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Legality Of Clevedon Canal Development In Doubt


For release: 11 December 2006

Legality Of Clevedon Canal Development In Doubt

Doubt has been cast on the legality of a proposed District Plan Change, aimed at facilitating a high density residential development close to Clevedon, to the south-east of Auckland.

The suggested development, known as the Wairoa River Maritime Village, would see 297 new homes, accommodating up to 1,000 residents, built on man-made canals close to the river's mouth.

Members of the Manukau City Council are currently hearing submissions for and against the proposed Plan Change. Lawyers for the community organisation, Clevedon CARES, today (Monday) told councillors that, irrespective of its merits, the Plan Change needed to be withdrawn on legal grounds.

Clevedon CARES maintains that the Plan Change does not give effect to the relevant planning instruments, as required under the Resource Management Act. The RMA establishes a "hierarchy of planning statements or instruments" with district plans at the bottom of that hierarchy.

As Clevedon CARES' lawyers pointed out, one of these documents, the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, calls for avoidance of subdivision development in coastal areas that have not already been compromised.

Another of the relevant documents, the Auckland Regional Policy Statement (ARPS), seeks protection for "amenity values, rural character (and) landscape values" from the "effects of inappropriate subdivision, use or development".

The ARPS also seeks "to preserve the natural character of the coastal environment" and forbids the "expansion of rural and coastal settlements outside the limits of existing rural and coastal settlements".

"The effect of these and similar provisions would render the legality of the Plan Change highly dubious. It would be a matter of considerable concern if Council were to approve a change to the District Plan that defies the higher order documents the Plan is meant to implement," says Clevedon CARES spokesperson Mary Whitehouse.

"Our concerns over the legality of the Plan Change are in addition to our objections in substance to the canal project. The proposed development would, in effect, be an isolated urban suburb, quite out of keeping with the surrounding rural area. We do not want to see urban Auckland leapfrogging out into the countryside.

"The addition of up to 1,000 new residents would place significant pressure on the infrastructure and community of Clevedon village and its hinterland, jeopardising its rural character and generating significantly greater levels of motor traffic on winding and potentially dangerous country roads," she says.

A further area of concern is the environmental impact, with large-scale dredging of the river and sediment disposal anticipated, probably on a recurrent basis.

"We are not a bunch of 'nimbys' opposed to all change. On the contrary, we welcome growth in our area. But it must be of the sort that enhances the essentially rural character of this unique part of the Auckland region," Mary Whitehouse adds.

Amongst submissions to Manukau City Council from local residents, those against the Proposed Plan Change outnumber those in favour by a ratio of six to one.


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