Residents at a Gulf Harbour development have been gifted their own pavilion.
More than 50 people attended the Fairway Bay Discovery Residents Pavilion opening party last week.
The pavilion, which cost about $1 million to build and comes with a heated swimming pool, tennis court, fireplace, kitchen, changing rooms and big decks, was gifted to Discovery residents by Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour.
Sitting on 2756 square metres of land, it was designed by Richard Nash of RTA Studios and built by Interpro group.
Already it’s been put to good use, hosting a 70th birthday party.
The Discovery part of the Fairway Bay development was the first block of the project offering 79 sections ranging from 500sqm to 700sqm and priced from $305,000. Three lots remain in the first release.
The project is expected to finish with about 80 sections and will have homes built in a variety of styles.
The diversity of people who have bought there has surprised development consultant Michael Webb-Speight. Demographic studies suggested most of the purchasers would come from the East Coast Bays area, many probably in their 60s with a boat. But it’s more a United Nations, with residents from seven different nationalities living or moving in, he says. Countries represented include Britain, China, Columbia, Germany, Russia and India.
The Fairway Bay Gulf Harbour property development north of Auckland, a $550 million project that provides work for 500 people, would never have happened without Chinese investment, says a consultant to the development company.
Top Harbour, a syndicate of Shanghai Zendai Property, Shanghai Pengxin’s Jiang Zhoabai and local firm Westlake Investment bought Jamie Peters’ Gulf Harbour development out of receivership in August 2012 for $35 million, transforming it into an eight-year, $550 million project that has created more than 130 house sites and plans to double that within 12 months.
“When we started this two years ago, there was nobody in New Zealand who could do it – I know, because I went around and asked everybody if they wanted to,” Top Harbour project consultant Michael Webb-Speight said. “These guys have come in, stuck their money in, and we’ve got probably 500 people working over on the site in various ways – consultants, builders, digger drivers and what have you, and they’re all living in New Zealand, and all kiwis, and they all pay tax – well how good is that.”
The Top Harbour development is cash-funded, although it has recently taken on some development finance at a very low loan-to-value ratio from lender ASB Bank.
Auckland’s housing market has posed a number of problems for policymakers who are struggling to facilitate a rapid building programme while demand continues to accelerate. The Reserve Bank has estimated Auckland has a short-fall of between 15,000 and 20,000 properties to meet population growth and new consents are running behind the 10,000 needed to keep up at an annual 7,500. Chinese investors are sometimes cited as helping to drive up prices.
The make up of the Top Harbour group is about to change, after state-owned China Orient Asset Management announced plans to buy 50 percent of Hong Kong Exchange-listed Shanghai Zendai, which plans to sell its stake in the New Zealand developer to another, unnamed Chinese investor, Webb-Speight said. The ownership change won’t impact Gulf Harbour, he said.
The development is through three stages, with 132 lots completed with different price points. Of the first stage, 50 of the 65 completed lots have been sold with most in the $700,000 to $800,000 price range. The second stage has 28 lots priced between $1 million and $2 million, while the third stage has just been completed with 39 lots priced between $600,000 and $650,000.
“In the first three we’ve tried to create a range of products and range of values so that we can address a wider part of the market,” Webb-Speight said.
Ten houses have been built, another 15 are under construction and more than 30 are under design or waiting for consent.
Webb-Speight said the biggest hold-up for construction was the lack of resource, with local housing companies building more than 100 houses a year, more than twice what they were doing three years ago.
While a rising population, swelled by inbound net migration, was fuelling demand, Webb-Speight said banks’ lending policies were keeping the market running hot.
“While banks are happy to lend money to people then the market will continue,” he said. “It’s fed naturally by this immigration scenario, that’s great, it creates demand, but the bank lending policy is the whole key.”
Once the next housing stage is completed, the development will look at working on an apartment area in the middle of the area.
“It makes sense to us to fill in the green paddocks first, create a bit of critical mass and get all the rest of the stuff and then see if we can get the apartments to work,” Webb-Speight said.
“It’s really how do we make 585 apartments, that’s a lot in any market, and we don’t think you can bring all that to market in a short period of time. It needs to be staged and developed.”
The development plans to create 1,000 lots, though Webb-Speight said that’s a dynamic number and could change as the project continues.
By PAUL MCBETH
Gulf Harbour developer Top Harbour Limited said today that its plans to develop at Fairway Bay remain unchanged.
As reported in the New Zealand Herald yesterday, former partner in the development Shanghai Zendai, has sold its interests to another party – also a Chinese based investor. According to the Zendai Property website the sale is part of an exit strategy that includes the sale of property assets around the world, including New Zealand, South Africa and China itself.
