Archive | North-west

Waitakere City Council resource consent & planning activity

Council introduces 3 variations

The council has resolved to introduce 3 variations to the district plan, Variations 88 & 89 affecting Swanson, and Variation 90 introducing some general changes.

Variation 88, Swanson structure plan, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation proposes introduction of the Swanson structure plan map identifying bush protection areas, revegetation areas, stream enhancement areas and numbers on existing lots depicting the total number of possible sites.

It introduces modified riparian margins, reidentifies part of 33 Coulter Rd, Swanson, from general natural area to restoration natural area, and reidentifies 1239-1249 Scenic Drive North from Waitakere Ranges environment to Foothills environment.

Variation 89, Swanson railway station radius, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation relates to relocation of the 500m radius circle from the station to Swanson village.

Variation 90, Waiarohia structure plan, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation relates to changes to the explanation of the strategic direction, policies & methods (point 6.2.1, managing population pressures outside the urban area).

It also proposes subdivision rule changes, changes to the matters over which the council has discretion for limited discretionary activities to include Whenuapai airbase operational integrity, and additions to countryside environment subdivision assessment criteria.

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Regional councillors figure they should be taking Whenuapai lead

Defence Force is running consultation, ARC says it’ll send a submission

Auckland Regional Council members got a Defence Force presentation on Whenuapai at their strategic policy committee meeting yesterday, then figured they should really be leading the planning for the area’s new-look future.

The Defence Force is vacating the 311ha site, so it’s hard to see what role or interest it might have in any future development. But property rationalisation director Peter Bollmann said it would take at least 5 years to get the Air Force infrastructure in place at Ohakea and transfer all personnel.

The Defence Force intends to complete its consultation round on Friday 16 January after extending the closing date from mid-December, to get feedback in February and file a report to Cabinet by April.

Beca Carter produced a paper on options for the Defence Force, showing infrastructure constraints included wastewater issues, plus the findings of the Upper Waitemata Harbour study, due for completion in mid-2004.

Regional council staff said the council wanted transport & harbour study implications considered.

Among councillors’ comments, Michael Barnett was intrigued the Defence Force was undertaking consultation. If the council took the elad, the information would come back to the region. There should be greater recognition given to the regional strategy.

Catherine Harland said the airbase was outside the metropolitan urban limit and a partnership approach would have been better. There were questions such as, “If we’re going to rezone, how are we going to roll it out? Are there bits that should be landbanked? All those things need to be sorted out. Do a mini-growth strategy on this area.

“We need to be developing scenarios for the land use. Overseas, that’s how they develop large parcels of land. You go into a key process at a regional level. We’re responding to a specific.”

Several councillors supported Whenuapai as a 2nd commercial airport for Auckland. “All passengers & freight eternally toiling across the isthmus is not a long-term option,” Judith Bassett said.

Cllr Paul Walbran was disappointed by the presentation, saying the arguments surrounding the options hadn’t been examined. “We don’t have any of the pros & cons presented to us as to what these options are. You do have to look long-term. We have recently been considering roading designations and have seen what happens when there hasn’t been sufficient provision.”

Mike Lee said the council needed to present a submission broadly in support of Whenuapai’s historical use. “Alternatives could start off 1 of those urban landrushes and facilitate urban sprawl.”

Sandra Coney believed the council should get its staff to flesh out submissions and the council should take a position. She said the open space there “shouldn’t be gobbled up by an intense development of housing or industry. I don’t think we should overlook the opportunity that this could be a regional park.”

Dianne Glenn said civil emergencies needed to be considered.. She was told recently that Hamilton was the alternative airport to Mangere, “but why would we go to Hamilton when we’ve got Whenuapai?”

ARC chairman Glenn Bull said the council needed to tell the Government the Whenuapai land was “of regional significance and we want to be part of it [the planning process].”

The councillors decided the ARC should send a submission to the Defence Force, outlining issues & concerns the ARC has, it should ask the Defence Force & ministers to work with the ARC in deciding the use of Whenuapai, and council staff should report back to the committee in detail on options for Whenuapai’s use, “including opportunities for ARC input and co-ordination of input across the region.”

When strategic policy director Craig Shearer said the council might be pressed for time, Cllr Lee responded: “It doesn’t really say much for us, does it? This issue has been around for years.”

Mr Bollmann said he was keen to work with council officers through January-February, recognising the land was significant from a regional perspective.

