By PHILIP ENGLISH
The Auckland Regional Council has approved the first mussel farm in the Kaipara Harbour for about 20 years, against the advice of its staff.
Council planning commissioners Lady Patricia Thorp, representing Auckland City, Philip Sherry, representing North Shore City, and Brian Smith, representing Rodney, decided the 30ha mussel farm to be located off Te Kawau Pt on South Kaipara Head should be approved subject to conditions.
The mussel farm application from Biomarine attracted 22 submissions against the proposal and four submissions giving either outright or conditional support.
About 20 years ago a mussel farm existed south of the location of the proposed site but became derelict after seven or eight years.
The Biomarine farm would be the first long line mussel farm in the Kaipara Harbour. The commissioners accepted that the Biomarine proposal would have landscape and visual effects but considered they would not be significant.
Mr Smith held a conflicting view to his two colleagues on the effects of the mussel farm on the natural character of the area. While Lady Thorp and Mr Sherry held that the mussel farm would not be out of character in the existing rural landscape, Mr Smith believed the mussel farm would have adverse effects on the natural character of the area which could not be avoided, remedied or mitigated.
But in granting the application the commissioners went against the advice of staff who said the mussel farm application should be declined.
"If the regional council were to grant this application it would be extremely difficult to decline further applications," staff said. "The result would be a significant alteration to the landscape values of the area."
By PHILIP ENGLISH