Commenting on the story, Top Harbour Limited confirmed that from a New Zealand perspective nothing is changing. “This is one offshore investor swapping for another. We have two shareholders actively involved in the development, and do not anticipate any change to our business plan. We are focussed on creating new homes as fast as we can.”
Project Consultant Michael Webb-Speight says “Since commencing work on the Fairway Bay project in early 2013, considerable progress has been made. The first stage of the project is almost sold out – with 10 houses already completed, and a further 15 currently under construction. More than 130 lots have been created in the development to date, and we are aiming to complete a further 140 lots within the next 12 months. Progress has been pleasing with new residents moving in every month. There are more than 30 houses that are currently under design or waiting for consent – so things are really starting to move.”
A new marina was completed in October last year which Webb-Speight says has attracted a number of buyers wanting to live close to their boats. A café, bar and Sunday Market are also operating on the site.
Last year an agreement was reached between Fairway Bay and Auckland Transport to increase ferry services to the CBD. With 12 sailings each day between Gulf Harbour and the CBD, Webb-Speight says that remarkable growth has been seen over the last six months. “In March there were over 14,000 passengers carried, compared to just 6000 at the same time last year. This is one of the real public transport success stories, and underlines the advantage that commuters can have if they live at Gulf Harbour and work in the CBD”
Friday night A late Friday night ferry service between Gulf Harbour and Auckland is being trialled.
Ferry patronage has risen dramatically at Gulf Harbour.
Almost 14,000 passengers were recorded in March by Auckland Transport, compared with just over 6000 in March 2014.
Similar increases have been achieved since the start of the new timetable last July.
“We have seen a huge rise in patronage for the Gulf Harbour ferry service, so we are putting on a bigger vessel to meet demand,” Auckland Transport says.
Fairway Development consultant Michael WebbSpeight says growth on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula is expected to be significant during the next three years.
“Fairway Bay has generated almost 200 lots over the last 26 months, and there are over 20 houses under construction in our development at present.” A meeting of the ferry user group discussed the challenges of such rapid growth. Bigger boats, more car parking, connecting bus services, and wharf and terminal improvements are on the agenda.
“Many of the challenges we face are a direct result of the rapid growth,” Webb-Speight says. “Adding more sailings and larger boats need to be planned in conjunction with parking and wharf facilities.
These things simply cannot happen overnight.” A late-night Friday service is being trialled, including one on Friday departing Auckland 10.30pm and providing peninsula residents with a chance to prebook and enjoy a night out in the city without the drive home.
Ferry service provider 360 Discovery says with winter coming three vessels will be on peak services.
During May the situation will be re-assessed.
Upgrades of the Auckland Pier 4 pontoon and shelter are planned.
The Auckland property market is proving a hard nut to crack for wannabe homeowners, with the average sale price recently hitting around three quarters of a million dollars.
In light of this, we’re talking to families who have found different ways to break in and take a slice of Auckland in the Hibiscus Coast and Rodney.
First, we spoke to a couple who bought a house and then moved it. And today we chat to a young pair who are building a new home in Gulf Harbour.
Buying an old decrepit, two-bedroom home in Greenlane or building a new four-bedroom place in Gulf Harbour was the decision Chad and Rebecca Franklin had to face.
Chad, a 27-year-old IT consultant, and Rebecca, a 25-year-old nurse, say they have found the process of buying their own home relatively easy after they found how to get past the hurdle of a deposit.
“A huge factor for us was the fact you don’t need a 20 percent deposit when you are building, you are exempt from those restrictions. We had an 11 percent deposit,” Rebecca says.
The couple had only seriously been looking at options for a month, and in that time went to a couple of open homes in the Greenlane, Meadowbank and Ellerslie area.
“The only thing we could get for our money was a run-down, two-bedroom, asbestos-filled unit. For the same price we found an option on Trade Me to build a new four-bedroom, two bathroom, stand-alone home in Gulf Harbour,” Rebecca says. The house is being built by Key 2 and is on a 250 square metre section.
Within a week the couple had met the real estate agent, negotiated with the bank and put an offer on the place.
“Hibiscus Coast was still an option for us but we wanted somewhere closer to town so the commute to work was better,” Chad says. “Gulf Harbour was an option because of the ferry, and we think it’s a good suburb to invest in as it is more affordable and will go up in value.”
The valuation of the complete house had meant the couple’s equity rose to 19 percent. “We saved the last one percent to get the good rates with the bank,” Chad says.
WISH THEY JUMPED IN EARLIER
In retrospect the couple would have liked to have got into the property market earlier, even one month would have helped.
“We bought the place in December and everything shut down over Christmas and New Year. One of the hard parts of building is the wait. We were told to expect seven months between purchase and move in date. We are paying a mortgage for the land with nothing to show for it at this stage,” Rebecca says.
The couple is staying with Rebecca’s parents in a downstairs flat while the work is underway.