The saddest part about this debate was that, as an expression of leadership & the regional voice, the regional council registered a good decibel below mute.

The regional council, especially its chairman & chief executive, have been battered recently as territorial councils & their mayors muscled their way to more power.

Whenuapai sits just inside Waitakere City Council’s boundary with North Shore City, and the Waitakere council has taken a strong lead on the airbase’s future.

Through the local council, the Regional Growth Forum and its sector agreement, through the regional growth strategy & regional land transport strategy and through the regional council, there is a planning hierarchy.

But none of that grants leadership, and it certainly doesn’t grant leadership to people who think they have to ask permission first.

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Slam and dunk for judge in Kumeu cumulative-effect case

Appeal Court sides again with Environment Court

The Appeal Court slammed High Court judge Robert Chambers in its Arrigato decision for his version of his job in considering appeals, and slam-dunked him in its Dye appeal.

The Appeal Court decision has implications for:

resource management generally in rural areas under siege from urban growth

the power of a local body trying to designate rural-residential and countryside living areas

approaches to consent applications by applying heavy-handed (to dictatorial) policy as a way of over-ruling specific non-compliance, and vice versa

the potential for the judicial process to add (unthinkingly) to applicants’ costs

precedent and cumulative effect

the need for wider consideration, such as a catchment plan, in deliberating on a specific application

Auckland Regional Council’s approach to specific applications by looking at them in a wider context

and the requirement for a judge, asked to determine an appeal on points of law, not to litigate the original case.Reasonable to argue costs order against court itself

In both the Arrigato and Dye cases, the Appeal Court overturned the High Court rejection of consents granted by the Environment Court, and in each case made orders for costs of $5000 plus disbursements, travel & accommodation in favour of Arrigato and the Dyes.

Given the force with which the Appeal Court has come down on Justice Chambers of the High Court in each ruling, there ought to be scope for an award of costs against the High Court as well:

The Appeal Court found, throughout, that the High Court judge had erred

The Environment Court ruled on Arrigato on 15 October 1999, and on Dye on 6 March 2000. The High Court heard the appeals on 29-30 May 2000 and Justice Chambers ruled on 14 September 2000. The Appeal Court hearing was on 26 July 2001 and the court ruled in both cases on 11 September 2001.

At the minimum, the delay for the Dyes was six months — for a detour to a very new judicial functionary who the Appeal bench of three (Justices Gault, Keith & Tipping, with Justice Tipping delivering both decisions) plainly found had not been schooled well enough

While everyone learns on the job, Justice Chambers confessed during the hearing to having no experience whatsoever in resource management law. On my reading of the Appeal bench’s views, the High Court erred in appointing a judge to two benchmark cases before his time.Straight to point

In my coverage last week of the Arrigato appeal, I also questioned the performance of the Appeal Court. In the Dye decision, Justice Tipping has gone straight to the point and produced clear rulings.

The two cases have travelled through the High & Appeal courts together, because of identical counsel and partly for similarities in causes espoused.

The two properties, however, have marked dissimilarities. Arrigato Investments Ltd (Ian Gillespie) owned about 150ha of farmland above the southern end of Pakiri Beach which it has been seeking consent to subdivide into 14 rural-residential/countryside living lots, arguing that an extensive planting programme will help restore the environment.

Area in transition

Russell Dye and his wife own a 16.48ha block on Pomona Rd, Kumeu, which they originally wanted to cut into eight rural-residential lots and, by the time their case hit the Environment Court, sought to cut into five lots plus an accessway.

The Dyes want to cut their property into lots of 1.4ha to 6.4ha. In the 1999 judgment of the Environment Court, Judge Gordon Whiting described the locality as being “in transition from an earlier generation of town supply dairy farms, small orchards and vineyards to the present relatively small blocks occupied by an increasing number of large modern houses on properties used for low-intensity agriculture, stud farming, some remnant horticulture and casual ‘hobby’ grazing.”

Two substantial restaurants have opened within 400m of the Dyes’ property, one catering for up to 100 people on an old vineyard block now turned over to wedding receptions and the like, the other for up to 60 people. The largest Pomona Rd property was 7ha, but most were in the 2-4ha range.

The Environment Court found the Dyes’ development would be in keeping with the existing Pomona Rd environment, and that continued grazing would have adverse effects.

