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Concerns of community to be heard at Fletchers AGM

Concerns of community to be heard at Fletchers AGM

17 November 2015

Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) is sending a strong signal to foreign-owned Fletcher Building and the company’s shareholders today.

SOUL members will make their presence felt outside the entry to the Sky City Convention Centre, where Fletcher Building is holding its AGM from 10:00 am this Tuesday 17 November.

The peaceful and highly-visible presence of SOUL outside the Fletcher Building AGM has only one purpose: to encourage Fletchers not to build 500 houses on one of New Zealand’s most significant landscapes and to protect Ihumātao and the Ōtuataua Stonefields for future generations.

SOUL knows the land proposed for housing development has value far beyond the financial, and want to see the land protected as public open space for all New Zealanders.

The SOUL group’s founding members are mana whenua who trace their whakapapa to the area’s original Māori inhabitants over 800 years ago. Many iwi members still live in the small papakainga (or pa village) called Ihumātao adjacent to the Stonefields and proposed SHA62. The Ōtuataua Stonefields are known as a site of national significance, for both Māori and early European farming and gardening heritage. Historians expect the proposed housing site to contain many ancient archaeological sites as yet undisturbed.

The local iwi have also been treated unfairly with regards to the proposed development land. It was confiscated in 1863 in the land wars and shortly afterwards gifted by The Crown to its current owners.

SOUL insists that the spiritual and heritage values of this particular land at Ihumātao, which includes wāhi tapu burial caves and the sacred maunga Te Puketaapapatanga a Hape/Pukeiti, need not be destroyed to meet the city’s housing shortfall.

SOUL supports the other SHAs proposed in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu ward. The group has undertaken their own research and found a viable nearby option which wouldn’t cause the same environmental, cultural and heritage damage as the proposed site of Fletcher’s development at SHA62.

SOUL spokesman Brendan Corbett says “a housing development at Ihumātao within the last remnants of rural Māngere does not match the criteria of the SHA legislation as it seriously lacks infrastructure and amenities.”

Mr Corbett has identified a viable alternative to the SHA at Ihumātao could be the 33.5 hectares of Council-owned land along Ascot Road, Airport Oaks. He says the site is the same size, but might allow for greater housing density, is closer to jobs, services and shops and would cause none of the issues that have been raised with the Ihumātao SAH62 proposal.

“Council planning officers have recently told SOUL that there is ‘no insurmountable problems with using this Ascot Road land for residential development’,” he says.

The SOUL group would like Fletcher shareholders to be aware of the strong concerns of the community, and their desire to protect this special landscape at Ihumātao. A viable alternative development opportunity for Fletcher in Māngere has been thoroughly demonstrated.

ends

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