Calls for wider access to council's draft intensification plans

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 09:03 08/11/2012
council
Margaret Miles

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Confidential intensification plans should be public, particularly as people chosen to view them early could have a commercial advantage, local board member Grant Gillon says.

Auckland Council's one rulebook, the Unitary Plan, proposes substantial intensification but it's allowing only local boards and invited stakeholders to see early drafts.

But two North Shore board chairs say residents with a strong interest are welcome to contact them for a viewing of local maps.

Mr Gillon says extensive intensification is proposed and all Aucklanders should see the plans now, not wait until March when consultation begins.

"I can understand it might scare people but people get more scared about what they don't know."

He says it's ethical to make draft plans available to everyone now because the select people boards invite, including developers, could have an advantage over everyone else.

Mr Gillon says the Kaipatiki board's workshops are normally open to the public so information from the Unitary Plan workshop should be too.

But Kaipatiki chairwoman Lindsay Waugh refutes claims of secrecy.

She says the maps are in the board office and she is happy to talk with anyone about them, if they have a particular interest.

Key stakeholders were invited to see early plans so there could be a "productive meeting" with a small group, but it wasn't a "confidential meeting", she says.

Ms Waugh says the process "is not secret but it is managed as it should be".

Maps and information are in draft form and aren't ready to be printed for circulation, she says.

Upper Harbour chairwoman Margaret Miles says she too is happy to show the maps for her area and explain them to anyone with an interest.

Mrs Miles says the council's governing body seems nervous about people seeing plans now because it might raise expectations about what they can do with their property.

But she says people simply need to be told that it's an early draft that could change when consultation starts.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Chris Darby says he understands why some people might feel marginalised but this is a more inclusive process than previously used.

The comprehensive Unitary Plan goes public in March which is six to eight months earlier than the notification period for the old district plans, Mr Darby says.

He says maps for Devonport-Takapuna have been taken away to be updated and need to be read with other documents.

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Hibiscus Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt says it's hard to get the right level of consultation but supports the council's process.

Hibiscus Bays is one of two Auckland boards further through the process - its draft plans and maps are in libraries and area offices and open for comment. Earlier in the process it only showed early drafts and maps to key stakeholders.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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