“We wanted to get in to the market as soon as possible as prices kept going up – they went up faster than what we could save,” Chad says.
The major benefit of building – getting a brand new house. “We wont have to pay extras for renovating and it will be worth more than what we paid for it,” Rebecca says.
Both Chad and Rebecca say that building through Key 2 has made the process very easy compared to doing it yourself.
“A lot of people think they can’t buy a house as they don’t have the deposit. But we did some research and figured a way to make it work, it’s worth looking at options.”
PRICES AREN’T PUTTING OFF BUYERS
The latest figures from Barfoot& Thompson, Auckland’s largest realtor, show sale prices reached an average of $776,729 in March (while Trade Me’s property price index has the figure at $716,050).
But that has not put off buyers.
While March is always the busiest month of the year, Barfoot& Thompson managing director Peter Thompson says the level of trading was unprecedented and had set a string of new records.
The agency sold 1597 homes, the highest number ever in a calendar month, a quarter of which had a price tag of over $1 million.
“Buyers remain convinced that with a stable economy, low interest rates and restricted housing availability, that buying at current prices is manageable,” Thompson says.
The firm sold 300 homes for less than $500,000, which represented just one in five properties.
- Do you think building is a good option in the current market?
By CARALISE TRAYES,Rodney Times
Mayor Len Brown says he is keen to undertake a joint venture with the Government in building Penlink.
The mayor revealed at an AUT press conference that Hibiscus Coast rates would have to rise if just the Auckland Council undertook the project. Brown says he will be looking to make Penlink a ‘‘two for the price of one’’ package deal with the Government, including it with the motorway extension from Puhoi to Warkworth.
Residents have been pushing for the alternate route between the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Redvale to unclog Whangaparaoa Rd and give them an alternative route out of the peninsula.
Calls for the project, first proposed by the Rodney District Council in 1996 and not expected to be built until 2021, were renewed following the fatal headon collision on Whangaparaoa Rd in January which killed Coral Jobis and blocked the peninsula.
Penlink has been left outside Auckland’s 10-year budget and the subject is a popular topic on social network site Neighbourly.
When asked why this was the case, the mayor said the decision came back to the local community and its desire to keep rates low and manage debt levels.
When asked whether Penlink would pay for itself through tolls, Brown says ‘‘there’s not enough people in Whangaparaoa to recover the debt‘‘.
The project is expected to cost between $370 million to $380m.
– Kendall Hutt is an AUT journalism student
KAVANNA Jade’s first official duty as a Make-A-Wish New Zealand child ambassador was a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.
The 15-year-old, who has a respiratory condition, accepted a $25,000 cheque on behalf of the charity from Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour, raised from the sale of a Wish House in Gulf Harbour.
Kavanna, from Waiheke Island, effortlessly stepped into the role as the charity’s first child ambassador after a lifetime of health problems.
She has chronic suppurative lung disease and chronic obstructive asthma and was just out of a 10-day stay at Starship children’s hospital – the latest of her 200-plus admissions – when she appeared at the cheque handover ceremony.
She still managed to deliver a confident speech to the assembled media and guests at 89 Pinecrest Dr, face interviews, and pose for photographs with her mum Carolyn Ogg.
‘‘I’m really honoured and excited,’’ Kavanna says about her selection as ambassador.
‘‘It’s going to be a great year. I get to help kids’ wishes come true, meet them and get their story.’’ Kavanna’s first Make-AWish experience was a ‘‘dream come true’’ holiday to the Gold Coast last year with a friend and her family, where she patted dolphins and braved theme park rides.
The Waiheke High School student is buzzing to get back into her study fulltime.
‘‘I was a bit annoyed when the doctor told me that I would be doing half days but its for the best for my health,’’ she says.
‘‘But I’ll be back on both my feet, hopefully without crutches, going full days, getting the homework that I’m supposed to be getting, and seeing my friends.
‘‘I’m a people person. I love being around crowds even though I get nervous at times.’’ The Wish House project involved Top Harbour, Barfoot& Thompson, and GJ Gardner Homes Rodney.
The house didn’t sell at an auction in November but a couple from Dunedin bought it later. They were looking forward to being closer to family in Auckland and using their SuperGold cards to take the ferry.
Make-A-Wish granted the wishes of 200 children with ill-health last year.
‘‘I appreciate that despite things not going as planned, Fairway Bay has come to the party and chosen to make this significant donation,’’ Make-A-Wish chief executive Shane Gorst says.
This is the second major charity drive Fairway Bay has done with Make-A-Wish.
“Our previous event with Make-A-Wish was almost killed by the drought,” development consultant Michael Webb-Speight says.
“Thanks to a text donations campaign on breakfast TV, the field of dreams sunflowers ended up as a huge success.”
