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Developer declares beach access guaranteed



Goliath has struck back at David in the ongoing dispute involving a surf beach access, with developers claiming an environmental organisation is misleading the public.

In response to Save Te Arai’s (STA) 6100 signed petition regarding the process of how council and developers made decisions about access to the popular beach, a Te Arai North (TAN) spokesperson says Chairperson of STA, Aaron McConchie, has ‘grossly misrepresented the situation’.

“Public access has been increased significantly since the forest was acquired from Carter Holt Harvey in 2002,” he says. “Over 200 hectares of beachfront and riparian land worth tens of millions of dollars has been gifted as reserve to Auckland Council… to create a public reserve and protect Te Arai beach.

“This was never done as a trade for credit against development levies as he asserts, but this is just one of many misrepresentations he uses to gain attention and mislead the public into supporting his campaign. He has repeatedly failed to correct those misrepresentations and his petition is yet another example of this.”

STA’s petition, presented to Auckland Council on February 9, demanded the withdrawal of non-notified decisions and reversal of actions the council undertook with developers, about Te Arai Beach’s Pacific Road access, allegedly without due process and diligence [Mangawhai Focus, Feb 20].

TAN asserts that the company consulted with the public through a community liaison group including STA members in a meeting last May where minor changes to improve Pacific Road and create better access to the carpark were agreed upon by attending parties.

However the spokesman says that McConchie has since reneged on his agreement.

“Mr McConchie has been demanding that we widen the access easement into the carpark from the existing six metres – the normal width of the road – to a full 50 metres, which is twice the width of a four lane motorway. The easement is already widened to the required average 50 metres.”

The spokesperson also says that McConchie has made ‘numerous complaints’ about TAN’s development of the property to Auckland Council but ‘not a single one has been upheld’ and now he refuses to meet with developers.

“It is a great pity that he sees nothing good in a project which has protected a beach, created a significant public reserve, enshrined public access, planted over 1.3 million native trees and plants, undertaken a major pest eradication programme and created a large number of jobs and additional income in the local area,” he says.

“Pacific Road is a Crown easement through a privately owned forest, access is guaranteed.”

- Te Arai North (TAN) spokesperson

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