Outside designated countryside living areas

In the High Court, Justice Chambers found the Environment Court must have misinterpreted or misunderstood the relevant planning objectives & policies. Principally, Rodney District Council sets out countryside living policy, and specified eight countryside living activity areas. The Dyes’ property was not in any of these.

In the Appeal Court, Justice Tipping said, again, that Justice Chambers worked backwards: “As in the Arrigato case, we consider that the decision of the High Court represents more of an independent assessment by the judge than a consideration by him of whether the conclusion to which the Environment Court came was open to it in law.

“The judge did not interpret the objectives & policies and then identify the manner in which they had been misinterpreted or misunderstood by the Environment Court. Rather he worked backwards.

“He reasoned that because the proposal was not consistent with the objectives & policies as he saw them, the court must have misinterpreted or misunderstood them. There is a difficulty with that reasoning.

“The Environment Court may well have taken a different view from the judge about whether the proposal was contrary to the objectives & policies. It was not for the judge to differ on an appeal limited to questions of law.”

The divide between rules and laissez faire

Justice Tipping then reiterated a point he made in the Arrigato decision, a telling statement on the simple divide between those who would allow only what is regulated for and those who demand that the regulators move aside: “The judge also appears not to have given sufficient attention to the fact that in the case of a non-complying activity, one cannot expect to find support for the activity in the [district] plan. The crucial question was whether the proposed development was contrary to the objectives & policies of the plan.”

The Appeal bench turned to a paragraph where Justice Chambers set out how the Environment Court’s reasoning demonstrated a clear misunderstanding of district plan objectives & policies. In that paragraph, Justice Chambers described how the Environment Court ignored, in five ways, district plan rules and, in one of these examples, regional plan rules.

Trouble was — and it happened in the Arrigato case, too — the Environment Court did not ignore what Justice Chambers said it ignored. The Appeal bench found Justice Chambers’ use of the word “ignores” was “problematic”.

Hard to reconcile

The concept of ignoring was also hard to reconcile with the judge’s ultimate conclusion that the Environment Court had misinterpreted or misunderstood.

And if the judge really meant the Environment Court had given no or insufficient weight to the matters he listed, “he either fell into the error of substituting his own assessment of what weight certain factors should have for that of the court, or in reality found an error of law different from that which he said formed the basis of his conclusion.”

Intransigence

In the High Court, regional council counsel Ian Cowper said that to look at regional policy in a holistic manner as suggested by Arrigato/Dye counsel Richard Brabant is to misconstrue “the very clear & specific provisions of the Auckland regional policy statement dealing with countryside living. Those provisions, implemented as they have been through the provisions of change 55 [of the Rodney district plan], simply do not allow subdivision of the kind proposed.”

Similar regulatory intransigence was advocated throughout regional council evidence in the Environment Court in the Arrigato case, and continues to be advocated in local body hearings on resource consent applications.

The Appeal bench accepted that regional & national documents, and the provisions of part II of the Resource Management Act, “can have a bearing on what is contained in a plan,” but said the starting point when considering a district plan’s objectives & policies had to be those objectives & policies themselves.

Non-compliance doesn’t mean contrary, says Tipping

Justice Tipping said the regional and district councils’ counsel also did not take sufficiently into account that the application was non-complying, which meant it was not going to comply with the plan. He said the essential question was whether it was contrary to the objectives & policies of the plan properly construed.

Justice Tipping said there was no suggestion the district plan objectives & policies were contrary to higher level planning factors, yet it was suggested the proposal itself was contrary to these higher-level documents.

He said the Environment Court found the district plan allowed countryside living outside the designated areas if appropriate, it found this proposal appropriate, so had not misinterpreted or misunderstood the plan’s objectives & policies.

A never-ending and ever-more-costly path…

When Justice Chambers came to cumulative effects, he served up a list he felt the Environment Court should have taken into account, and erred in law by not having regard to: “the cumulative wastewater, stormwater, ecological, roading & servicing effects of the change in land use and in the population densities which might result from the number of restorative subdivision proposals which might follow from allowing this one.”

Said Justice Tipping: “It should be noted at the outset that the judge’s approach would substantially increase the ambit & cost of an application such as the present, and indeed make such applications significantly more extensive & complicated.”

Further on, Justice Tipping returned to Justice Chambers’ view that the Environment Court should have conducted an area-wide assessment with input from all relevant areas of expertise — which, in the form of catchment plans, the regional council would like to see carried out before subdivision takes place.

