Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Housing dream for 'wasted' island

Marina owner says proposals for 125 three-storey homes on reclaimed land fit with Auckland's Unitary Plan

The reclaimed area is on a 105-year lease awarded by the Crown in 2006.
The reclaimed area is on a 105-year lease awarded by the Crown in 2006.

A marina village is proposed for a "wasted" island which is a 10-minute ferry ride across Waitemata Harbour from the Auckland CBD.

Bayswater Marina lost a 2009 Environment Court appeal against North Shore City Council restrictions on residential building on its 3.4ha, which was reclaimed when the marina was built in the 1990s.

However, owner Simon Herbert said much has changed since - notably the receptive attitude of the Super City councillors to housing plans near the city centre.

It has encouraged Mr Herbert, who bought the marina in 2006, to work on a fresh plan for a better return from the land, which is presently parking lots for trailer boats and cars.

"It's like a little island attached to the mainland by a causeway only 2km from the CBD. It has spectacular views back to the city and could offer an ideal lifestyle and a beautiful public area by the water. I feel it's a wasted resource of land at the moment."

Mr Herbert and his wife, Paula, say the new proposal fits the Auckland Plan and the proposed Unitary Plan, which is now out for comment. This provided for quality urban design, a mix of places for people to live and more places for people to live around transport nodes, including ferry services.

Paula and Simon Herbert say a lot of thought has gone into their plan.
Paula and Simon Herbert say a lot of thought has gone into their plan.

"We have put a lot of thought into what we want to achieve and the feedback we got five or six years ago was that people did not want to see a big slab of hundreds of apartments in five levels.

"We are looking at a less intensive development with, if there are any, just a few apartments and primarily terrace-type houses.

A development covering 15 per cent of the site would give about 125 homes of no more than three-storeys and within 12m height.

Mr Herbert expected it could take up to three years before the Unitary Plan became operative and resource consent applied for.

The reclaimed land is on a 105-year lease granted by the Crown in 2006 and has a 15m-wide public access edge.

The last bid to develop housing on the land was fought by community groups and residents who wanted the land to cater for recreational interests rather than residential.

Bayswater Community Committee chair Gay Richards said the proposed Unitary Plan was open for submissions until February 28 and the committee would hold a public meeting to discuss potential residential development.

Long-standing opponent of marina housing Paddy Stafford-Bush said: "This is reclaimed land from the seabed and it belongs to the people. It's nice the way it is and people are comfortable with it and the way it looks and works."

Chris Darby, newly elected as a councillor for the North Shore, said the land had been wasted because its potential for marine recreation facilities had not been realised.

Bayswater Marina

• 430 marina berths.
• 3.4ha of reclaimed land from the seabed.
• 105-year Crown lease.
• 125 three-storey terrace-type houses on 15 per cent of the site now mooted, with public boardwalk and beach possible.

- NZ Herald

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