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Absolute Betrayal of Bayswater and Belmont Communities

Media Release

3rd September 2013

Dr. Grant Gillon, Member Kaipatiki Board

Absolute Betrayal of Bayswater and Belmont Communities

“Yesterday the communities of Bayswater and Belmont and environs have been betrayed by those elected to represent their interests” said an outraged Grant Gillon today.

The motion moved by George Wood and seconded by Ann Hartley to remove the non-complying status from a large area of the Bayswater Marina signals that the land is no longer desired for recreation use but can be virtually privatised for development.

The removal of non-complying status was never signalled in the Unitary Plan and the community has been caught unawares. There is intense pressure on our existing recreational space especially in marine areas without losing this parcel as well.

The tacked on provisions of discretionary status and requirements for notification added at the last minute in no way mitigate the fact that the door has been opened to development of this recreational area, adding to increasing congestion, against the expressed and hard fought for wishes of the community.

Devonport/Takapuna Chair Chris Darby seemed uncomfortable when the Auckland Plan committee asked for his opinion.

Darby acknowledged that the community would resist the changes; he has problems with it. But he said that the current position (of the Marina) was all “before we embarked on Unitary Plan and many things changed”.

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I would like to know exactly what has changed from 2009 when Judge Smith stated "this is not a site which is generally appropriate for residential development" and, when Chris Darby was quoted in the local media as “Ngataringa Bay Society member Chris Darby, a Shore councillor, says he has spent "thousands of hours" on the issue and the decision is "excellent" news.

"It has confirmed that flat coastal land is a finite resource and not appropriate for residential development," he says.

"There is tremendous pressure to develop the coastal edge but if you lose that land you lose all the enjoyment of the associated activities."

“These seem like very hollow words today. We seem set to lose the land now and hardly a murmur was expressed in opposition, said Grant Gillon today.

The Marina site is owned by the Crown and was reclaimed in the early 1990s. It comprises 3.4 hectares.

The Department of Conservation leased the land to Bayswater Marina Ltd in 2004 apparently subject to rights of public access.

North Shore City Council provided for public use of the land focusing on recreation, marine and boating activities as well as ferry access.

The appeal by Bayswater Marina Ltd was opposed by the Auckland Regional Council, North Shore City Council, Takapuna Boating Club and Ngataringa Bay Society, Bayswater Community Committee and Takapuna Grammar Rowing Club.

Judge Mr Smith supported the "broader public interest" of keeping the use of the land as marine-oriented with a focus on recreation and boating.

Now this “broader public interest” seems to have been sold-out to developers. It is hard to anticipate that these would be affordable houses and more likely top of the range. Council planners could not confirm that the Environment Court decision would be taken into effect during any application for development.

“But regardless of the type of housing, the principles of recreation with marine-oriented with a focus on recreation and boating still prevail”, said Grant Gillon.

Video of Bayswater Marina Debate 2nd September 2013

Original media report 12/03/2009


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