BUILDING

Commissioners Ignore Local Community on Pah Rd Warehouse

Thursday 28 April 2011, 7:17AM
By Roskill Community Voice
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AUCKLAND CITY

“Despite strong opposition from local residents and organisations, and a Council planning report recommending against it, commissioners have granted a resource consent for the Pah Rd Warehouse proposal,” says Julie Fairey, Roskill Community Voice member on the Puketapapa Local Board.

The decision of the three independent commissioners was released on April 13th. “Since then we have been contacted by many locals disappointed that their very real concerns about parking, traffic, noise, protected trees, flooding risk and the character of the neighbourhood have been dismissed by commissioners who don’t have to live with the consequences of their decision,” says Michael Wood, Roskill Community Voice member on the Puketapapa Local Board.

“Given the Council planner’s recommendation against the Warehouse building on the Pah Rd site and the high level of local opposition the independent commissioners should have declined this application. We are supporting residents to investigate the options for appealing the decision, including the Environment Court and we are convening a public meeting for further local discussion of the issue,” says Wood.
The public meeting will be held at the Fickling Centre (beneath the Mt Roskill Library, Three Kings) at 2.30pm on Sunday May 8th.

“It is particularly worrying that the commissioners’ report is so dismissive of residents’ concerns, implying that locals have an elitist attitude towards the Warehouse as a company,” says Fairey. “Most of the people we have spoken to who are opposed to the Warehouse building on Pah Rd have told us they shop at the Warehouse themselves, and would not support any ‘big box’ retail going in to an inappropriate site. What is the point of having so-called ‘independent’ commissioners if they are not going to take submitters at face value?”

Background:
The proposal to build a “The Warehouse” retail store, with associated carparking and additional retail tenancies and road changes, has been undertaken by Eldamos Investments. The sites the development would cover are 100 Pah Rd (formerly the site of the Holeproof factory), 677, 677A and 679 Mount Albert Rd. The total retail floor area would be 7500m2, with carparking less than the minimum required under current regulations.

The resource consent notification for this proposal was notified on November 5th 2010. It did not go in City Scene, as past notifications of this nature would have, because City Scene was no longer being published as a result of the Auckland Council amalgamation which took effect on November 1st 2010. Roskill Community Voice leafleted approximately 500 local households in early December 2010 to encourage public submissions, whether for, against or neutral. We were surprised to discover that many locals did not know about the resource consent at all, or The Warehouse’s plans. This was only a matter of a few days before submissions closed on December 10th. With the assistance of Councillor Cathy Casey, we sought an extension to the submission deadline, however this was declined by the CEO of Auckland Council. Given the high level of contact we received from locals on this issue we organised a public meeting in the area to gain broader community feedback on the proposal. In mid December 2010 over 70 people attended this public meeting about the proposal and voted unanimously to oppose it. In late January 2011 Roskill Community Voice began circulating a petition amongst local residents, opposing the development.

Of the 23 submissions made on the resource consent application, 21 opposed the application, while the remaining 2 were neutral. Those submitting against included the James Wallace Arts Trust, the Onehunga Business Association, and the Parks, Sport and Recreation department of the Auckland Council. All local residents who submitted on the proposal indicated they opposed it. Carol Beaumont MP submitted against the proposal as well, presenting an almost 300-signature strong petition to the commissioners, with several dozen more signatures coming in after the hearing.

The decision of the independent commissioners was released on April 13th and we can email you a copy of the report if you contact us. It does not appear to be available on the Council website currently.