Development at Point Wells

Point Wells 2006

Point Wells 2006

This report documents the reasons for my concerns about the development at Point Wells.

Early in this century the RDC proceeded through a detailed consultation process to develop Point Wells and Omaha Flats resulting in the “Point Wells and Omaha Flats Sustainable Development Plan.” The Point Wells community had approved the final draft of the plan and fully supported it when it was ratified by Council. At the Councillor hearing the owners of 228 Point Wells Road employed Terra Nova Planning (Shane Hartley) to present a plan for development of their site which conformed to the wishes of the community and included a significantly wide reserve with path along the foreshore with appropriate public access. This was fully supported by the Whangateau HarbourCare Group (Inc) in their submission.

However, when the Management Plan went forward to be included in the District Plan there were radical ‘behind the scenes’ changes which infuriated the Point Wells community and the HarbourCare as they ignored the communities’ earlier submissions which had come out of the extensive consultation.

In this instance I will focus on the new development although there were other significant issues. At the District Plan Commissioners hearing Terra Nova Planning had been replaced with a local planner and the design radically changed including removing the wide reserve and path along the coast. As a submitter I pointed out that there was no dry land on the foreshore for a reserve under the new plan but the consulting planner disagreed and I had no opportunity to respond.

Some time later Peter Vari was asked to consider this issue when dealing with the plan but this was not done. Now the site is being developed with no regard for the Management Plan. The AC GIS site clearly shows the new boundaries of the subdivision

The seaward boundary is exactly the same as the Rodney District Plan (2000) and I have 1988 Cadastrals showing the boundary in the same place. I believe this line is from the original subdivision in the 1930s or 40s. This clearly indicates that the subdivision is in breach of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. The area defined as Waimanu Reserve is totally under water at high tide. The actual Waimanu Reserve )off Waimany Place) is only accessible from the foreshore by a boardwalk from the settlement Esplanade Reserve.

The rather wiggly yellow line (my poor drawing skills!) indicates the level which is consistently flooded by sea water. It is bordered by an artificial bund built many years ago to keep the sea at bay. It is an area of salt marsh vegetation and mangroves which do not grow on dry land!  The red square indicates a house currently being built.  The section at the top of the picture (with its own peculiar history) was built up to keep it out of the water which surrounds the end at high tides.

The rather wiggly yellow line (my poor drawing skills!) indicates the level which is consistently flooded by sea water. It is bordered by an artificial bund built many years ago to keep the sea at bay. It is an area of salt marsh vegetation and mangroves which do not grow on dry land! The red square indicates a house currently being built. The section at the top of the picture (with its own peculiar history) was built up to keep it out of the water which surrounds the end at high tides.

I have had a brief exchange with AC Surveyor Frank Lovering who stated the following:

What you will be seeing is the GIS boundary of MHWS from an existing survey combined with the new definition from current subdivisional survey, and the new boundary being different from the former.
The new boundaries will be within the current MHWS line, as they must be by law. This is thoroughly checked during the processing.
Another issue with the GIS view is that the air photo overlay is only approximate and is a best fit which cannot be relied on.

I believe this is incorrect and there is no evidence that the old boundary has been moved. No provision has been made for sea level rise or an esplanade reserve.
Why would the GIS site not show the correct boundaries?
According to the Auckland Ports web site the sea level has risen 16cm in the last 100 years. This equates to 12 to 14cm over the life of the original subdivision. This area is very flat and this rise would equate to several metres.

I took the accompanying photo as the tide was coming in at the end of the boardwalk.  High tide was at least 1/2 to 3/4hr away.

I took the accompanying photo as the tide was coming in at the end of the boardwalk. High tide was at least 1/2 to 3/4hr away.