According to Justice Chambers, the increase in population density resulting from all like proposals might have adverse effects which were quite unforeseen when the matter was looked at from the point of view of an individual site.

Not mandatory

For the Environment Court to have erred in law by not making this assessment, “the judge must have been of the view that what had been omitted was a mandatory requirement. We cannot accept that proposition,” Justice Tipping said.

“There are good policy reasons why such an inquiry as that contemplated by the judge should not be regarded as mandatory in present circumstances. Compliance with the manifold requirements of the Resource Management Act is already complicated & expensive enough as it is; some would say too complicated & expensive.

“To require applicants for consent to non-complying activities to entertain, on a mandatory basis, an area-wide inquiry to deal with all the possible future implications of the granting of the particular consent, would impose very considerable additional burdens on all concerned. It would also be a rather speculative exercise.”

Potential cumulative precedents

Importantly –especially nowadays for greenfield subdivisions — the Appeal Court ruled: “In coming to its conclusions the Environment Court was not required as a matter of law to take into account what were characterised in argument as potential cumulative precedent effects.”

Justice Tipping said the regional council was concerned about macro issues, such as population increases outside designated countryside living areas. “We do not consider that the facts of the present case [just to make this case non-binding on the next one] were such that the Environment Court erred in law by not specifically addressing that sort of issue.”

The Appeal Court inferred that the Environment Court considered on the evidence that the Dye subdivision was a genuine one-off.

In his summary of the questions of precedent & cumulative effects, Justice Tipping said: “The precedent effect of granting a resource consent (in the sense of like cases being treated alike) is a relevant factor for a consent authority to take into account when considering an application for consent to a non-complying activity. The issue falls for consideration under sections 105(2A)(b) and 104(1)(d) of the Resource Management Act.

“Cumulative effects properly understood should also be taken into account pursuant to sections 105(2A)(a) and 104(1)(a).

“But in taking those matters into account, the consent authority has no mandatory obligation to conduct an area-wide investigation involving a consideration of what others may seek to do in the future in unspecified places and unspecified ways in reliance on the granting of the application before it.”

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Waitakere snapshot, week to 1 December 2002

Public/private joint venture proposed for New Lynn development

Waitakere City Council wants developers, property owners, architects & other professional groups to work co-operatively to deliver major development in New Lynn, incorporating private & council initiatives.

The council made its announcement on Friday after a meeting with New Lynn business people to discuss the process & timeline for the new $3.4 million library, service centre & Citizens Advice Bureau.

Deputy mayor Carolynne Stone said the council planned to encourage private retail, office & residential development in concert with these civic amenities, as well as the possibility of roading improvements & a park.

A request for proposal document will be issued by mid-January, to be returned by the end of February, and the council plans to make a decision on a preferred development partner by April.

Cllr Stone said the council wanted proposals that integrate the developments.

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Politicians in a tizz over Whenuapai

Headless-chook syndrome strikes

The Air Force’s pending departure from the 311ha Whenuapai airbase local politicians in a tizz.

Last week Auckland Regional councillors postured their way through a “strategic policy” meeting, figuring they should really be leading the planning for the area’s new-look future. Strategy? Policy? Neither.

This week it was the turn of North Shore City councillors at their “strategy & finance” committee. Like the regional councillors, Shore councillors were miffed that the Defence Force was going about the neighbourhood conducting its version of consultation, and doing so in short time.

The Defence Force has a 16 January closing date for submissions – a closing date, in the middle of the summer holidays, which no local body would get away with. The Defence Force, however, isn’t obliged to consult so it seems to figure it can choose the period.

Like the regional councillors, the Shore councillors didn’t have anything constructive to offer because they hadn’t been able to get hold of much information about the Defence plans. They figured residents of the city would also have trouble making a soundly based submission for the same reasons.

But as they can’t be left to sit & watch, the councillors accepted a motion from mayor George Wood that the council should institute its own citywide consultation on the future of the Whenuapai base (which is just over the border in Waitakere City), and get an outline plan for that consultation to the council’s 17 December meeting.

The Shore councillors also decided to ask the Defence Force to extend the time for submissions in its consultation process until the end of March.

If the decision to start consultation without a sound basis for considering submissions wasn’t bad enough, the Shore committee then started to look at its submission to the Defence Force – until it was pulled up by Cllr Margaret Miles, remarking on the absurdity of making & receiving submissions at the same time.

