Eastern Courier : April 29th 2011
www.easterncourier.co.nz Friday, April 29, 2011 More & more people are turning to our online editions everyday! Packed with extra features like video, audio, weblinks, galleries, your news and competitions, they're the ultimate multimedia experience. REE Just click on "Latest Edition" at News that you can Read, Hear & Watch! www.easterncourier.co.nz Get more online Tussle over proposal for prime piece of land By MATT BOWEN A heavyweight tug of war over the fate of a prime piece of coastal land is heading to the Environment Court. On one side is Pine Harbour Holdings and on the other is the Pohutukawa Coast Community Association -- both have appealed a February decision on Manukau district plan change 34. The original proposal from Pine Harbour Holdings was to build 500 new household units on 11.58 hectares adjacent to the marina with apartments up to six storeys high as well as retail and com- mercial space over 10 precincts. But the independent commissioners carved a storey off the various levels and increased yard setbacks after analysing 130 public submissions. The company wants those changes reversed. The five-page appeal from solici- tor R E Bartlett says the provisions challenged do not reflect the weight of evidence shown to the commissioners or allow sustainable management of limited land resource . The company, directed by Allan Drinkrow, Simon Male and Steven Riddell, is also seeking costs. The community association is keen to see the project scaled back or scrapped. Chairman Cameron Butler says its appeal will largely follow its orig- inal evidence and submissions. After the decision was released in February Mr Butler said the fact that it s happening at all is against what a lot of us want . Eighty percent of the people in the area did not want this, he said. The association expects to spend up to $100,000 on the appeal. Call to tackle flooding Future floods: Eastern Beach resident Jozef Beerenz wants the Auckland Council to tackle periodic flooding issues at east Auckland beaches. Photo: MATT BOWEN By MATT BOWEN JOZEF Beerenz sees floods when he looks into the future. The 64-year-old expects them to regularly ravage his Eastern Beach home and those of his neighbours. A rare combination of rain, wind, storm surge, low pressure and a king tide caused major flooding to many waterfront homes from Maraetai to Bucklands Beach in January. The Fire Service spent the day pumping water out of houses and sandbagging to prevent more flood- ing. Maraetai teenager Reghan Brownlee lost his most prized possessions when water invaded his bedroom. His bed, couch, television, book- shelf and books, homework desk, drawers, clothes and electronics were all destroyed. It may have been an extreme case but possible sea-level rises associ- ated with global warming and increased storm activity weigh heavily on Mr Beerenz mind. He says the problem is worsening with nothing but talk from the council. In the past 10 years it seems to be happening every year, he says. If nobody does anything then these houses are going to get flooded. In the long term they are going to have to do something. He suggests a breakwater or something to dissipate wave action offshore before it erodes the beachfront and pushes across the road. The Auckland Council is working to address these issues. Stormwater unit officer Matthew Davis says the bottom line is extreme events will cause flooding. Work is under way on a number of fronts, he says. There s work on the ground. If there s an erosion or stormwater problem we have our operations guys check it out and rectify the situation as best they can to our responsibility. We re doing technical studies to try to better understand the risk. Mr Davis says they are also calcu- lating which policy will be best for the region in the short and long term. For example, the council has just commissioned a report from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research to explicitly map the region s sea inundation levels. That includes the effects of cli- mate change, he says. You either go down the track of creating some defence mechanisms like seawalls or you do some kind of planned retreat where you occupy the land now, realising that in 100 years time you may need to be mov- ing back and up, he says. Those initiatives must be evaluated on a policy scale and at a site specific scale because there s no one-size-fits-all option . But Mr Davis reiterates that flooding will undoubtedly occur. When it does the council aims to work with the community to mini- mise the effects, he says.
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