Developers Pursue Urbanisation – Okura Estuary Under Threat!
Friends of Okura Bush, Dacre Cottage management, Keep Okura Green and Long Bay Okura Great Park Society joined together to fight urbanization in this precious area under the umbrella of the Okura Environmental Group. LBOGPS has been through a couple of Environmental Court cases already and hence they are our official representative.
Just when we thought Okura Estuary was saved from urban development, landowner, Okura Holdings Ltd (Todd Property Group), has struck again by appealing the Auckland Council’s decision not to allow intensive development on the shores of the Estuary and the Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve.
Despite the Auckland Council rejecting Okura Holdings Unitary Plan proposal to develop the southern side of the Estuary in an intensive 750-1000 unit housing development, the developer isn’t respecting Council’s decision and is relentlessly driving for urbanisation to go ahead at a devastating cost to the environment.
This shocking news could spell certain doom for the future of the Marine Reserve and the wildlife that lives there. In the continuation of an epic David versus Goliath saga, the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society now has no option but to take on the developer in the Environment Court.
We have really appreciated your support before and now ask for your help again in the Estuary’s hour of need.
Please help us in two ways:
• Make a donation to the Society’s Givealittle page https://givealittle.co.nz/org/savelongbayokuracoastline We believe our expenses in the Environment Court will be in the range of $300,000. If all of our supporters put in $100 this would be an amazing contribution to these costs.
• Come to our ‘Meet the Candidates’ event this Sunday and implore our potential Mayors and Albany Ward candidates to keep up the fight to protect the Estuary. Details at https://www.facebook.com/events/204852326597158/
Now that the developer has declared that it will pursue financial gain at any cost the Society vows to continue the fight to protect the waters and environment of the Okura Estuary so that people can continue to enjoy this spectacular landscape.
Our Convenor, Chris Bettany says, “We are incredulous that Todd Property is obstinately continuing to pursue development. Urbanisation of the area will profit a few but at the cost of the destruction of a precious and rare ecosystem, currently enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people per year.”
Auckland Council’s reasons for not allowing urbanisation included the harmful effects of heavy metal contamination and sedimentation run off on the health of the Marine Reserve.
Marine Scientist and Marine Reserve Specialist, Dr Roger Grace agrees with the Council’s decision, “Okura Coast developer’s profit-driven quest will add further silt and other environmental pressures to an already stressed Marine Reserve and it is simply unacceptable”.
For the Society the fight is very much a classic David versus Goliath tale. It’s pledging to do all it can to make sure this wonderful environment is preserved and needs your help to continue.
Many Thanks for your continued Support.
The Long Bay Okura Great Park Society Team
The Okura Estuary and Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve have long been under threat by greedy developers wanting to cash up on the benefits of locating an urban development in an extremely beautiful and desirable coastal environment close to Auckland. Over the course of 30 years Community Groups have been fighting to protect the area and two previous Environment Court hearings have ruled that the Okura Estuary and Marine Reserve is too precious to be urbanised.
Todd Property purchased the Okura land subsequent to the second Environment Court hearing knowing full well that it could not be urbanised, however they are determined to push development through. Now in this new battle, the Unitary Plan process, the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society has fought against Todd Property, to preserve the Estuary and its environment in an unspoilt state.
A combination of features makes the setting of the Okura Estuary unique in New Zealand. It’s just 20 minutes north of downtown Auckland, is ecologically significant, and pods of orca and dolphins are often seen in the mouth of the estuary. It’s a critically important habitat for rare shore birds such as the Variable Oyster Catcher, the summer feeding ground for migratory birds including the godwit, and a successful nesting area for the critically endangered New Zealand dotterel.
On the northern side of the Estuary lies the Okura Bush Scenic Reserve, a native coastal forest, home to 500-year-old Kauri and Puriri trees that is enjoyed by more than 70,000 visitors a year who walk the track that runs from Redvale to Stillwater. On the south-eastern side sits the Long Bay Regional Park with a visitor count of 1.4 million each year.