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2,655 submissions on Airport Special Area

Media Release

9 May 2007

Plan change to create Airport Special Area at Whenuapai attracts 2,655 submissions

Waitakere City Council has received 2655 submissions to its proposed District Plan change (Plan Change 22) to create a special airport area at Whenuapai, the Planning and Regulatory Committee heard today.

Of these 82 supported the proposal, and 2571 were opposed, of which 2000 were pro-forma.

The Council has notified all submittors that the submissions are available to be viewed and that submittors have until 1 July to make further submissions based on the existing submissions.

The council’s spokesperson on the Whenuapai issue, Councillor Penny Hulse, says that the council has still to decide whether to consider the submissions itself or appoint a commissioner.

The hearings will not be heard until later this year or early next.

“Even if we appoint a commissioner or commissioners to conduct the hearings, the council must still make the final decision. The RMA specifically prohibits commissioners from making decisions on District Plan Changes.

“Probably the most important thing to emphasise at this time, is that the proposed plan change does not bring an airport into being”, she says.

“If the airforce was to leave, the land would revert to the underlying zoning and an application for an airport would be a non-complying activity and probably quite difficult to obtain.

“So, all the proposed plan change does, is establish that this is an area where an airport could be operated. We may never have that airport, but the plan change keeps the option open,” she says.

Councillor Hulse says that if there is ever a firm proposal to establish a civilian airport, it will have to go through the full resource consent process, which will give residents opposed to the airport idea, “every opportunity to state their opposition to the airport”.

“It will also require the applicant to satisfactorily explain how any effects on people and the environment would be managed – but that is all way in the future, if it ever happens,” she says.

Councillor Hulse says that of the 2655 submissions received, some 2000 were pro-forma, circulated by the Whenuapai Airport Action Group. Many of the submittors are from the North Shore.

Ms Hulse points out that the number of submissions is about the same as was received against Eden Park floodlights.

The Council ’s submission amends some wording in the proposed plan change to make the proposal clearer on a variety of points.

“The fact that we were considering it today was just ‘crossing the T’s’ of bureaucratic procedure. The submission was made before the deadline on the CEO’s delegated authority and we were just asked to approve that action,” says Councillor Hulse.

“The only reason that we are making the submission is also procedural. Work goes on and as a result we felt some wording needed to be amended for clarity. But, we’re like anyone else; If we want to change anything in the proposal that has been publicly notified, we must make a submission.

The proposed changes to wording can be read on line at www.waitakere.govt.nz/about the council/committees/agendas/planning and regulatory committee, 8 May 2007.

Summaries of the submissions are currently available online at the Council’s website and at Waitakere City libraries and copies of the submissions in full are available to be viewed at Waitakere Central Civic Centre.

Copies of submissions will also be made available at the North Shore City Council office early next week.


ENDS

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