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More time to consider Whenuapai


More time to consider Whenuapai

North Shore City Council will be surveying its residents to check the local pulse on the controversial issue of Whenuapai in neighbouring Waitakere City.

The city's strategy and finance committee last week expressed its frustration with the lack of comprehensive information available on the future uses of Whenuapai, and that North Shore City residents had not been properly consulted on the issue by the government or NZ Defence Force (NZDF).

The council wrote to the Prime Minister stressing its concerns and explaining that the matter was one of great importance that would have a direct and significant impact on its community and the region as a whole.

The Minister of Defence, Mark Burton, has proposed that workshops be held with Auckland local authorities and the regional council in February and March so that they can get a better understanding of what could happen at Whenuapai. It will also give North Shore City Council more time to find out what its community thinks about the options for reusing the airbase land.

North Shore City's mayor, George Wood says it's great that the government has listened and responded positively to his council's request.

"We now have the opportunity to find out what people think about the options for the future use of Whenuapai," he says.

Mayor Wood urges people to take part in the telephone survey should they be called, as this will help council to gauge its residents' views on the issue.

"I am aware that there are several organisations with differing perspectives currently conducting research. We intend to carry out a representative survey of North Shore City residents and will ensure that participants are advised that it is a North Shore City Council survey and explain how their comments will be used."

The NZDF released its discussion document for public consultation in late October outlining four broad options for the future of Whenuapai: a commercial, civilian airport; another public work and/or urban development; an industrial/development site; and rural residential sites. The closing date of January 16, 2004 for receiving submissions still stands but will be extended for local authorities to enable them to participate in the February/March workshops.

The North Shore City Council will prepare an interim submission prior to the January 16 deadline stating that it has an interest in what happens at Whenuapai and that it will lodge a final submission after the workshops and survey have been carried out.

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