Banks Peninsula landscape case costs application
July 1, 2008
Banks Peninsula landscape case costs application disappointing
Environment Canterbury chief executive Dr Bryan Jenkins has confirmed that the council is likely to contest a claim of costs from the Christchurch City Council in relation to the recent Environment Court decision on the Banks Peninsula District Plan (now part of Christchurch City).
ECan chair Sir Kerry Burke said it was extremely disappointing for the City Council to target the regional council for costs when ECan, along with many other parties to the case, was seeking to protect an iconic, regionally-important landscape. “It seems strange for the City Council to align itself with Federated Farmers in seeking costs from the regional council. This will simply be a rates merry-go-round which will cost all Canterbury ratepayers.
“We thought we had entered a new era in our relationship with the City Council given the collaborative agreements behind the Aidanfield stormwater issues and the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy. In this instance, the mayor has not approached me,” said Sir Kerry.
“It is hard to see how this course of action will benefit anyone apart from lawyers.
“There was a high degree of co-operation between all parties throughout the legal process. There were 25 separate parties representing hundreds of people to the case. Organisations included Friends of Banks Peninsula, Summit Road Society, Federated Farmers, Royal Forest and Bird, Robinsons Bay Trust and Pacific Investment Trust and even the City Council itself. The case would have gone ahead without ECan’s involvement.
“In addition to this, other parties contested the plan on a much broader basis than ECan did. The time involved in rebutting the ECan evidence was just one part of the total time taken for the court case.
“In good faith leading up to the court case, the two councils agreed on many issues through mediation. It was also agreed that some issues had to be resolved at the Environment Court level and the best way for ECan to tackle this. ECan made considerable compromises with the City Council and Federated Farmers at this point in order to keep its case as simple as possible. ECan agreed to opt for map line changes rather than rule changes, which was its original position, and the City Council concurred. The Court instead went with rule changes rather than map alterations, but both are valid ways to protect landscape values.
“The court case had many valuable outcomes which will offer additional and worthwhile, long-term protection for the Peninsula. These included increasing the size of lots to be subdivided and accepting ECan evidence on reflectivity and building clusters. The Court recognised the high landscape values of Banks Peninsula and threats from over-intensification/housing proliferation.”