The 2012-2013 drought, New Zealand’s worst in 70 years, destroyed thousands of sunflowers destined to raise funds for Make-A-Wish.
“This time we wanted to do something with Make-A-Wish that was less weather dependent,” Webb-Speight says.
All donations, including $25,000 made from the sale of the Wish House, go towards granting the wishes of Kiwi kids aged 3-17 with life-threatening medical conditions.
By CHRIS THOMPSON, Rodney Times
An Auckland teen who once wrote a bucket list to distract herself from her life-long illness and to focus on positive goals has ticked off a milestone by becoming the first child ambassador for Make-a-Wish New Zealand.
KavannaHasselman yesterday accepted a $25,000 cheque on behalf of the sick-children’s charity from the sale proceeds of a house that was built for the purpose at the new Fairway Bay subdivision at Gulf Harbour, on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Putting her crutches to one side, the 15-year-old was able to make a clear and strong thank-you speech, though weary after a 10-day stay in the Starship children’s hospital in Auckland.
“I’m so happy to be the first child ambassador and be able to spread a message of strength, hope and joy,” said Kavanna, who has been diagnosed with chronic suppurative lung disease and chronic obstructive asthma.
At 5 weeks old, she had her first of more than 200 admissions to the Starship with breathing problems.
A side effect of the years of medication for her lung condition has been a high level of pain.
By Wayne Thompson,NZ Herald
Bigger, more reliable boats and more sailings are sought on an over-crowded Gulf Harbour to Auckland ferry service.
Passengers are joining together collectively and asking providers 360 Discovery and Auckland Transport via email to make it a priority as the service nears capacity.
In the emails, the commuters say the ferries are becoming over-crowded with only the vessel TiriKat accommodating the numbers.
Even on the second largest ferry, D1, there is standing room only.
Passengers have no option but to sit outside on deck, exposed to the elements, or stand where space allows on deck or in the cabin.
This isn’t a problem as long as the weather is fair, they say.
But once the service hits rain or any reasonable sized swells it could become a health and safety issue.
Passengers believe they should not be expected to spend 50 to 70 minutes standing against swells or sitting in the rain and spray of waves and have to pay for the experience.
The ferries have experienced a number of breakdowns and mechanical issues and passengers believe it is only a matter of time before they are involved in an incident at sea.
Last year, the number of daily trips was extended following a successful campaign by Gulf Harbour residents, championed by Fairway Bay developers who helped subsidise the service with an undisclosed amount, Fairway Bay spokesman Michael Webb-Speight says.
The improved service is proving to be something of a victim of its own success, he says – passenger numbers have more than doubled in about six months.
‘‘March figures due out shortly [are] expected to be a further significant increase,’’ he says.
Auckland Transport has been inundated with emails, dozens of ferry users making their views known on what has quickly become a busy ferry run.
‘‘With winter approaching, however, the issue will become more urgent. You simply can’t ask people to stand outside in the rain for 45 minutes on their way to town.’’ Recent breakdowns and incidents have also exacerbated the situation, he says.
Webb-Speight says all are committed to solving the capacity issues, but that passenger growth has far exceeded expectations.
Fairway Bay, Auckland Transport and 360 Discovery will discuss the issue tomorrow. Auckland Transport and 360 Discovery say patronage has risen more than 115 per cent and they are working to address capacity issues.
As an immediate measure, the Discovery 3 is being replaced with larger Fullers vessel Tiger Cat and other vessels are being assessed for their suitability.
By Jay Boreham
Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke taught three disabled children to sail at Fairway Bay in Gulf Harbour.
Sarah Colquhoun, 13, Oscar Straker, 10, and Max Walsh, 7, who all have cerebral palsy, sailed in Hansa 303s which are permanently based at Fairway Bay and belong to the Fairway Bay Sailability Club.
The Hansa 303s are adapted to be used by disabled people to give them the opportunity to sail and are almost impossible to capsize.
The children were joined by Halberg Award Team of the Year finalists Burling and Tuke who guided them around the marina.
The awards, which took place last night, are a major fundraiser for the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, which helped to launch Sailability on the Hibiscus Coast with a $2000 grant.
Paralympic sailor Tim Dempsey says Sailability has been running out of Westhaven Marina in Auckland for about 23 years.
‘‘For some, it’s the first time they feel in control of something other than a wheelchair,’’ he says.
He says many disabled people describe the sensation as ‘‘freedom’’ and ‘‘empowering’’.
Dempsey is urging people who are interested to come and have a go on the Hansas when the club meets on Saturdays at Hobbs Wharf at 10am.
‘‘It was great to learn to sail and I got to do it with an Olympian,’’ Sarah, from Mairangi Bay, says.
