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High-rises vital

CARALISE TRAYES
Last updated 08:45 24/01/2013
High Rise Vital
HIGH TIME: Leanne Smith of Destination Orewa Beach says it is vital Orewa develops its boutique retail and beachside dining image to draw people to the area but high-rise apartments will be the only way to create population growth.

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Life's not just a beach in Orewa.

The township's survival hinges on the area becoming a boutique beachfront village with some high-rise apartments.

That's the call from two key business representatives.

Destination Orewa Beach spokeswoman Leanne Smith says trade in the area has been tough for retailers for the past few years with 2013 set to be similar, but not because of Silverdale's development.

"Orewa and Silverdale are very different," she says. "Orewa is a boutique service centre and Silverdale is more like Albany with bulk retail," Mrs Smith says.

"The real issue is that we need more people which means the housing density must increase."

Southside Group property developers project manager Mark Kelly says without high-rises housing demand will continue to grow, increasing inflation and making it even harder for people to move to the area.

"The only other option is to build up. And for that to be economically viable it needs to be as tall as the Nautilus," Mr Kelly says.

Southside Group is a stakeholder in Orewa Village Developments which owns the block between Tamariki Ave and Moenui Ave.

"We have a site of around 4900 square metres," Mr Kelly says.

"It's a superb development site, one of the best in New Zealand.

"We have the ability to get something striking in there with a better design than the Nautilus.

"It's on a big site, near the sea. There isn't enough of a margin to build apartments for around four more years, but even then it will need to be at least 12 storeys.

"There is no demand for commercial space."

Mr Kelly says there will always be residents who strongly object to development.

"There are people who want it to stay like it was 30 years ago but what attracted them to the area years ago is still attracting people now." In the previous Auckland Spatial Plan there were a number of town centres identified for residential development.

"Orewa was one of them. Growth has to happen somewhere," he says.

Mr Kelly says some people fear their beach views will be hindered.

"If you are 50 metres or 200 metres from the beach, it doesn't make a difference, you still can't actually see it because Orewa is so flat.

"The only people who will be affected are those on surrounding hills who have 180-degree views anyway.

"A high-rise will only take one or two degrees of that view."

Mrs Smith says the commercial and residential zones need to go up in storeys but the beachfront must stay low.

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"It was always a factor that was sensitive to the community.

"People just don't want a sea of concrete," Mrs Smith says.

"But it won't be high-rises everywhere. There are only a few sites that are big enough to build that high."

Mrs Smith says the Auckland Council should focus on continuing developing the beachfront and town centre.

"The council should keep an eye out for beachfront properties that go up for sale, purchase them and turn them into reserves, opening more beach access."

"The town also needs a ‘heart'."

The height restrictions will be considered in the Auckland Council Draft Unitary Plan, due out in March.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse is heading the plan's preparation and says the council is looking at increasing allowable heights in town centres throughout Auckland, including Orewa.

- Rodney Times

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