Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Save Our Shed - Campaign

Can you help? Do you want to?

It is extraordinary that the Historic Places Trust has so completely and utterly capitulated on the Queens Wharf sheds. It is unclear from its statement whether it is even interested in going ahead with the heritage assessment it recommended the ARC to carry out in a letter dated 15th April. I wonder what happened between Friday and Tuesday?

No matter, as mentioned elsewhere in these blogs, a very robust heritage assessment has already been carried out for ARC and Auckland City Council by Matthews & Matthews Architects. That has credibility and detail.

The planning scenario we seem to be looking at is this:

.....ARC is co-owner and regulator. It administers the Regional Plan Coastal which includes the zonings relating to port activities. One of these covers Queens Wharf. I understand that if the activity that is to go there - or be undertaken there - is a permitted use according to that plan then very little in the way of consenting stands between the ARC and bowling the sheds and outting up the tent. Because there is no protection over the sheds they can be bowled. A bit like the Masonic Hotel across the water at Devonport....

So what else is there to consider?

Well it seems to me that the ARC has duties in terms of the RMA that are wider than simple compliance with a plan - be it the Regional Plan Coastal which has not been updated since the transfer of Queens Wharf into ARC's ownership. Thin ice is what is being skated on here. There is already talk of judicial review proceedings. But maybe a Declaratory Judgement is needed first. One that tests what ARC's duties are in respect of Queens Wharf, and in terms of the planning process that should unfold now.

I suggest this because I get the sense Govt and ARC want to just go ahead and do their worst without due process. Get away with minimum.

What might be best practice?

Did you know - for example - that Sea + City is doing some work now on North Wharf? It has been preparing the wharf structure, and is building some new structures alongside the net shed, and is managing the stormwater from the area etc. Today at ARC, we were advised, as a formaility, that Sea + City had applied for resource consents relating to: public seats on the wharf; stormwater drainage from the wharf; and other matters. I asked a question about this, and was advised that Sea + City were keen to do the "right thing" when it came to consents for these works. It recognised - for example - that public seating on the wharf was not a permitted activity - in the relevant zone. So that is why it applied for consent.

It also applied for consent to allow promenading! But ARC officers advised that was not necessary. This was a fully notified consent. Sea + City did the right thing.

But I reckon ARC is running a mile from notification. Can of worms. Too much public interest. How can we avoid public scrutiny....

I mention this, because it raises issues about what the permitted activity status is on Queens Wharf. This seems to be still "port activities" of some sort - and not things like public seating, or presumably bars and cafes and party time. That is most likely why the powers that be keep emphasising that what they want to build is a "cruise ship terminal" and why the references to "party central" and partying and related activities are being down-played.

All those people. All that drinking. All that pedestrian traffic. All that noise and fun. All those generated effects that normal business es would be required to have carefully crafted conditions of consent sorted out through a notified planning process.

Because the port zoning does not provide for these activities.

If you were a private operator you'd be required to get a consent for any activity that was not provided for in the plan. And while I'm on the topic, what do you think happens to the stormwater from Queens Wharf and the buildings there? Not sure.... neither am I. But it's the ARC that consents those direct discharges into the harbour, and they need to comply.

Another item cropped up on the council agenda today. It related to works being carried out on the wharf at Cornwallis - an ARC regeional park fronting the Manukau Harbour. The works required are pretty minimal, but they are not provided for explicitly in the plan. The report councillors received receommended: "...to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, as the ARC is the applicant, it is recommended that an independent commissioner be appointed to review and make decisions...."

I think that what is good for the goose, should be good for the gander.
I think the ARC is making itself vulnerable to a legal challenge in respect to its compliance with its general duties under the Act.

Is there anyone out there who agrees, and would like to assist further?

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Joel,
Most perceptive blog. Yes I am willing to help

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Save Our Shed - Campaign

Can you help? Do you want to?

It is extraordinary that the Historic Places Trust has so completely and utterly capitulated on the Queens Wharf sheds. It is unclear from its statement whether it is even interested in going ahead with the heritage assessment it recommended the ARC to carry out in a letter dated 15th April. I wonder what happened between Friday and Tuesday?

No matter, as mentioned elsewhere in these blogs, a very robust heritage assessment has already been carried out for ARC and Auckland City Council by Matthews & Matthews Architects. That has credibility and detail.

The planning scenario we seem to be looking at is this:

.....ARC is co-owner and regulator. It administers the Regional Plan Coastal which includes the zonings relating to port activities. One of these covers Queens Wharf. I understand that if the activity that is to go there - or be undertaken there - is a permitted use according to that plan then very little in the way of consenting stands between the ARC and bowling the sheds and outting up the tent. Because there is no protection over the sheds they can be bowled. A bit like the Masonic Hotel across the water at Devonport....

So what else is there to consider?

Well it seems to me that the ARC has duties in terms of the RMA that are wider than simple compliance with a plan - be it the Regional Plan Coastal which has not been updated since the transfer of Queens Wharf into ARC's ownership. Thin ice is what is being skated on here. There is already talk of judicial review proceedings. But maybe a Declaratory Judgement is needed first. One that tests what ARC's duties are in respect of Queens Wharf, and in terms of the planning process that should unfold now.

I suggest this because I get the sense Govt and ARC want to just go ahead and do their worst without due process. Get away with minimum.

What might be best practice?

Did you know - for example - that Sea + City is doing some work now on North Wharf? It has been preparing the wharf structure, and is building some new structures alongside the net shed, and is managing the stormwater from the area etc. Today at ARC, we were advised, as a formaility, that Sea + City had applied for resource consents relating to: public seats on the wharf; stormwater drainage from the wharf; and other matters. I asked a question about this, and was advised that Sea + City were keen to do the "right thing" when it came to consents for these works. It recognised - for example - that public seating on the wharf was not a permitted activity - in the relevant zone. So that is why it applied for consent.

It also applied for consent to allow promenading! But ARC officers advised that was not necessary. This was a fully notified consent. Sea + City did the right thing.

But I reckon ARC is running a mile from notification. Can of worms. Too much public interest. How can we avoid public scrutiny....

I mention this, because it raises issues about what the permitted activity status is on Queens Wharf. This seems to be still "port activities" of some sort - and not things like public seating, or presumably bars and cafes and party time. That is most likely why the powers that be keep emphasising that what they want to build is a "cruise ship terminal" and why the references to "party central" and partying and related activities are being down-played.

All those people. All that drinking. All that pedestrian traffic. All that noise and fun. All those generated effects that normal business es would be required to have carefully crafted conditions of consent sorted out through a notified planning process.

Because the port zoning does not provide for these activities.

If you were a private operator you'd be required to get a consent for any activity that was not provided for in the plan. And while I'm on the topic, what do you think happens to the stormwater from Queens Wharf and the buildings there? Not sure.... neither am I. But it's the ARC that consents those direct discharges into the harbour, and they need to comply.

Another item cropped up on the council agenda today. It related to works being carried out on the wharf at Cornwallis - an ARC regeional park fronting the Manukau Harbour. The works required are pretty minimal, but they are not provided for explicitly in the plan. The report councillors received receommended: "...to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, as the ARC is the applicant, it is recommended that an independent commissioner be appointed to review and make decisions...."

I think that what is good for the goose, should be good for the gander.
I think the ARC is making itself vulnerable to a legal challenge in respect to its compliance with its general duties under the Act.

Is there anyone out there who agrees, and would like to assist further?

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Joel,
Most perceptive blog. Yes I am willing to help