The developers want to build and sell houses on the 650 hectare block that stretches from the bird refuge on the Mangawhai sand dune to Te Arai (Eyres) Point (this is now in 2 blocks – see below).
This area is currently zoned specifically to protect it from losing its “remote” and “non-urban” feel.
To enable them to do this the developers have proposed that the district plan be changed so that the area would be a “Special Zone” that would allow development.
They originally suggested 1,500-2,000 houses. Because of huge opposition they downgraded the numbers sought again and again and when they made a proposal to Rodney Council it was for 180 + shops golf course etc.
This was turned down emphatically by independent commissioners.
They then presented Auckland Council with a new proposal that will have 46 ‘lots’. This time we felt that the commissioners had a pre-conceived outcome and that is the result they came to: they approved the plan change. At this time (26-11-2013) we are deciding whether to appeal to the Enviroment Court. This will largely depend on the funds to do so (we will need a lawyer and expert witnesses).
Of course there will be nothing stopping them from requesting a new Plan Change sometime in the future requesting more lots (but we hope to tie this down if we go to Environment Court).
There are 16 endangered species on the beach including two critically endangered species, one of which is the New Zealand Fairy Tern with less than 40 left in the world!
We at the Te Arai Preservation Society believe that this area is unique for many reasons and that no ‘development’ of this area should take place. We suggest that the land could be purchased as a regional park to be enjoyed by generations to come.