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Country Goes To Town

The Country Goes To Town In Opposition To Building Project

The countryside will come to town tomorrow (Wednesday), when opponents of an intensive canal-based housing development near Clevedon, deliver a further batch of submissions opposing the project to the Manukau City Council.

Along with more than 250 submissions, the Clevedon CARES organisation will bring a varied collection of symbols of the village's rural environment, including trees, hay bales, vegetable baskets and wine, as well as horse saddles, fishing gear and a kayak, to symbolise some of the area's favoured leisure pursuits.

These iconic rural objects will be transported to outside the Council's headquarters at the Civic Centre, 31-33 Wiri Station Road, Manukau City, on board a farmer's ute and its four meter-long trailer. Also on board, will be a sheepdog and some local children, representing Clevedon's rising generation.

"The children hope to hand the submissions in person to Manukau City Council's CEO, Leigh Auton at around 1.30 pm tomorrow," says Clevedon CARES spokesperson, Mary Whitehouse.

"We have spoken to Mr Auton's office and hope he will come down and take a look at the countryside, as exemplified by the 'country collection' we'll have with us. They represent an environment and a way of life that will be in jeopardy if the housing project goes ahead," she says.

Clevedon CARES was formed by local residents in opposition to a Plan Change required to facilitate the proposed housing development. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the last day for lodging submissions concerning the Plan Change.

The development, known as the Wairoa River Maritime Village, would involve 297 homes built in close proximity to each other on man-made canals near the river's estuary. The Plan Change involves rezoning land to cope with the requirements of the Resource Management Act.

"Opposition to the Plan Change is growing as local people become more aware of what's involved. The latest batch of submissions is on top of 160 lodged against the change late last year, of which 125 were made locally.

"In addition, more than 300 people have already added their names to an online petition, which was posted on the web just over two weeks' ago. We have also conducted an informal telephone poll of approximately 400 local households, 75% of which were opposed to the Plan Change," says Mary Whitehouse.

"The housing project would more than double our local population, placing a huge strain on the local infrastructure and destroying Clevedon's unique village-like atmosphere. As the canal development is for residential use only, the shops, businesses and services required by the new homes would need to be built in Clevedon itself or in our local countryside, inevitably altering their character.

"We are not 'NIMBYs', who are only concerned with our own backyards. The Plan Change is also opposed by the Auckland Regional Council, which is concerned to limit Auckland's growth out into the countryside. If high density housing projects like this are allowed to go ahead right around Auckland's rim, the only green spaces left will be manicured parks.

"Our hope is that Manukau City Council will remember that it has many rural areas within its boundaries and substantial numbers of rural residents amongst its voters and ratepayers. Our voice deserves to be heard on issues that will directly affect our way of life. We plan to remind Council of this tomorrow," she says.

Although formal submissions on the Plan Change close tomorrow, opponents of the change can continue to add their names to Clevedon CARES' online petition at www.clevedoncares.co.nz


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