Oscar, from Whangaparaoa, does a range of sports including adaptive skiing and participates in the Albany Mud Rush, and Max, from Silverdale, will have to find room for sailing next to swimming, football, and golf. He was pleased about finishing first alongside Burling in a race between the Hansas.
Burling’s sailing partner Tuke says it was a neat experience.
‘‘The work the foundation does is pretty awesome. It’s all about the kids enjoying themselves.’’ Another major sponsor for Sailability is the Whangaparaoa Rotary Club.
It’s president Brian Mullan says he’s very pleased with how it’s all gone, particularly as it’s come together in less than six months.
The Halberg Disability Sports Foundation works with physically disabled young people and their families to get them involved in sports and recreation.
Anyone with a physical disability wanting to get involved in sport or recreation should contact regional Halberg Disability sport adviser Marcus Laurie on email@example.com
By CHRIS THOMPSON
A new Sailability Centre to help get disabled people sailing has been launched at Fairway Bay in Gulf Harbour.
Funds raised by the Rotary Club of Whangaparaoa at a November charity dinner and auction, with guest speaker Harold Bennett of America’s Cup fame, helped provide a personnel crane and two Hansa 303 boats for the centre.
Additional support came from sausage sizzles at Pak ’n Save Silverdale.
Rodney MP Mark Mitchell and wife Peggy, who christened the two boats with bubbly, officially opened the centre before more than 70 people.
‘‘Without the excellent and very effective work that was done by all the participants in this venture, especially the support from local businesses, we would not all be celebrating this success,’’ Mitchell says.
Sailability Auckland chairman Brendan Tourelle and New Zealand 2012 Paralympian Tim Dempsey, also of Sailability, thank everyone who contributed. Support came from Rotary Whangaparaoa, The Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, the June Grey Charitable Trust, Rotary International District 9910, and especially Fairway Bay and the Gulf Harbour Yacht Club.
Club Commodore John Weston welcomes the new facility that will provide safe sailing for people with disabilities.
First to set sail were 2012 Paralympian sailor Jan Apel, accompanying Roy Bartlett who has not sailed for years and was the first to use the new crane provided by Rotary Whangaparaoa.
They were soon followed by Belinda Edwards with Sailability instructor Taylor Mitchell.
The first official Sailability Regatta at Fairway Bay, operated by the Gulf Harbour Yacht Club, is on February 14 and 15.
“There is indeed much to look forward to at this great new venue for sailors with disabilities,” Rotary Whangaparaoa president Brian Mullan says. “I am so glad that I was able to become involved with Sailability through the Rotary Club of Grantham in the UK and to be inspired by the Rotary involvement there. Supporting Sailability in New Zealand has for the past few years been an ambition of mine – now fulfilled thanks to the great support that Rotary Whangaparaoa received for this new centre.”
Jumping off wharfs and cliffs into water around Hibiscus Coast has entertained young people for years. Chief reporter CaraliseTrayes hits some of the top jumping spots with two who know the insand-outs of social diving.
Why is jumping so popular? Warren: Jumping is especially popular with those between 13 and 25 years old.
It’s a summer activity that’s more adventurous than just going to the beach.
Vaughan: There’s always a cool atmosphere and you meet so many random people that like doing the same things as you. The adrenaline rush is good too.
Why do you do it? Warren: I like jumping from heights and the adrenaline.
Vaughan: It’s the splash I like.
What makes a good jump site? Warren: Not much wind, lots of sun and big heights.
Vaughan: The height and location – the accessibility.
What types of jumps are there? Warren: Acrobatics, like the back flip, front flip, suicide back flip and gainer.
Vaughan: Bombs, like the gorilla, cannon, manu, mangere and staple. And there’s dives like the pencil, penguin and ‘Pocahontas’.
❚ Little Manly cliffs ‘‘The water’s not that deep so you have to go at high tide. It can be dangerous if there is a big swell,’’ Warren says.
Vaughan says the site provides a variety of jumps from different heights. ‘‘You can jump from the cliff near the car park, off a tree, there’s a swing or you can jump from lower down the cliff.’’ The site is quite secluded and is mainly used by locals.
– The car park is off South Ave, Little Manly.
❚ Hobbs Wharf ‘‘You can jump from this spot at any tide, that’s why it’s so popular,’’ Vaughan says.
‘‘Jumpers are encouraged to use the wharf with the ladder provided, it’s made just for swimmers.’’ Warren says the cafe on site provides a good spot for parents to buy drinks and snacks while watching their kids swim.
‘‘Because it’s in the marina there isn’t really a current or swell which means it is suitable for all ages and is more popular with the younger kids.’’ – Just off The Anchorage in Gulf Harbour.
❚ The Cove, Red Beach ‘‘It’s secluded and hidden and you can only jump during high tide,’’ Warren says.