I am sure you are all familiar with the following:

RMA
230 Requirement for esplanade reserves or esplanade strips
3) Except as provided by any rule in a district plan made under section 77(1), or a resource consent which waives, or reduces the width of, the esplanade reserve, where any allotment of less than 4 hectares is created when land is subdivided, an esplanade reserve 20 metres in width shall be set aside from that allotment along the mark of mean high water springs of the sea, and along the bank of any river or along the margin of any lake, as the case may be, and shall vest in accordance with section 231.

and this is supported by the District Plan

Auckland Council District Plan (Rodney Section) 2011.
Subdivision and Servicing: Chapter 23
Subdivision : Esplanade Reserves and Esplanade Strips 23.8.14.1
Sites Less than 4 Hectares
Where any site of less than 4 hectares (other than a site identified as not requiring an esplanade reserve in Appendix 23B) is to be created by subdivision on land abutting the mark of Mean High Water Springs of the sea, or the bank of any river 3 metres or more
in width, or the margin of any lake having an area of more than 8 hectares, an esplanade reserve shall be set aside.
Rule 23.8.14.1.1
Width of Esplanade Reserve
Except as provided in Appendix 23B or in Rule 23.8.14.5, or as indicated on the Planning Maps, an esplanade reserve created under Rule 23.8.14.1 above shall be a minimum width of 20 metres measured in a landward direction from the line of Mean High Water Springs of the sea or the bank of any river or the margin of any lake.

This is further enhanced by the Proposed Unitary Plan

Unitary Plan
Determining Mean High Water Springs
The MHWS boundary has not been surveyed for Auckland, as it has a dynamic and varying location. The indicative coastline shown on the maps is an approximate representation of MHWS-10, which is the level equaled or exceeded by the largest 10 per cent of all high tides.
As a jurisdictional boundary, the exact location of MHWS needs to be defined on a case-by-case basis. Where activities are close to the indicative coastline, a site-specific survey will be required to determine the location of MHWS and the actual CMA boundary. If a site-specific survey determines that MHWS is not located in the position shown on the maps, the zone of the adjacent land or CMA applies.

My concern – There is no Esplanade Reserve!

Google Earth has loaded recent pictures of this areaThis shows the recently constructed path and boardwalk on "public land".  This public area is absolutely useless to the public apart from access to the sea.  The path is bounded on one side by a steep bank and on the other by a drain.  The boardwalk extends out across another drain and over marine vegetation.  Not the sort of place for a picnic unless you set up on the boardwalk and with absolutely no access along the foreshore at high tide.

Google Earth has loaded recent pictures of this area This shows the recently constructed path and boardwalk on “public land”. This public area is absolutely useless to the public apart from access to the sea. The path is bounded on one side by a steep bank and on the other by a drain. The boardwalk extends out across another drain and over marine vegetation. Not the sort of place for a picnic unless you set up on the boardwalk and with absolutely no access along the foreshore at high tide.

The drain below the start of the boardwalk.

The drain below the start of the boardwalk.

The new house is not included in the Google image but this  photo shows how close it is to the seashore.  It also clearly shows the area inundated by the sea.

The new house is not included in the Google image but this photo shows how close it is to the seashore. It also clearly shows the area inundated by the sea.

Just as an afterthought the following picture shows the pipe from the drain under the road.  This drain flows to the sea.  At the time the photo was taken the water was still thus indicating it was at tide level.  The top of this pipe is less than 1 metre from the surface of the road!

Just as an afterthought the following picture shows the pipe from the drain under the road. This drain flows to the sea. At the time the photo was taken the water was still thus indicating it was at tide level. The top of this pipe is less than 1 metre from the surface of the road!

In the past there has been a policy implemented by RDC to require 20m of DRY LAND Esplanade Reserve adjoining every subdivision. One can only speculate as to why, in this case, they failed to pursue their own policies and for both RDC and AC to ignore the requirements of all the Acts and Plans involved.

In view of the fact that there is no Esplanade Reserve and as a house has already been allowed where the Reserve should be, there can Never be an Esplanade Reserve, it seems the only remedy is for the AC to immediately undertake construction of a boardwalk to connect Waimanu Reserve boardwalk and the reserves south of this site

Elizabeth Foster BA(Env.St)
17/6/14

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