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Canal Project Included in Manukau's Rural Strategy

Clevedon Cares

For Immediate Release: 1st August 2006

Canal Project Included in Manukau's Rural Strategy

Clevedon Cares indignant at Council move

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Clevedon residents have expressed concern at the inclusion of the proposed 'Wairoa River Maritime Village' development in a Draft Rural Growth Strategy, released last week by Manukau City Council.

But they have also welcomed the chance for further comment presented by the Draft Strategy and have urged all opponents of the Wairoa River project to use this new opportunity for registering their views.

The proposed development would involve 297 homes built in close proximity to each other on man-made canals near the river's estuary, to the North of Clevedon Village, near Auckland.

The Draft Strategy includes the canal development on a list of seven rural and coastal settlements, around which growth would be concentrated. The other six settlements have all been in existence for many years, whereas the Wairoa River project is still on the drawing board and may never be approved.

"We're amazed at the inclusion of the canal development," says Mary Whitehouse, spokesperson for residents' group, Clevedon CARES, noting that a six-to-one majority of local submissions to Council has expressly rejected the project, as has the Auckland Regional Council.

"A Manukau City Council hearing of submissions is scheduled for September/October. Clearly, it is inappropriate for Council to assume approval of the project so early on in what could prove to be a lengthy and fiercely-contested planning process.

"We urge everyone who wants to preserve Clevedon's unique village character and our peaceful rural environment to send an unambiguous message to Council that the canal development is not a 'done deal' and shouldn't be treated as one," she adds.

The Draft Rural Growth Strategy and feedback forms are available from public libraries or online at www.manukau.govt.nz/draft_RuralGrowthStrategy.htm The deadline for public feedback is Friday 1st September.

"The Strategy is not defined by Council as a 'regulatory document'. However, Council has asked for feedback and we assume that the public's response will be taken into account," says Mary Whitehouse.

In general, Ms Whitehouse describes the Draft Rural Growth Strategy as well-intentioned, long overdue but inconsistent.

"We welcome the emphasis placed on preserving the rural environment and the character of existing settlements. And we also applaud the Draft Strategy's recommendation that growth be primarily accommodated by building-on existing settlements rather than by adding new ones or allowing residential sprawl.

"However, as the Draft Strategy openly acknowledges, the canal development represents an exception to its overall policy. We can see no reason for this exception, as the canal project would more than double our local population, place a huge strain on our local infrastructure, destroy Clevedon's unique village-like atmosphere and compromise the rural character of the Clevedon Valley.

"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," she says.

"The canal project is a thoroughly bad idea and we need to seize this new opportunity to make our views known," Mary adds.

ENDS

www.clevedoncares.co.nz

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