Ask Auckland Councillors to save the Okura Estuary

On 19th August the Auckland Council will decide whether to accept the Unitary Plan Panel’s recommendation to allow 750 to 1000 more houses on the southern side of the estuary.

Please copy the letter below from the Okura Action Group and email it to the councillors listed at the end.

Okura – Long Bay is currently being polluted by irresponsible developers to the detriment of future generations – video by Geoff Reid.

Dear Councillor,

Please save the Okura Estuary from development. It is the last estuary on urban Auckland’s eastern coastline unsullied by urbanisation. It is a special haven to the bird and marine wildlife that lives there.

The Panel’s recommendation to move the Rural Urban Boundary will permit extensive housing development on the rural southern side of the Okura Estuary. Auckland Council strongly opposed moving of the RUB at the Unitary Plan Hearing. Please stand strong and hold the Council’s position in your Unitary Plan decision.

If development is allowed to go ahead it will irrevocably destroy the quiet natural beauty of the Estuary. At present the waters of the Okura Estuary teem with wildlife. The area is a feeding ground for thousands of rare and endangered birds, including the New Zealand Dotterel, classed as a Nationally Threatened species. It is extremely doubtful that adequate sediment control measures can be taken, resulting in the pollution of the Okura Estuary and the destruction of its wildlife.

The northern coast is lush, with the Okura Bush Scenic Reserve with its 500-year old Kauri and Puriri trees. The southern headland of the Estuary is the isolated northern end of the Long Bay Regional Park with its infinite Hauraki Gulf views. All of this is easily accessible from Auckland, and all of it is under threat.

Over 70,000 people walk the coastal Okura Bush Scenic Reserve walkway per annum, part of the Te Araroa Trail, enjoying the experience of walking amongst mature native forest and the stunning views of the estuary. This experience will be sadly diminished by the proposed urban development directly across from the many lookouts along the walkway.

The experience of the cliffs and bays of Long Bay Regional Park will change for the million Aucklanders who visit the Park annually. Currently insulated from urban development by the buffers put in place by the Long Bay Structure Plan, the Panel’s extension of the Rural Urban Boundary to include Okura will place housing directly on the boundary of Piripiri Point. What was an easily-accessible, yet tranquil, rural spot with stunning views will now be overlooked by dense urban housing.

The recommendation crushes two earlier decisions of the Environment Court that the area should be protected for future generations. It also tramples over the Panel’s own classification of the Estuary and its environs which the Panel rated as an Outstanding Natural Landscape and a Significant Ecological Area.

Many thanks for your help in saving this precious place.


Sediment run-off into the Okura Estuary, part of the Okura Long Bay Marine Reserve.

Sediment run-off into the Okura Estuary, part of the Okura Long Bay Marine Reserve.

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