arena will visually rank as a comfortable addition to the Quay Park precinct”.

On traffic, they say “the arena site falls within the city’s inner parking district, which limits the amount of parking that can be provided on-site to 241 car parking spaces.

“The proposed site layout plans show that there will be a practical maximum of 164 car parking spaces when all 27 bus parking spaces are required. Thus, like other inner city developments, the limitation placed on the provision of on-site parking meets the regional and inner city transport strategy in that patrons will need to make use of the transport alternatives or park at locations away from the arena site and walk or use alternative transport to get to the site.”

The commissioners conclude their report by saying they consider that no special circumstances exist that would warrant notification, either when the key issues are considered individually or when grouped together.

Jill McPherson says that work is continuing on the commercial arrangements for the project. The council expects to finalise a development agreement with Abigroup in the near future. This would allow Abigroup to start construction in early 2004.


Ends


Ref: HC

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