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Withdrawal of Variation 3 to the Coastal Plan

Advisory note: Regional Strategy and Planning Committee

16 May 2006

Subject: withdrawal of Variation 3 (Aquaculture Management Areas in the southern Kaipara Harbour) to the Regional Plan: Coastal

A recent decision by the Environment Court to decline an application for a marine farm in the Kaipara Harbour has resulted in the ARC reviewing the appropriateness of Variation 3 to the Auckland Regional Plan: Coastal.

Variation 3 to the Auckland Regional Coastal Plan proposed establishing Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) for marine farming in the southern Kaipara Harbour.

After considering the matters raised in the decision of the Environment Court, the Auckland Regional Council’s Regional Strategy and Planning committee yesterday agreed to withdraw Variation 3 (Kaipara Harbour) to the Auckland Regional Plan: Coastal.

Committee chairman Paul Walbran welcomed the decision of the Court, saying that it provided useful guidance to the balance between conflicting uses and values of Aucklanders’ highly prized marine areas.

“The withdrawal of Variation 3 recognises the importance attached to the natural and recreational values of the Kaipara Harbour by Environment Court in its finding that these values would be compromised by aquaculture to such an extent that any benefits were outweighed,” he said.

Variation 3 was notified in October 2002, and hearings had yet to be held. The ARC will write to all submitters, existing marine farmers and applicants to inform them of the withdrawal.

The relevant resolution was passed as follows:

That Variation 3 to the Regional Plan: Coastal, that it be withdrawn for the following reasons:

- The ARC notified Variation 3 in October 2002 as part of the process of enabling aquaculture within the Region and in this case the Kaipara Harbour. Since that time a number of events have occurred that have resulted in the ARC no longer supporting the proposed AMA’s in Variation 3.

These events include:

- The Environment Court declining consent for a 30ha mussel farm application by Biomarine Mussels Ltd for a proposed AMA off Te Kawau Point. The ARC considers that the reasons for declining the application would also apply to other proposed AMA’s notified as part of Variation 3.

- The ARC declining and recommended to the Minister of Conservation that he decline the resource consent application for a 104ha oyster farm within a proposed AMA off Orongo Point.

- That compared to the investigative work undertaken to determine the appropriateness of a possible AMA in the Western Firth of Thames, insufficient work has been carried out to determine if the AMA’s in the Kaipara Harbour are appropriate and sustainable. If the ARC were to consider AMA’s in the Kaipara Harbour additional work and community consultation would be required prior to proposing any AMA’s to determine if they were sustainable.


ENDS

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