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Shelly Bay Project - Heading Back To Court

Wellington’s Shelly Bay development is being challenged again, with judicial review proceedings filed with the High Court yesterday regarding the resource consent granted late last year.

The challenge comes from Miramar Business Association, Enterprise Miramar, which says the project will lead to significant adverse traffic effects in the area and will burden Wellington ratepayers with huge future costs at a time when the city’s infrastructure is failing.

Chair of Enterprise Miramar Thomas Wutzler says resource consent was granted by independent commissioners in 2019 and as the application was still under special housing legislation, Enterprise Miramar, the community and stakeholders were once again shut out of the process.

“Our challenge is about future costs for ratepayers, traffic, congestion, safety, and the ability to get around, on and off the Peninsula. Enterprise Miramar is asking the High Court to scrutinise the Commissioners' conclusion that traffic effects from the proposal are no more than minor and that there is sufficient and appropriate roading infrastructure.”

Enterprise Miramar successfully challenged the first Shelly Bay resource consent in 2018. Wutzler says the conclusions which led to the second resource consent being granted are

not supported by expert evidence, common sense or the experience of our members and Wellingtonians generally.

“Anyone who lives or works in the Miramar area or visits the Peninsula needs to be able to get around without being stuck in traffic. And they want to be able to enjoy the Peninsula when they are not working. That’s an important part of why many chose to establish their businesses here”.

The Enterprise Miramar Board made the decision to take further court action during lockdown due to inaction from the Council in addressing its concerns with the Shelly Bay development.

Mr Wutzler says after trying to engage with the Council for a commitment to a timely review of its decisions on Shelly Bay, Enterprise Miramar could not defer making this decision any longer.

“If the resource consent is not tested, then the developer will continue to push on and the opportunity to challenge the consent will be lost. Then, the only chance for a re-think on Shelly Bay will be if the Council finally acts,” Mr Wutzler says.

“The Enterprise Miramar Board is disappointed it has been put in this position as we wanted to trust the process and we genuinely hoped the 2nd resource consent process would have addressed our concerns. We engaged an independent traffic expert and provided his advice to the Council but the commissioners have not dealt with the issues raised.”

Mr Wutlzer says Wellingtonians voted for a new Mayor and Council to sort out the long-running issues with the Shelly Bay development.

“We know the Council has many urgent issues which have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Wellington is struggling to afford to fix its leaking water pipes and failing sewerage system, so taking on and supporting this Development and more costly infrastructure at this time is misguided.

“Once the traffic is back, the creaking road network will grind to a halt and the costs of making the coastal route safe for cyclists, walkers and runners – and dealing with rising sea levels will be enormous. Wellington ratepayers will be left with these costs, not the developer,” Mr Wutzler says.

Mr Wutzler says Enterprise Miramar has significant support for taking the case.

“As people who care about Shelly Bay realise what the case is about we are confident that support will increase.”

“Lockdown has reminded us how incredible the Peninsula is, and why we established our businesses here. It also highlighted what is important and reaffirmed why we need to aspire to an appropriate development at Shelly Bay and for a comprehensive plan for the whole of the Peninsula, including realising the potential of the Defence Force and Corrections land,” Mr Wutzler says.

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