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, which will decide on whether or not the development can proceed.
In September and early November, Todd Property will present 1400 pages of evidence and 20 witnesses in support of its development proposal, which was backed last year by the expert Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel, and endorsed by Auckland Council officers.
Todd Property’s proposal is for a new master planned community at Okura, creating new housing and a new coastal reserve which will significantly expand the neighbouring Long Bay Regional Park – one of the most visited parks in the country.
“This new coastal reserve will be significant, unlocking public access to land that’s been farmed and in various private ownership for decades,” said Todd Property Managing Director Evan Davies. “There is a real opportunity before us to create something quite special and different – a new and sustainable eco community that will ensure the future protection of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.”
An artistic impression showing what the proposed new coastal reserve could look like.
Currently used as a farm, the development would take place on a 130ha block of land overlooking the marine reserve and neighbouring the suburb of Long Bay.
Under the proposal, more than 40 per cent of the land (55ha) would be set aside for a new coastal reserve – resulting in a substantial park more than three times larger than the Auckland Zoo. The park’s design would promote nature walks, shared community spaces and feature extensive riparian planting and playgrounds.
“This proposal is in stark contrast with the current subdivision for the land – something that dates back to the 1970s. All of the waterfront sections have riparian margins, meaning without a different approach to development, public access to the coast would be lost forever,” Mr Davies said.
New Zealand’s National walkway Trust Te Araroa has already given its support for the reserve development, calling the plan to open up public access to the waterfront “an exciting opportunity not to be lost”.
If approved, the development would also include the construction of between 750 – 1000 new houses, with a special emphasis on environmental protection. For example, all properties will have individual or communal rain gardens – specially designed filtering system to remove pollutants and slow down stormwater flows.
“We have worked very closely with scientists from NIWA to ensure the protection of the neighbouring marine reserve, and they have concluded the proposed development would cause no degradation to the biodiversity of the marine reserve,” Mr Davies said.
Todd Property appealed to the Environment Court late last year, after Auckland Council’s governing body voted against the development. The vote was in contrast with the view of the expert Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel, which recommended the development be allowed to proceed – a recommendation subsequently endorsed by Council officers.
The Environment Court is expected to release its decision in early 2018.