As residential developments press closer to native bush reserves, cat predation is increasingly an issue, leading to bans on cat ownership in some areas.
The proposed Grand View Estate of 575 homes is adjacent to DOC’s Nukumea Scenic Reserve, a major habitat for the at-risk, ground nesting fern bird.
The resource consent application for the development is currently before independent commissioners and is staunchly opposed by Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird, who brought in Dr Margaret Stanley as expert witness in support of cat-free conditions.
Commissioners have come to a preliminary view that the native fauna of Nukumea Reserve would benefit from a cat ban and requested the developer, Orewa West Investments, to provide an example of such a condition.
They won’t have far to look – Sunny Heights development, off West Hoe Heights in Orewa, also around 570 homes, has placed a cat-free covenant on a portion of its site, which will be on the title of those properties. Auckland Council compliance officers can issue infringement notices to anyone acting contrary to a consent notice.
Sunny Heights includes QEII covenanted bush and is close to Eaves Bush Scenic Reserve and 10ha deemed a Significant Ecological Area (SEA).
A spokesperson for Sunny Heights developer Changda International says that the ban is to support the work Changda is doing in the SEA, which includes removing weed species, pest control and expansion of the area with over 1ha of additional native bush and stream restoration planting.
The Weiti Bay development in Stillwater has also placed a prohibition on cat ownership over all lot owners, which developer Evan Williams says will be policed by the body corporate, with owners also having a direct obligation to Council.
“The hole in the system, so to speak, is that the cat populations around Weiti are uncontrolled,” Mr Williams says.