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Ferryless Ferry Wharf Provokes Scorn


For release: 28 November 2006

Ferryless Ferry Wharf Provokes Scorn


The suggestion of a ferry wharf, as part of a controversial proposed housing development, has drawn scorn from residents of Clevedon, to the south-east of Auckland.

The proposed development, known as the 'Wairoa River Maritime Village' would see 297 homes built in a high density complex, on man-made canals close to the river's mouth.

Submissions on a district plan change to facilitate the canal project are currently being heard by members of Manukau City Council. The ferry wharf scheme was unveiled by the project's developers during the course of the hearing.

"This latest proposal in no way meets our objections to the canal development and merely serves to emphasise the inherent silliness of the venture," says Mary Whitehouse, spokesperson for Clevedon CARES, a community organisation formed to oppose the intensive housing project.

"There seems little point in building a ferry wharf without there being a real likelihood of a ferry service starting-up in the near future.

"The developers have stated that the landing point could ultimately become a ferry wharf for regular commuters, but have avoided any commitment as to when that might occur. Moreover, the developers' own transport consultant has told councillors that a ferry service would probably be unviable, given the two hours it would take to travel by water from the wharf to downtown Auckland.

"It would be interesting to discover the Auckland Regional Transport Authority's view of this matter and, indeed, whether the Authority has even been consulted over plans for a ferry service. Certainly, a ferry wharf without a ferry would do nothing to remove our fears of a steep rise in motor traffic and accidents on our country roads, in the event of the canal development going ahead," she says.

"We are similarly unimpressed by the developers' plans to encourage car sharing by residents of the proposed high density complex. The same goes for the suggestion of a shuttle bus service linking the complex to the existing commuter ferry at Pine Harbour and to South Auckland's suburban rail service.

"Desirable though it might be for more people to use public transport, Aucklanders are notoriously committed to travelling in their own private vehicles. It's wholly unrealistic to expect the canal project's residents to prove an exception to this rule.

"Above and beyond the absurdity of the ferry wharf proposal, the canal project remains unacceptable because intensive housing of the type proposed would be wholly out of keeping with our essentially rural environment. Moreover, the proposed development would add up to a thousand people to our local population over a brief period of time, placing a strain on many existing services.

"As the canal development is for residential use only, the shops, businesses and services required by people living there would need to be built either in Clevedon itself or in the surrounding countryside, irrevocably changing their character. A further concern is the large-scale dredging of the river and sediment disposal that would be required, probably on a recurrent basis," adds Mary Whitehouse.

Manukau City councillors are to continue hearing submissions on the proposed plan change during this week, with a number of additional days of proceedings anticipated in mid-December.


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