Vaughan says the spot has a swing, rocks and tree to leap from.
‘‘The swell can be pretty ruthless at this spot so it’s more for confident swimmers. But it’s a good hangout spot and I’ve seen people having picnics on the rocks watching others jump.’’ – Walk around the rocks at the northern end of Red Beach, or around the rocks from the southern end of Orewa. You can also get there via Pinewoods Holiday Park with permission from owners.
❚ Orewa Wharf ‘‘This spot is easily accessible, there’s the estuary walkway nearby, the skate park and cafe,’’ Vaughan says.
‘‘There’s usually heaps of kids and out-of-towners jumping as there’s a ladder and varying heights to jump from.’’ Warren says there’s usually a friendly atmosphere with so many jumpers using the wharf.
‘‘But you do need to be aware of the current as it can get pretty strong, especially on an outgoing tide,’’ Warren says.
It’s safe to jump between mid to high tide.
‘‘And with the Hibiscus Coast Highway right alongside it you know you’ve always got an audience,’’ Vaughan says.
❚ Other popular jumps include the old Wilson Cement Works in Warkworth on Wilson Rd, and the rope swing at Swan Cove just off Swann Beach Rd.
John Watson Albany ward councillor Auckland Council
In light of the tragic accident on Whangaparaoa Rd, and the consequent gridlock, readers might be interested to know that the opportunity to provide an emergency access connection along this very section of road was ignored despite a strong plea on the grounds of public safety in the event of an accident or Civil Defence emergency.
The continued vulnerability of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to car accidents and Civil Defencetype emergencies is unacceptable.
While the obvious solution is the construction of Penlink, the public should also know that in recent years departments of this council have chosen not to construct an emergency second access that was available.
Since 2006 the Rodney District Council had plans for an emergency access link to be constructed from the end of Matheson Rd through to Poplar Rd as a matter of some urgency.
This was deemed essential in order to provide alternative access to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula for emergency vehicles. This was critical for the safety of Whangaparaoa’s 30,000 plus residents.
The specific section of Whangaparaoa Rd from Marellen Drive through to Vipond Rd has long been identified as a serious point of vulnerability in the event of a major accident or Civil Defence type catastrophe.
This was because such an event on this particular section of the road would effectively cut off the entire peninsula to any form of vehicular access (including ambulances and fire engines).
At that stage the second access to the peninsula could have been provided with a relatively short and inexpensive section of roading.
In 2011 the section of land necessary to effect this link was for sale as a lifestyle block.
It was listed for $369,000 as a private sale.
For the first part of the potential link Watercare had already put a concrete right of way through to one of its pumping stations.
The head of Civil Defence for the new Auckland Council and Auckland Transport were informed of both the need to effect this emergency link and the availability of the land. As far as the purchase of the land went, it would have been close to a cost neutral exercise – once the relatively limited section of the property required for the access was subdivided off, the property could simply have been put back on the market with a view to recouping the purchase cost.
Given the present market this was obviously an advantageous time to be making such a purchase.
This purchase and work was not adjudged an important priority by the council departments and the land has subsequently been sold and built on.
After the January 15 gridlock on this very section of road an AT spokesman was quoted as saying in response to public complaints about the shut down of the entire peninsula that, ‘‘There’s a 200 seat ferry going at 8.45am which is a perfect option on a sunny day like today’’.
This comment shows how out of touch AT is with the important needs of local communities.
Such a response beggars belief – is he seriously suggesting that over 5000 motorists should all turn around and try and catch a 200 seat ferry at Gulf Harbour? As it happened the ferry captain was also caught up in the traffic.
The reality is that AT has no plan to deal with such circumstances if they arise again. The security of a second access would now seem to rest solely with an initiative from a private developer through Penlink.
Lorraine Sampson Silverdale – Abridged
Re roading issues.
When looking at a letter to the editor published during the first years of the Auckland Council it appears the same words can be written now.
[The letter asked what councillors were doing to help Silverdale as people in the area had great concerns over roading issues which were becoming even more important with the Silverdale Centre opening.] At least councillor John Watson is making an attempt to help Silverdale get issues sorted.
Most of the problems in our area are caused by Auckland Transport decisions.
Although the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt and deputy chairman Greg Sayers have worked hard to help us, it appears their hands are tied and it is the councillors who can have more say.
After the tragic incident on Whangaparaoa Rd it is obvious that issues here need more forthright attention by our elected representatives.
We at Silverdale live in hope that more action will taken on roading issues which are affecting businesses. After all, Silverdale is the largest employment area of the Hibiscus Coast.
Get Penlink done
Bill Bell Whangaparaoa
It must be 12 years ago that I attended a meeting at the Leisure Centre and the then opposition National Party representatives stated that Penlink would happen if they became the Government.
