Crowd questions marina development

BAYSWATER GRILL: Members of the public bombarded Simon Herbert and LINZ officials with questions.
BAYSWATER GRILL: Members of the public bombarded Simon Herbert and LINZ officials with questions.

North Shore MP Maggie Barry hosted a sometimes boisterous meeting to discuss the proposed Bayswater Marina development.

More than 100 marina opponents and supporters were joined by politicians, government officials and developer Simon Herbert at Bayswater School.

Barry says she called the meeting on the proposed development by Bayswater Marina Limited (BML) to explain the process so far and give everyone a chance to have their say.

Officials from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), Auckland Council and Auckland Transport joined Herbert and development opponents on the hall's stage.

Bayswater Community Committee representative Paddy Stafford-Bush says the turnout showed, "there's a community that's very, very concerned about what's going on".

LINZ's deputy chief executive of crown property Brian Usherwood and regulatory officer Craig Harris made a powerpoint presentation detailing LINZ's legal obligations in selling the reclaimed land to BML.

Barry's remark that she would have to play a "role between chairman and madam lash" at the meeting proved apt at times.

As facilitator, she often had her hands full with frequent interjections lobbed at speakers, but overall "genuine respect" was shown by both sides, she says .

Many who spoke questioned LINZ's management of the sale to BML.

LINZ failed to answer any of the nine questions put to them, Stafford-Bush says.

But LINZ behaved "legitimately, legally and within the framework" of guidelines.

"Crown land wasn't sold nefariously," Barry says.

Bayswater Marina's owner and developer Simon Herbert outlined his plans for the existing expanse of "desolate" carpark.

When realised, his 120 apartment development would enhance the character of Bayswater, he says.

Herbert admits many people in the hall had already made up their minds, but still more wanted more facts before making a decision.

Herbert's assertion that the developer's 13,000 plus "likes" on its Facebook page was a sign of wider support was greeted with derisive hoots.

Facebook likes can be "obtained many ways" one audience member shouted.

Herbert maintains there is "no secret agenda" with his development which wouldn't interfere with the development of, adjacent public transport facilities, he says.

Team leader for Auckland Council's northwest planning unit David Sanders says Bayswater Marina's development still has to go through a two-step, publicly-notified consenting process.

But, Stafford-Bush worries that under the new Unitary Plan it will be harder for objectors to prove negative effects and stop or alter land developments.

Officials from Auckland Transport briefed the meeting on the likely traffic impact of the development.

Dr Alan-Howard Smith, Auckland Transport's stakeholder management manager, says improvements in the area to cope with increased traffic wouldn't be in place before 2020.

The meeting helped raise residents' awareness of the issues around the marina, Stafford-Bush says.

"People need to start asking a lot more questions."

North Shore Times