29 May 2013

Support for draft plan ‘fading fast’

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Written by: Wayne Thompson
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 29 May 2013

Mayor Len Brown was urged to slow down the process.

Mayor Len Brown was urged to slow down the process.

Local boards urge mayor to slow things down as ‘enhanced engagement process’ causing confusion.

Support for the draft Unitary Plan is “melting faster than snow in sunshine” amid widespread anxiety over intensive housing proposals, say the leaders of three local boards from Orakei, Manurewa and Hibiscus & Bays.

In a joint statement, the leaders say the 11-week so-called “enhanced engagement process” for the pre-notified new rule book for growth has confused the public and lacks credible evidence of the effects of higher-density zoning.

Public comments on the draft plan will be accepted up to 5pm on Friday and so far 3000 individual comments have come in.

However, Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson predicted a low response from the usually outspoken eastern suburbs people.

Most people were “in the dark” about the council’s disclosure, after nine weeks of presentations, that 70 per cent of the area was proposed for a mixed housing zone, with a maximum height of three storeys instead of two.

They would have wanted a say if they had known that was the case, she said, and urged Mayor Len Brown to slow down the process, which is scheduled to produce a final draft version for public consultation in September.

Manurewa Local Board chairwoman Angela Dalton called on the council to show its evidence in favour of planning for 7000 extra houses in the area. The board’s own market research – presented to the council – showed it was unlikely to happen.

Hibiscus & Bays chairwoman Julia Parfitt said the council failed to support the local board area plan for growth, which had been worked through her board in consultation with the community.

“The arrogance of Auckland Council’s approach is without precedent,” said Mrs Parfitt.

In their statement, the leaders said there was anxiety about where Auckland Council was going and what it had planned for the future.

Asked to comment yesterday, Mr Brown responded in a written statement. “Overwhelmingly, the engagement over the past weeks has been constructive and thoughtful.

“I’ve made it clear that we are listening to the community and there are some areas where we will need to make changes.

“We will go through all of the feedback during June and work through specific changes, before notifying the plan for three years of formal consultation.”

Have your say

5pm Friday is the cut off for public comments on the draft plan
3000 individual comments have come in so far


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