A developer working on a subdivision adjacent to the Ōrewa River has applied to remove a portion of native bush that has Auckland Council protection as a Significant Ecological Area (SEA).
The vegetation, which consists of pohutukawa, puriri and coastal broadleaved forest, has been given protection because of its diversity, rarity and provision of bird migration pathways and buffers. At one time, Council considered purchasing the land for a reserve (see box).
The owner of the site at 117 Arran Point Parade, J G Land, is developing it. It is zoned Residential – Single House under the Auckland Unitary Plan.
Although the application seeks to remove 192sqm of bush in order to create eight residential lots, J G Land director Joel Giddy says overall, the proposal will increase the total amount of protected bush.
This is because the company is proposing to place a covenant on the remaining unprotected bush on the site to protect an additional 1401sqm of vegetation.
“We see the importance of preserving this and are doing everything possible to do so,” he says. “ Local residents should not be worried that this bush will be impacted, rather it will be enhanced.”
The application went into Council last month and currently is on hold, as staff seek more information from the developer.
Auckland Council resource consents North West manager, Ian Dobson, says included in the assessment will be the land’s ecological values and any effects of the proposal on natural hazard controls such as land stability. Soil conservation, landscape values, how the bush will be removed and the effects of that work, as well as any mitigation measures proposed will also be considered.
“The applicant needs to demonstrate that these effects are appropriately avoided, remedied and mitigated to a degree that is acceptable to obtain a consent,” he says.
The applicant has asked for no public notification but this decision rests with Council planners who have not as yet considered whether notification is appropriate.
Backstories August 16, 2021
Not a reserve after all
Many locals were under the impression that this piece of land alongside Ōrewa River was set aside by Council for a public reserve when the larger surrounding subdivision gained consent. In fact, this is stated in the developer’s resource consent application documents – “…the site was identified as a scenic reserve to vest in Auckland Council as part of the underlying subdivision consent. Council have confirmed that they no longer wish to purchase the lot for a reserve, and as such the lot has reverted to a balance lot for residential development”. Hibiscus Matters asked Council about this change of heart. In response, Auckland Council head of property and commercial business, Kim O’Neill, said purchase of the land was not part of consent conditions, but was nevertheless considered in 2015. The option was rejected, leaving its future in the hands of its owners. “The purpose of acquisitions is to provide an Auckland-wide network of parks and open spaces that is accessible and adequate for the needs of new residents,” O’Neill said. “The lot was not acquired because Council would have been left with insufficient budget to acquire other nearby land, resulting in a shortfall of open space for other precincts and an unequal distribution of open space.” “As part of the [wider] 2015 subdivision, Council received a number of esplanade reserves, a stormwater management area, and purchased a neighbourhood reserve. This resulted in new open space of 45,337sqm. The developer also proposed a three-metre-wide pedestrian and cycle pathway around the esplanade reserve at no cost to Council.”