Up in arms about sneaky Paper Rd Closure

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13 years 10 months ago #23155 by Azza
There is a fair amount of debate up this way over the council trying to flog off Public Land before the formation of the Supercity. One does wonder why they would flog off public asset as any proceeds of this would disapear into the Supercity coffers.

The below text was written by the South Head Action Group to give locals an understanding of what is happening...something the council didnt want to do.

Key Points Regarding Higham paper Road Closure

Note: All the information presented in the Key Points is taken from, or summarises Rodney District Council documents and process which are available on Rodney District Council website.

The Higham paper road closure piggybacks onto the South Head Walkway Plan 2007-2008.
People were asked to submit to the Draft South Head Walkway Plan of March 2007, which reads that the Rodney District Council will “investigate land swap options”; and provides a map of a proposed walkway through the Higham property along the low tide mark and back through other properties to the South. There is NO mention of a road closure at this point.

This was a walkway strategy and concerns were voiced in a number of submissions including ARC, DOC, Nga Rima o Kaipara and Federated Farmers that the scope of the plan was too wide, including roading and other related public access issues.

Page 35. of the draft plan also reads:
“A suggested alternative is to investigate options around possible land swaps with the adjacent landowner. Rodney District Council would however only consider going ahead with this or any other proposal if there was significant public benefit to the proposal.”

The public meeting regarding the Walkway strategy, held in November 2007, did not directly refer to the landswap proposal at all.

Submissions to the South Head Walkway Plan
There were a limited number of submissions on the Highams Rd part of the plan; 21 in all. 14 supported the land swap proposal, 5 opposed any access to Higham Beach altogether; 2 opposed it.

One submission which is counted as supporting the road closure in fact reads:
“support the idea of a landswap investigation going ahead….as long as …. (all people concerned)… are consulted on the details as well as the landowner. The same would apply to any other ‘landswap’ of paper roads/public land.”

November 2008, Final Report of SH Walkway plan reads “that the proposal to swap the paper road for Highams private land be investigated further and reported back to a future meeting of the council”

This report was made public for people to uplift in November 2008.

No options have been put to the community to consider.

We can find NO evidence to suggest any other options were ever considered.

Roading Law makes swapping of paper roads almost impossible; so this was always going to be an easement but that was not made clear in the draft plan.

Rodney District Council had already voted to close the road on 14 August 2008.

Council Policy about road closure is clear

“Uses of Council Unformed Roads: Guidelines for potential users
Stopping of roads
The essential precondition of any road stopping procedure is that the council must be satisfied that the road will never be needed for roading purposes in the future nor for access to coastal marine areas. “

Stopping of Unformed Roads
Following agreement from the directly affected landowner that the road stopping action may be requested, the matter is referred to the Council’s Engineering and Planning staff who will assess whether or not there is likely to be a future need for this road to be formed.

Of necessity this assessment will be very conservative and in the event of any doubt as to the further requirements, the request will be rejected.”

The decision went against RDC Staff advice.

The report presented to Councillors by Property Manager Mark Johanssen, advises against the proposal. It reports that the DOC advised the proposal is contrary to the NZ Coastal Policy and Regional Coastal Plan. It recommends:

Recommendation:

That the committee declines the proposal to complete an exchange of Council’s paper road that runs at right angles from the formation end of Higham Rd, through the Higham farm (between Lot 3 DP 26061 and Lot 4 DP 24701) to the Kaipara Harbour (Higham Beach) with Higham farm land adjacent to the southern boundary of Lot 3 DP 26061.

That the committee recommends to the Strategy and Community Committee that the road exchange proposal detailed in recommendation (a) be removed from the South Head Walkway Plan.

2.8 of the report, Pro’s and Con’s of proposed exchange reads:

2.8.1 Pro’s list to advancing the exchange:
Improved farm security
Linkage with existing public lands
Possibility of land for a car park
Isolates camp from walkway route
Provision of wetlands

2.8.2 Con’s list to advancing the exchange
Far inferior terrain for alignment
Expensive option should council ever decide to form the alignment
Wet and steep land inaccessible by 4 wheel drive without extensive earth works
Secluded from the balance of the farm which may lead to security issues
Inferior harbour end land that lacks real harbour access or ramp that the current paper road provides
Walker access is already available from the end of the public lands via the inter tidal area ether side of low tide to the existing paper road
Much of the existing paper road is fenced whereas the proposed alignment is not
It is questionable as to whether many people will actually walk this land, as it appears that the use of the current paper road by walkers is negligible.

This is not a Land Swap.

The decision closes the road and proposes an Easement for a walkway to an alternative stretch of coast; which is unsuitable to ever become a road.

An easement, such as the one that leads to Papakanui (the Lagoon) can be closed at the will of the Landowner.

All costs for developing the walkway will be met by the Ratepayer.

It has been costed at $552,000 to create the track immediately at the boundary or $212,000 if the easement goes wider.

This will be up to the incoming Auckland Council to make a decision as to whether it goes ahead.

To fence and form a track on the existing paper road would cost $50,000

RDC says Highams are being charged current market value for the land.

6.518 Ha for $101,000 (including costs of the survey etc)
On average bare land of 1 Ha sells for approximately $200,000
A piece of Land approximately 2 Ha, with coastal access is currently on the market for $1.4 million

There are unanswered questions about how this decision was arrived upon.

