August 2018 Newsletter

It’s been a busy last month, responding to several deadlines related to the America’s Cup resource consent application, and attention has now turned to the resource consent that Auckland Council is seeking for the St Mary’s Bay/Masefield Beach project  (But do read to the end of this newsletter…we’re having a party on 26 August and everyone is invited!)

  • America’s Cup hearing
  • Many objections to St Mary’s Bay/Masefield beach water project
  • Stormwater discharge consent application
  • Security in St Mary’s Reserve
  • Let’s get together and party!

America’s Cup hearing in Environment Court

Panuku Development’s application for a resource consent for construction of the America’s Cup bases (the revised proposal known as the Wynyard Hobson proposal)  is to be heard by the Environment Court in mid -September.

In late May, the St Mary’s Bay Association (the SMBA) filed a submission on this application and has given notice that it wishes to be heard at the hearing.

In essence, the SMBA supports the Wynyard Hobson proposal provided appropriate countervailing interests are recognised in the resource consent conditions. The SMBA wants to ensure that:

  • The integrity of the 2012 Waterfront Plan and the 2013 Sustainable Development Framework is maintained, and temporary infrastructure is removed as soon as possible after the event.
  • The location and size of buildings continue to allow harbour-edge access and protect harbour views.
  • Any increase in stormwater should not adversely affect water quality.
  • The public is safeguarded from potential hazards such as fire, posed by proximity to the tank farm.
  • Following the temporary relocation of the fishing fleet, it must be returned to its original (or suitable alternative) berthage in order to preserve the historic character of the area.
  • Proposed permanent relocation of the Sealink ferries does not impact the long-term plans for public use of land at Wynyard Point.

Since then Auckland Council (as the regulatory authority) has provided its statutory report on the application (containing numerous technical reports and draft management plans) which together review the various aspects and effects of construction, for example, traffic, noise and urban design:

Most recently, on 19, 20 and 30 July, the SMBA, along with other submitters, attended a lengthy mediation at which all issues raised by submitters were discussed, and many have been resolved.  Although formal recording of agreements reached at the mediation has not yet been concluded, SMBA considers that the issues it raised in its submission are likely to be addressed in the conditions, and that it is unlikely that the SMBA will need to take part in the Environment Court hearing in September.

Many objections to St Mary’s Bay and Masefield beach water quality improvement project

As we have reported previously, Auckland Council’s stormwater department (Healthy Waters) has applied for resource consent to construct the large tunnel and associated structures in its planned St Mary’s Bay and Masefield Beach water quality improvement project. The structures include:

  • a conveyance and storage pipeline running from New Street/London Street through the reserve at the foot of St Mary’s Road, to a reserve area below Pt Erin;
  • odour dispersal towers at the intersection of New Street and London Street, a weir structure and odour control structure in St Mary’s reserve, and another weir structure, a pump station, and another odour control unit within lower Pt Erin park;
  • a return pipeline from the pump station to main trunk sewer No 5 in Hackett Street; and
  • a marine pipeline from the low point of the storage pipeline to an outfall to the west of the Harbour Bridge.

The St Mary’s Bay Association and a large number of local residents have filed submissions opposing the application.  A total of 83 submissions were filed, with only two in support and two neutral. These submissions are on the council website:

As you will see if you read the submissions, the local effect of these measures is controversial.

The   SMBA believes the application should be declined and that:

  • More information and true consultation was and is required;
  • Healthy Waters rejected separation of pipes for sewage and stormwater as the appropriate solution, without the necessary data to make an informed assessment. The SMBA believes that the planning for this project should be considered within the planning for Western Isthmus Water Quality Improvement Plan;
  • The effects of this project on the environment are significant and potentially serious, and, if they eventuate, will outweigh the intended benefits of improved water quality;
  • The 10m high ventilation stacks close to residential properties on the corner of New Street and London Street are unacceptable aesthetically and there may be significant build-up of odour;
  • Hearing of the resource consent application should be deferred until Healthy Waters has obtained consents from all property owners above the line of the tunnel, as required under the Local Government Act;
  • The application should not be determined until the vote of a community meeting on May 29 of some 120 people has been considered. The meeting called for suspension of the project pending an informed assessment of separation of pipes, and peer review of the project.

The SMBA submission can be read here

You may have received a further flyer from Council last weekend about this project.  It attempts to answer many of the concerns raised by submitters.  We are still checking some of the information but at this point we believe that it is largely a self-serving view of the project and the application and does not address the concerns.   We will let you know more as soon as we are in a position to do so.

The SMBA is now preparing for the hearing of this application (by planning commissioners), which will commence on 18 September and is scheduled to run until 21 September. Should expert evidence be required in support of the SMBA argument against this application it will be necessary to seek funds from individuals in the community as the association does not have the resources to fund this itself.

If you are a submitter who has already sought written expert opinion we invite you to share that with the SMBA. Please contact me, David Abbott, chair, SMBA

Application for stormwater discharge consent

We have also reported previously that the SMBA has filed a submission on another application by Healthy Waters – for a discharge consent for its stormwater network.  The stated purpose of the application is to establish uniform conditions for such discharges throughout the Auckland region. The SMBA is supporting the position of the Stop Auckland Sewage Overflows Coalition (of which the SMBA is a member) that there needs to be a co-ordinated regional approach to separation of stormwater and wastewater.  We have still to decide whether the SMBA will take part in that hearing.

This application will be heard by planning commissioners between 19 and 21 November.

Security in St Mary’s Reserve

Concerns about security in the reserve at the end of St Mary’s Road are being addressed following a recent early morning assault on a female jogger. The SMBA met with police to walk through the reserve and identify possible security improvements, in particular better lighting and trimming of foliage.

The subsequent police report recommends consultation with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to consider the following:

  • Improve lighting along the walkway
  • Improve lighting and signage at all entry/exit points
  • Consider installing an emergency phone at either the St Mary’s Rd entrance or the Jacobs Ladder entrance
  • Prompt attention to overgrown trees and shrubs
  • Maintain a diligent maintenance programme.

Let’s get together and party!

Do you know your neighbours? Like to know more about what’s happening in our great little suburb? The association is planning to repeat the popular community function, held for the first time last year, where we can all gather over a glass of wine on a leisurely Sunday afternoon, relax and enjoy each other’s company, and discuss what we feel about the various issues affecting our neighbourhood.

Local favourite, Mary’s café, has agreed to host this event for a second time, on 26 August. We’ll be in contact soon with more information – and hope to see you there.

Warm regards,
David Abbott
St Mary’s Bay Association