Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Stop bigger Gables pub site plans, says councillor

Mike Lee has asked Housing Minister Nick Smith to revoke the special housing area for the Kelmarna Ave site. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Mike Lee has asked Housing Minister Nick Smith to revoke the special housing area for the Kelmarna Ave site. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Plans to develop the Gables pub site in Herne Bay for 70 apartments should not proceed, says councillor Mike Lee.

The local councillor says the development is bigger than an earlier plan rejected in 2007 and would overload the century-old stormwater and wastewater system.

Seventy apartments, three shops and 98 carparks are planned for the Kelmarna Ave site, which has been approved as a "special housing area" and can proceed under fast-track rules.

Mr Lee has drafted a letter to Housing Minister Nick Smith, asking him to revoke the special housing area.

In the letter he said the Environment Court declined consent in 2007 for a smaller development with a tavern, 14 office units, four townhouses and four apartments.

In his judgment, Environment Court judge Fred McElrea said the development was an "over intensive use of the site" and would lead to adverse environmental effects and conflict with provisions in Auckland City's district plan.

Mr Lee said the century-old combined wastewater and stormwater system in the area had capacity for present levels of wastewater in dry weather, but not in wet weather when there were more than 52 overflows and discharges of sewage into the Waitemata Harbour a year.

Holding tanks could largely cope with extra stormwater from 70 apartments and three shops, Mr Lee said, but more and a greater concentration of wastewater pollutants would flow into the harbour.

Plans by Watercare for a central interceptor to avert wastewater overflows in the area were still nine years away, Mr Lee said.

Therefore, he said, the development did not meet the "adequate infrastructure" provision in the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.

Watercare infrastructure planning manager David Blow said "special housing area" developments, such as Kelmarna Ave, could proceed because holding tanks held back stormwater in wet weather and the combined pipe could cope with extra wastewater.

"It's on that basis that we advised the development committee of Auckland that by and large we have no objection to these (central city proposals) being considered special housing areas," Mr Blow said.

Previous proposal - refused consent

• Tavern

• Retail

• 14 office units

• 4 townhouses

• 4 apartments

• 56 carparks on one level

• 3 storeys

• Did not build to every boundary

• Open planted area

Current proposal

• 3 shops

• 70 apartments

• 98 carparks on two levels

• 4 storeys

• Bigger, bulkier, greater site coverage

- NZ Herald

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