The Defence Force needs to file a report to Cabinet by April.

Waitakere City Council hasn’t beaten about the bureaucratic or political bush. Instead, it’s been campaigning for months for a 2nd Auckland commercial airport to take over from the Air Force at Whenuapai.

They have systems ready to use

The behaviour of all the councils – and the Defence Force – is entirely out of step with the reasoned approach supposedly implicit in the regional planning process.

Auckland has a regional growth strategy & a regional land transport strategy. Through the Regional Growth Forum it has sector agreements – the Whenuapai area fits into the north-western sector agreement put together by Waitakere & North Shore City Councils, Rodney District Council & the regional council.

An application to rezone the Babich block back of Henderson from its vineyard use to urban, necessitating its inclusion inside the metropolitan urban limit, has gone through numerous planners’ hoops but still hasn’t been completed.

All the processes are there for the Whenuapai land to be considered in the same dispassionate fashion. Instead, you see councillors behaving like headless chooks.

Mind you, a decision by that many committees – if they were all allowed into the act – would look like a forest of camel humps. Perhaps the best option in that case would be for the departing landlord, Defence, just to sell to somebody with a bright idea.

Previous stories: Regional councilors figure they should be taking Whenuapai lead
Council report says Whenuapai closure would cost $235 million/year

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Rodney decision on Kumeu subdivision seriously upsets regional council

ARC appeals Lynmac consent to stop precedent

The Auckland Regional Council has appealed against Rodney District Council consent granted to a 24-lot subdivision of just over 4ha at Kumeu, saying it raises “significant policy & environment issues that extend way beyond the boundaries of the site.”

Rodney’s transgression would also be placed on the Regional Growth Forum agenda for its next meeting, the regional council’s strategic planning committee decided.

Lynmac Developments Ltd (Robert McIntyre & Lyndsay Dowler) applied to subdivide the site at the corner of Matua & Tapu Rds, Kumeu, in August 2000 and the district council’s hearings committee heard it on 21 December 2001.

The regional council’s senior planning officer, Geoff Winn, said the district council planner’s report recommended the application be declined.

Mr Winn said in his report to the strategic policy committee today the Kumeu-Huapai area was one of a number in Rodney identified as having the potential to accommodate urban growth. An area containing the Lynmac site had been zoned special 12 (future urban).

Subdivision could hinder future urbanisation

The regional council gets uptight when development proceeds ahead of catchment & structure plans, and in this case the reduction to large urban lots could hinder provision of infrastructure if the area was fully urbanised.

Mr Winn said until this future urban zone had a structure plan developed & introduced into the district plan, it remained rural land. “A central feature of the future urban zone is that no subdivision is to occur so as not to prejudice further development of any part of the land or any other land in the locality for future urban development.

“The primary method for ensuring that such land is not compromised by piecemeal or premature subdivision is a 4ha minimum site area requirement.”

Consent anticipates process

Mr Winn then dwelt on the policy issues: “A major issue arising from the application is that it attempts to anticipate the statutory process for opening up future urban land. Both the regional policy statement and the transitional & proposed Rodney district plans define clear procedures for changing the use of land from rural to urban use.

“The primary mechanism for managing the change of use is through a structure plan. A structure plan for this area was prepared in 1997 but has not been given a statutory status through incorporation into the district plan.

“As yet, Rodney District Council has not agreed to & finalised the methods for avoiding or mitigating the potential adverse effects of urban development as planned for Kumeu-Huapai in both the regional growth strategy and the recent proposed district plan.”

4 infrastructure issues

Mr Winn said the potential adverse effects at Kumeu-Huapai related to 4 issues:

Sewage: The district council has yet to determine when & how & by what means this urban growth is to be provided with an appropriate sewage treatment scheme

Water supply: There is currently no reticulated supply of water available to provide for the anticipated growth

Stormwater & flood management: This is a major issue which can only be addressed by the district council through a comprehensive catchment management plan

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Waitakere City resource consent & planning activity, March 2003

Waitakere to make most of proposed district plan operative

Proposed district plan, the council has resolved to make parts of the plan operative on 27 March. Exceptions are some policies, the definition of structure plan area, some subdivision rules, managed natural area rule 2, citywide financial contributions rules, human environment rules, special area rules 17 & 19, district plan maps relating to Waiarohia, Birdwood & Swanson structure plans, the Penihana land, 5 addresses on Laingholm Drive, Don Buck Rd & Huia Rd, and the Babich concept area.

