Air race proposal races for consent

Tickets were still available to buy from the organisers’ website when Hibiscus Matters went to press last Friday, despite the fact that the event does not yet have Council approval.

A proposed two-day Air Races event in Orewa next March has some hurdles to clear before it can go ahead.

Orewa Beach Carnival (OBC) representative Ken Ogilvie presented the proposal to the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board in June, outlining the event which he says will include air displays and races, powerboat races, a parachute drop, jet ski and land yacht races. The initial landowner consent application sought exclusive use of Orewa Beach for the event on March 7 and 8, as well as a third day for practice.

The organisation is still in the process of securing landowner consent from the local board. In a statement to Hibiscus Matters, OBC says that its initial application has been reworked and will be re-submitted shortly.

Auckland Council has confirmed an event permit application has been received, adding that, “To date, no event permit, resource consent or land approval has been granted.”

However, OBC says its commitment to host the event in March 2020 remains.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised by the business association, Destination Orewa, and local board chair Julia Parfitt.

Mrs Parfitt says she is aware of business owners who have been approached to sponsor the event to the tune of $25,000. “I want to make it absolutely clear that this event currently has no approvals in place,” Mrs Parfitt says. “I would hate to see businesses out of pocket and, until the consents are approved, I advise people to be cautious.”

She says landowner approval is just the first step. The organisers will also need a full traffic management plan from Auckland Transport, as well as waste management and health and safety plans. An event of this size and scope is also likely to require resource consent, and approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority and Harbourmaster.

Mrs Parfitt said, in her view, “The intervening local body election and the time these consents take to process make it very unlikely that the event will be fully permitted in time for next March”.

Destination Orewa operations manager Hellen Wilkins says that around nine organisations approached her after they received requests from an OBC representative seeking large sums in sponsorship upfront, in return for the purchase of vouchers from that business.

Asked about this, an OBC spokesperson denied asking for money upfront. He said in a statement, “Our organisation has been offering to purchase quantities of locally sourced product and services. We have engaged other parties to generate sponsorship for this event”.

Hibiscus Matters sought further details from Orewa Beach Carnival about the company behind the event, sought a response to the concerns raised and queried whether the timeframe of next March was achievable, bearing in mind Council’s processes.

The paper received the following response, “We will not be sending any such documents to further these false allegations that you are endeavouring to make”. The company also threatened the paper with a High Court injunction.

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