Why do we need deaths to make it important? This is not a political rant.
I’ve actually voted for National, but come on – let’s get this done.
Kevin Hyde Arkles Bay
The need for the Penlink road across the Weiti River from Stanmore Bay to the motorway has been shown to be justified as urgent.
There has been talk of this link since I have been on the Hibiscus Coast for at least the last 30 years.
With the development of more housing below Wade River Rd and the new supermarket at Stanmore Bay it cannot be delayed another 10 years.
If there is any hold up between Vipond Rd and Marellen Drive on Whangaparaoa Rd due to an accident or road works, then the peninsula is either isolated from Stanmore Bay or traffic is subjected to long delays with queues up to 5km long in either direction.
The sooner the link is completed the better.
Lack of action
Sue Barker Red Beach
I would like to register my concern about the lack of action on the PenlinkWeiti River crossing from Stillwater to Stanmore Bay.
I cannot understand why this was not done at least 10 years ago as it was badly needed back then.
But now it has got to the stage where Whangaparaoa Rd is extremely dangerous at times.
I have lived on the Hibiscus Coast for the past 28 years and was in real estate sales for 20 years until recently.
I have seen many changes and the population has increased considerably since 1987. I have lived in Stanmore Bay and Manly but moved to Red Beach in 2006, one of the reasons being that I didn’t like the busy Whangaparaoa Rd.
As you will be aware, there have been people killed on that road in the past and I cannot understand why the ‘‘powers that be’’ have not gone ahead with Penlink well before this.
I have spoken to a lot of people about it and they all seem to want it to go ahead and don’t mind having to pay a toll for the privilege. It would make financial sense to me to bundle it with the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension.
As I see it, there is still a lot of land out at Gulf Harbour and a crossing would make it easier to house more people out there.
It would also create a safer environment for people to get off the Hibiscus Coast in reasonable time if there was some sort of catastrophe. That alone is a very real possibility.
I would be keen to see Penlink as soon as possible.
Commuting patterns have changed remarkably in Auckland depending on the location of the workplace, according to a Statistics New Zealand report released earlier this month.
The above interactive map shows the change in commuting patterns for every suburb(area unit) in the country.
Car use is still the predominant mode of commuting to work. Readers can switch between the layers of map using the options on upper right corner to see how this has changed since 2001.
The purpose of the interactive map is to help reveal changes in commuting patterns across the country.
For example, there appears to be an increase in the percentage of people using a private car to get to work in the areas of South Auckland.
Meanwhile, in Wellington, the use of public transport(bus, or train) is much higher than anywhere else in the country. Readers can see how this has changed in the city since 2001 by switching between the layers.
Another interesting pattern is the uptake of public transport in Auckland.
More than 1 in 4 people that worked in the CBD took public transport, compared with just under 1 in 12 people for the whole Auckland region, according to the Statistics NZ report.
The data for the maps is obtained from Statistics New Zealand’s 2013 census mesblock data set.
Please share your thoughts on the interactive map and the patterns it reveals.
NZ HeraldBy Harkanwal Singh
THE ever-changing face of the Hibiscus Coast is under the knife again as developers make the most of the dry spell.
Heavy machinery is cutting away at several hillsides preparing for the planned sale of sections in the Millwater subdivision at Arran Point area next year.
Extensive work is being done to ensure the northeast outlook of properties is fully utilised, Millwater marketing manager Warren Frogley says.
‘‘It will take this year to get the ground work done, settled and shaped. Next year will be roading and services. It’s likely to be 2016 before any sections are on the market.’’ Around 1100 sections elsewhere in the greater Millwater development have already been sold with a further 350 to go online this year.
‘‘It’s going very well, we can’t keep up with the demand for land and houses,’’ sales and marketing manager Nick Hornby says.
Between 700 and 800 people are living in the suburb, with the Wainui Rd/ State Highway 1 interchange due to be completed in late April.
The Millwater Central shopping centre is opening in February. Other work under way includes:
❚ The Peninsula Golf Club in Red Beach where earthworks have started on stage one of the PLDL development that will turn the site into residential housing.
Aged-care company Metlifecare has put in an acquisition to buy five hectares of the development with a plan to build a $150 million retirement village.
The sale is subject to due diligence, resource consents and subdivision consent, expected to be confirmed by December. Metlifecare hopes to start construction in 2017 if conditions are met.
The village would feature a range of one, two and three-bedroom independent living options and care beds.
Planned community facilities include a swimming pool, gym, cafe and bowling green. Metlifecare owns Hibiscus Coast Village, also in Red Beach.
❚ Top Harbour’s Fairway Bay in Gulf Harbour is moving along with development works for 110 lots under way. Sixty-five titles have been released so far and 40 of those are sold. A further 39 lots have been sold to a builder.