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Growth forum tells minister at last it wants a role in setting Whenuapai’s future

Region’s leaders sadly lacking in leadership

Auckland’s Regional Growth Forum decided today to tell Defence Minister Mark Burton he should set up a joint officials group from the Government, Defence Force & the growth forum to report on options for the Whenuapai airbase.

The Defence Force is due to report to the minister at the end of March. The growth forum wants the officials group to have a new brief agreed and a new timetable set, so a report can be tabled at the forum’s June meeting.

Local & regional politicians – except for Waitakere City’s, supported by Rodney District’s – have largely vacillated over the airbase’s future, whinging that the Defence Force had taken the wrong approach in running its own consultation process but not taking a firm leadership role themselves.

North Shore City councillors have harped for 4 months that the pros & cons of different options haven’t been analysed, and that this must be done before any decision on the base’s future is reached.

Waitakere has plumped for a commercial airbase to make up for the loss of about $230 million/year in income in the city which will be lost with the Defence Force’s departure.

Plenty of discussion has been along the lines that the base is outside the metropolitan urban limit – without the helpful addition of acceptance that, with the base’s departure, perhaps the urban limit could be changed.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis told the forum Auckland International Airport at Mangere had capacity to accommodate all the region’s needs until 2050: “Contemplating another airport within the region at this time is a dumb idea.”

Sir Barry did propose — many years down the track – that if another airport was needed it might be located in the vicinity of Warkworth or Wellsford in Rodney, “which is the next principal growth centre in this region.” For that event, he suggested the Rodney council, growth forum & regional council could start considering some largescale structural planning.

Waitakere deputy mayor Carolynne Stone asked the forum to recommend to the minister that the region retain the opportunity for a 2nd airport but was outvoted and Waitakere abstained from further voting.

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, late for the forum after attending a funeral, told the forum: “You don’t understand the process. You’ve had 2 years to do this [get a timetable & decision on the base’s future]. We don’t want another talkfest… We thought there might be some wisdom here, not hot air. We want a decision.”

From the sideline, it was a sad spectacle. Waitakere’s council has taken a stand, campaigning for a particular proposal. The leadership Auckland’s population ought to expect from its politicians has, apart from that, been distinctly lacking.

The North Shore councillors are right: the pros & cons should be discussed. And if they and the representatives of the region’s other local bodies were doing their job in the area of regional strategy, a proactive growth forum would have taken the lead long ago.

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Regional council sticks with locals for Waitakere Ranges liaison role

Waitakere council looking at 3 broad options

The Auckland Regional Council has completed the makeup of a political liaison group on the Protection of the Waitakere Ranges Project by appointing 2 local councillors, Sandra Coney & Paul Walbran.

The rest of the liaison group are 2 Waitakere City councillors, either or both the Waitakere and New Lynn members of Parliament and 2 Maori representatives, 1 from Te Kawerau a Maki and the other from Ngati Whatua.

Regional council strategic policy analyst Matt Heale said in a report to today’s strategic policy committee meeting the Waitakere council had a strategic goal to permanently protect the Waitakere Ranges.

He said the range of options to be considered had broadly been reduced to 3:

The status quo, with reliance on a mixture of district plan provisions, advocacy & incentives

A programme of land acquisition to increase the area of reserve land, and

Changes to, or new, legislation.The regional council’s parks committee chairman, Cllr Bill Burrill, also expressed interest in going on the liaison group but will be offered as an alternate representative.

Regional council chairman Gwen Bull suggested Cllr Burrill’s appointment might balance what was otherwise a “westie” group, but this wasn’t pursued.

Given Mr Heale’s concluding remark that the ranges “are a resource of local, regional, national & international significance,” a wider perspective might have been sought. However, the Waitakere council has already been working for some time on protection measures, including a review of structure planning as a mechanism for providing sustainable development in the foothills.

Mr Heale said recent structure plan proposals in the foothills, district plan appeals in the Titirani/Laingholm area and possible urban expansion in the Swanson/Sturges area had brought the protection issue to the fore.

The regional council had also raised concern, in relation to the need to undertake a rural review, “to comprehensively ascertain the cumulative effects of enabling further development through introducing structure plans in Waitakere City.”

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