The Far North District Council was asking for feedback on its draft district plan when it set up a gazebo at Cable Bay on Thursday, and it got plenty, including from local couple Jan and Bob Vartan.
They presented 100 submissions supporting a zone change that would enable a retirement village to be built at Cooper's Beach to policy planner Makarena Dalton, telling her that such a facility was desperately needed.
The land that resident Per Lugnet planned to develop as a retirement village was partially zoned residential and partially rural living; it was the latter that needed to change. Ms Dalton said an application had been lodged 12 months ago, but Mrs Vartan claimed it went back much further.
Mangonui resident, who is working on the project, said earlier this year that Mr Lugnet had been planning the development since 2011, and council planning and infrastructure staff had been aware of it since that time.
Mr Lugnet had installed the main infrastructure, which would be connected to each unit as it was completed.
The village would be community-owned, Mr Simms said, the plans providing for a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, to be built in three 20-unit stages. When Stage 1 was completed and Stage 2 under way, a start would be made on a rest home, initially with 40 beds, expanding to 80. When completed it would employ around 40 staff.
"This land is the only suitable area in this proximity to local facilities. There are no other facilities of this type in the area, and to my knowledge, none are planned," he added.
"Given the high number of retirees in the area it is essential infrastructure, and fits with the council's mission statement 'to provide livable communities.'
"In the absence of such a facility, many people, as they age, are having to move away from the community they have made their home.
"Not only will this village and rest home provide for the ageing and elderly, it will provide significant employment, during construction and then in professional staff employment in the rest home, and in tradesmen servicing the village."
Mrs Vartan's concern was that council approval was taking so long. People were being forced to leave the community because of their increasing needs.
She said the council had advertised in that day's Northland Age, notifying its decision to to re-zone six properties in Kerikeri from rural living to residential, Ms Dalton saying that application had been lodged in March last year.
The council saw and understood the situation at Doubtless Bay, she said, but there was a process that had to be followed.
"We are totally aware of the issues and concerns."