‘‘We have got comprehensive plan approval for a further 139 lots. We will be completing engineering approvals over the next three months and ready to start that work in the next construction season,’’ Fairway Bay project consultant Michael Webb-Speight says.
The marina has been completed and is open. A bar is opening soon with a cafe already operational.
❚ Cabra Development’s Wade River Rd project has finished stage one with 42 titles due to be released early next month and 80 per cent already sold.
Sites range from 600 to 7000 square metres. Larger lots include a large portion of bush. Stage two is under construction with 86 titles due to be released at the end of the year.
‘‘People like the views and the north aspect, the vegetation and size of sites,’’ Cabra project and sales manager Duncan Unsworth says.
Cabra’s Orewa project on Grand Drive has 118 sites with earthworks started late last year. The first stage will be released mid to late this year.
Rodney MP Mark Mitchell says growth in the area needs to be carefully balanced.
‘‘It creates more opportunity and allows our retail sector to grow. But with that we also have to get our investment and the level of services and infrastructure right,’’ Mitchell says.
‘‘We need to look at what we need to invest in and where it needs to happen.
Hibiscus Coast is a great place to live and we can work at enhancing the quality of life here.’’ Cabra has finished stage one of a subdivision in Huapai where all 68 sites are sold. Most of stage two’s 55 sites have also sold and stage three’s 86 sites are due to be released later this year.
Rodney Times By CARALISE TRAYES
Families are flocking to a marina north of Auckland for a close encounter of a different kind.
Stingrays have a reputation for being deadly, but one Gulf Harbour resident appears to be anything but.
Brutus the stingray has become somewhat of a star attraction at Gulf Harbour Marina.
At nearly 1.5 metres wide he casts a fearsome shadow beneath the water, but this short-tailed stingray is a bit of a pussycat.
“If you give him a touch and a rub he certainly seems to appreciate it,” says Rex Smith of the Serious Fishing Company, which operates out of the Gulf Harbour.
He comes when called, loves to be petted, and even handfed.
Brutus has been visiting the harbour for more than 15 years. But Mr Smith, who runs fishing charters with wife Lynette, says it’s only in the past 18 months he’s started getting this friendly.
“There’s about eight or nine other stingrays here that feed but they don’t come up and be handfed. He’s certainly learned the benefits of being handfed, he gets all the goodies.”
And he’s certainly making a splash. Stingrays are commonly found in warmer waters off the North Island, but this kind of behaviour is very rare.
“It’s unusual, but they are fairly intelligent animals and they can learn to do anything that suits them,” says NIWA fisheries scientist Dr Malcolm Francis.
They have poisonous barbs, but Dr Francis says they’re pretty docile and only lash out if they feel threatened.
“As long as people aren’t trying to grab them or jump on them, they should be quite safe.”
Brutus isn’t the only attraction in the area; there are large kingfish and snapper too.
“What we’ve got here is very special and it needs to be looked after by the greater community, and it is fantastic seeing people on holiday coming down and enjoying nature at its best,” says Mr Smith.
The only sting in this fishy tale is the cost. Brutus has a healthy appetite, eating up to 6kg of squid and pilchards a day – at nearly $1000 a month – but Mr Smith reckons he’s worth it.
3 News By Lucy Warhurst
Commuters were trapped at Whangaparaoa north of Auckland for more than two hours this morning after a fatal accident shut the peninsula’s main road.
Motorists had been delayed following the 5.30am accident at Red Beach when police closed Whangaparaoa Rd while they investigated the two-car accident.
There were no diversions in place so nobody could leave or enter the area between Marellen Dr and Glenelg Rd until two city-bound lanes reopened at 8am. All lanes on the road re-opened shortly before 9am.
Police said a female had died and two people were taken to North Shore Hospital with serious injuries after the crash, and drivers faced significant delays as a result.
Auckland Transport earlier recommended motorists consider making alternative travel plans, such as taking the ferry.
“There’s a 200-seat ferry going at 8.45am which is a perfect option on a sunny day like today,” spokesman Mark Hannan said.
The Auckland police serious crash unit was investigating and next of kin were being advised.
A Whangaparaoa Rd resident who didn’t want to be named said a backlog of drivers had given up trying to drive to Auckland.
“People had turned around and gone back,” she said.
“I took my dogs for a walk on the beach just before 7am and when I came back 40 minutes later people were driving away.”
Another resident said the road was “notorious” and was problematic when there were crashes.
“There’s no [road] duplication so if anything happens it shuts the whole thing down,” he said.
“It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. It’s a notorious problem.”
From his home he could see traffic was moving west but motorists trying to get toward the peninsula were at a stand-still.
Bernard Taylor said the crash happened right outside his driveway.
“I’ve just had a look and it’s very messy – a head on crash,” he said.