How did “investigate Land Swap options” become a road closure?
What other options were considered?
Why did the final report not say the decision to close the road had already been made?
Rodney District Council seems confident that this HAS been well consulted: with whom?

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13 years 10 months ago #330921 by Azza
Possible reasons for making an objection

This is public access issue; access to the foreshore of the Kaipara Harbour.

The road was originally titled in September 1890. In 1890, Mr Alfred Buckland could anticipate the requirement for future road access to the Kaipara harbour; how is it that Rodney District Councillors cannot?

When South Head was surveyed and sold to early Pakeha settlers, this paper road is one of a number of paper roads that were made available to Tangata Whenua to access both coasts. From the harbour side so people from Kakanui and Puatahi could land and cross the peninsula to get to Te Oneone Rangatira Beach, and for land access to waahi tapu sites and to the foreshore and seabed that will be cut off if the road is closed.

The Council has a right of duty as guardians (Kaitiaki) for the future rights of access to the Harbour and foreshore for our children (tamariki) and future generations (mokopuna).

There is currently one vehicle access to the Kaipara Harbour in a 44km stretch. This is at Shelly Beach and on holidays and weekends it is stretched beyond capacity.

There is growing pressure to provide public access (both for walking and vehicles) along paper roads on the peninsula. This is natural outcome of the continuing subdivision of property that is occurring on the peninsula.

Higham Road is one of 3 paper roads that offer realistic vehicle access to the harbour in the future; the others are Mosquito Bay and Omokoiti (Prawn Farm).

South Kaipara Ratepayers and Residents have made a number of submissions to Rodney District Councillors regarding future planning for further vehicle access to the Kaipara Harbour.

We believe this is NOT just a local South Head issue. It concerns a great number of others who use the harbour and coast for recreational purposes.

The population in the area is growing. Rodney District Council has made planning provision for significant population growth in the Western corridor, Helensville and Parakai; but not for the growing need for alternative access to the Kaipara harbour.

Five further submissions specifically refer to a road closure; these are from the Highams, a neighbour and camp users. Possibly some people had more in-depth information not apparently available in the public arena?

There are already applications for other paper road closures. This could be the thin end of the wedge?

5 further submissions specifically refer to a road closure; these are from the Highams, a neighbour and camp users. Possibly some people had more in-depth information not apparently available in the public arena?

There is provision in the Resource Consent process for the Highams to get good security for the camps they generously provide on their land. It doesn’t need a road closure.

The Councillors are acting to protect the interests of private individuals (and their associates) in this situation; and not for the benefit of the public good.

A walkway strategy is not a satisfactory vehicle for gaining consultation into a specific road stopping.

In our opinion, it is very unlikely that the Walkway development will ever occur. It will be the task of a new council in a new local government structure, and the engineering advice already given to the Rodney District Councillors is that the proposal is unfeasible.

Records show that no road has been formed at the Ratepayers expense in South Head for many years.

We believe that this proposal contravenes the Rodney District Council LTCCP around consulting with Auckland Regional Council to provide future vehicle access to the Kaipara harbour.

As far as we can ascertain there were no other ‘landswap options’ considered. This does not honour the spirit of the Draft South Head Walkway Plan. There are potentially others that were not explored, including access to the southern end of Te Rau Puriri Park.

Lack of Evidence

In the published public notice the Council is required to state the reasons for a road closure. The notice states, “the Council proposes to stop the road because it no longer requires this portion of road for roading purposes…”

It is unclear from any of the information we have, as to whether the council has even ascertained whether this paper road will be needed for future roading purposes.

This contravenes the Rodney District Council road stopping policy, and the Local Government Act 1974.

A road stopping procedure requires an Esplanade reserve to be set aside at the foreshore, at the end of the road to be closed. This piece of land becomes inaccessible to the public, except by water or air, or by walking around at low tide.

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13 years 10 months ago #330922 by Azza
South Head Action Group
Higham paper Road Closure

What South Head Action Group would like you to do


Make a written objection to the Higham paper road closure before 2nd June 2010.

To: Mr Roger Kerr-Newell
Chief Executive,
Rodney District Council
Private Bag 500
Orewa

Or email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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13 years 10 months ago #330943 by Simkin
This is just another of those things that is going on at present. Thanks for bringing this up.

I think New Zealanders need to mobilize and do something. I recently received a letter from the new water commissioner who replaced ECAN saying that the hearing in regard to the Central Plains Water Trust is closed and no sumissions will be considered.

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13 years 9 months ago #336705 by Azza
There were 240 objections to this issue before the due date. Those that asked for their objections to be heard will be given the chance to speak up at a special meeting on Thursday 12 August at Helensville Hall.

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13 years 9 months ago #337316 by Valmai

Simkin;317717 wrote: This is just another of those things that is going on at present. Thanks for bringing this up.

I think New Zealanders need to mobilize and do something. I recently received a letter from the new water commissioner who replaced ECAN saying that the hearing in regard to the Central Plains Water Trust is closed and no sumissions will be considered.

You were not suprised surely?? (Non-democracy in action!)

Carbon-based biological unit.

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