On the edge of Auckland city, next to the thriving community of Long Bay, a unique housing development has been proposed. It would see the creation of a new community in Okura and expand one of Auckland’s greatest parks.
This website has been developed to help create greater public understanding about the project.
PROPOSED NEW HOUSING AND COASTAL RESERVE DEVELOPMENT
The opportunity to create a unique new housing community and a public reserve along 2km of coastline is now in the hands of the Environment Court.
In September and early November, Todd Property will present evidence and witnesses in support of its development proposal.
NZ’S NATIONAL WALKWAY TRUST URGES CONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC ACCESS AT OKURA
June 2017 –
The opportunity to open up public access to the Okura Estuary waterfront and greatly enhance New Zealand’s national walkway should not be lost, according to Te Araroa Trust.
Outgoing Te Araroa Chief Executive Rob Wakelin has welcomed a proposal to create an extensive new waterfront reserve at Okura, as part of a new housing development planned for the area. The reserve would span more than 2km along the coastline and act as an extension to the Long Bay Regional Park.
“This has presented a really exciting possibility, not just for walkers but also for the local community who would benefit most. We, as kiwis, have really got to grasp these opportunities when they come along or the moment passes and may never return,” Mr Wakelin said.
Todd Property is planning to create extensive public walkways and cycle ways as part of a new community development it has proposed for Okura, where the company owns 130ha of land overlooking the Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve.
More than 40 per cent of the land would be set aside for public green open space, involving stream restoration and riparian planting between Okura village and the northern end of Long Bay Regional Park. Currently used as a farm, the remaining land would be transformed into a new housing area.
Mr Wakelin said while Te Araroa maintained a “neutral position” on the housing development, the organisation could not ignore the opportunity for public access enhancement at Okura. The new reserve could greatly improve the route for Te Araroa, and help realise a long-held vision for the Crimson Walkway development championed by the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board.
“It’s really important that considerations such as public access are not lost from the discussion as we’re debating the merits of housing development. Currently if you want to enjoy the Long Bay Regional Park, you walk to the top, spin around, and walk back the way you’ve come. With this proposal, the entire peninsula comes into play from a recreational perspective, and we believe that shouldn’t be ignored.”
Public access to the coast would be opened up as part of the development.
Todd’s land at Okura was subdivided back in the 1970s, and unusually all the waterfront sections have riparian rights. Mr Wakelin said if the existing subdivision were to proceed, the opportunity for greater public access would be lost.
“We face the very real proposition that kiwis will never ever access this piece of coastline because under the status quo that is exactly what will happen. It would be near impossible to negotiate public access across that many properties. The opportunity for public access is now, the time is now. It may never fall into our laps again.”
Marine Reserve Protection
March 2017 –
Visitors to one of Auckland’s most beautiful parks will have more room to roam, following a proposal to create a new coastal reserve as part of a housing development.
The new reserve would include regenerated streams, wetlands and public walkways right next to the Long Bay Regional Park – with extensive coastal planting to help ensure the future health of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.
The reserve development is part of a plan to create a new medium-density housing community at Okura, easing Auckland’s housing shortage with between 750 and 1000 new family homes.
“Along with new housing, our plan is to set aside 42 per cent of the land for public space, including a stunning new reserve stretching along the estuary waterfront to expand the Long Bay Regional Park. This would guarantee public access to the coastline for future generations to enjoy,” said Todd Property Managing Director Evan Davies.
The development is proposed for a 130ha block of coastal land, located just north of the established Long Bay community and overlooking the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.
It’s a delicate and cherished marine environment, and Mr Davies says protecting its future health has been a priority from day-one of the early concept stage of the development.
More than three years of environmental research has been carried out by some of New Zealand’s most respected environmental consultants, in order to understand the potential impact on the marine reserve if the development were to proceed.
This research includes robust assessments from Boffa Miskell, New Zealand’s leading landscape and environmental consultancy, and extensive work by scientists at the Crown agency NIWA, in order to understand the existing ecology of the Okura estuary and how it might be affected by development.
This work has amounted to thousands of hours of research – simulations of how urban contaminants, metal accumulation, sediment loading and sediment transportation could be affected by tidal movements, wind, rain and sediment particle size. Over 50 scenarios were considered.
Niwa concluded the proposed development would cause no “adverse effects on the biodiversity of Okura Estuary or on the Marine Reserve”. In fact, sediment run-off from the land is expected to reduce if the development went ahead, falling by an estimated 35 to 40 tonnes each year.
“We have a proven track record for quality and sustainable development, and we would like to assure people of the quality of the scientific research that has been undertaken. This project more than stands up to environmental scrutiny, and will cause no degradation to the biodiversity of the Marine Reserve or the Okura Estuary,” Mr Davies said.
Niwa marine ecologists assess the potential impact of development on the marine reserve.
Last year, Todd Property presented its proposal and evidence at the Auckland Unitary Plan hearings – evidence which was subsequently accepted by both the Unitary Plan’s Independent Hearings Panel and Council staff.
Both groups recommended the Okura housing development be allowed to proceed, but unfortunately both the Panel and Council officers’ recommendations were rejected by the Council’s governing body.
Todd Property has now appealed to the Environment Court, seeking to have their recommendations upheld and to ask that the development be allowed to proceed.