Living on the water may seem like a pipe dream to some, but an Auckland developer – in conjunction with a couple of stars from NZ’s The Block stars – are planning on making this dream a reality.
Fairway Bay and Block NZ winners of 2014, Alex and Corban, have set out to create twenty floating homes for the Gulf Harbour, on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.
Michael Webb-Speight, development consultant for Fairway Bays, says this idea is a natural flow-on from having boats in the marina.
He says the inspiration for the idea is personal.
“My wife does not like to sail the Rangitoto channel. Instead of going with me on our boat out to the channel, she would rather drive. There she will get on board and then enjoy, in a perfectly calm anchorage, a glass of wine in the setting sun.”
Mr Webb-Speight believes there are many families in New Zealand that share the same experiences as himself. Where you can have the best of boating: floating on water, slipping off the side for a swim, or fishing off the back, without all the discomforts.
This idea is not as far-fetched as it may sound. As Fairway Bay owns the sea beds in the Gulf Harbour and it is an already existing marina, the idea proves to be rather easy to go ahead with.
Essentially, the only trick to it is designing a home that can float.
With engineering plans and designs still being played with, the first floating home will be in the marina in April/May next year, Webb-Speight says.
He says the interest in the floating homes has been massive.
“We have almost 300 people signed up on our website which is pretty spectacular. It really is a journey and we are really excited about it.”
So, what would these floating homes look like? Michael explains:
“Think of it as a floating apartment. So, in an apartment building, basically you have a 35sqm cube and then you can add all types of different materials to that cube.
“We [Fairway Bays] will build these little boats which will be the shells of the homes, we will control the exterior look of the shell, and then Alex and Corban are in charge of the interior.”
Alex and Corban are the 2014 winners of The Block NZ and owners of the homeware store ‘Alex & Corban Home’.
The Fairway Bay website has had about 300 people signing up to hear more about the idea, and Webb-Speight says that those who have registered their interest could act as a kind of proxy focus-group for the project.
“So when we want to ask a question that only the market can answer we have got people sitting there that can answer the question for us,” he says. “They have said ‘we are interested’.”
“We think they are extremely valuable in our process because they are interested and they will give us their views.”
The final cost of these floating homes will not be known until the first home is up and floating, says Webb-Speight.
“We are going to launch the first one and then we will be able to define and price the others,” he says.
Buyers of these floating homes will not need titles registered with Land Information New Zealand, says Webb-Speight. Instead, they will have a long-term licence agreement for use of the berth where their house is moored.
-by Susan Epskamp
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Just back from a really great woody weekend. The CYA hosted a gathering at Fairway Bay Marina, Gulf Harbour that saw the boats all rafted up in the ‘gated’ upper lagoon. We were greeted by Grant the marina manager in his tender that made berthing easy for those without bow-thruster. In fact Grant was the perfect host & made the weekend extra special.
I have to say that rafting up & boat hopping is such a cool thing, perfect way to catch up & tell fibs about your boat while enjoying a refreshing .
When I slid Raindance alongside Trinidad the smell was amazing, bread baking – the latest additional to Trinny is a ‘fitted’ bread maker. It doesn’t get much better than waking up to the smell of bread baking.
Nice to see CYA vice chairman Peter Mence mooching around in his rather cute gaff rigged clinker.
After an afternoon of socializing we all went ashore for a BBQ at the marina bar. Nathan Herbert & Jason Prew were the the chefs on the BBQ & did a superb job, its not often I trust someone to cook my thick-cut aged sirloin steak.
Special mention to the CYA members that turned up by road, Sue & Mark Edmonds (Monterey), Ian Miller (Alpheus) & the new owners of Young Nick.
-photos ex Alan H
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A new housing development is underway in Auckland. But it’s a little different than your average sub-divison. Twenty floating homes are being planned for Gulf Harbour, on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Michael Webb-Speight, is a development consultant for the Fairway Bay project.
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Many people dream of living by the sea but one developer is taking it a step further.
Twenty floating homes are being planned for Gulf Harbour, on Auckland’s WaitemataHarbour .
The homes will be docked at the Fairway Bay marina and plugged in to water, electrical and sewage systems.
Resource consent has already been granted. Construction is planned to start in early 2016 and the first house is expected to be completed by June.
Fairway Bay development consultant Michael Webb-Speight said it was the first project of its type in New Zealand.
“We thought it was a very cool way to utilise a particularly special part of our little harbour.”
* Eight funky floating homes around the world
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The houses would be about 35sqm and include a kitchen, living space and laundry on the floor level, with a mezzanine and bedroom loft above.
Buyers would not get titles registered with Land Information New Zealand but would instead have a long-term licence agreement for the use of the berth.
Webb-Speight said the exact length of the licence has not yet been determined.
“I think the market will probably tell us how long it’s got to be.”
He said the houses would be ideal holiday homes for professional couples, or retreats for artists.
Husband-and-wife duo Alex and Corban Walls, last year’s winners of the TV show The Block NZ, have been contracted to produce the first home and design customised interiors for the buyers.
Corban Walls said they were hard at work on the design.
“The floating part will be a concrete pontoon to provide a stable base with long-term durability, the same technology used for marina pontoons.”
The price for each home has not yet been set.
“That’s really something which will be determined by the cost structure and specifications, and by the market, given that this is a unique product with no match anywhere else in New Zealand,” Webb-Speight said.
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Floating houses will be built and docked in Gulf Harbour development as a novel way of beating rising land prices.
Floating houses are planned for Gulf Harbour, north of Auckland.
In what appears to be a novel solution to the city’s tightly constrained land supply and sky-rocketing prices, construction of The Boat Sheds project will begin in the New Year, answering the desire for waterfront location living.
Michael Webb-Speight, a development consultant to the Fairway Bay project, said Auckland’s population was increasing fast and houses on the water were an obvious solution.
“With land and property becoming scarcer, we need to find ways to better use the water that surrounds the city and we believe this is part of the solution. Many Kiwis dream of living near the water but this takes that to the extreme – living on top of the water in a floating home,” he said, citing a BBC report quoting development experts saying on-the-water communities could be a more sustainable, affordable and safer option than building on land.
But deputy mayor Penny Hulse expressed reservations.
“The idea of floating houses could have a negative impact on our coastal areas and will have to be carefully considered,” she said.
Twenty houses will be docked at the Fairway Bay marina but buyers will not get titles registered in the usual way with Land Information New Zealand. Instead, they will have a long-term licence agreement for use of the berth where their house is moored.
Mr Webb-Speight thinks many will treat the place more as a holiday home.
“We see the target buyers as those who are looking for a weekend retreat. Just like a regular live-aboard cruising boat, these dwellings will be buoyant platforms which are docked and plugged into the electrical grid, water and sewage services.”
He said prices were yet to be set.
Plans are for the houses to be tiny, at just 35sq m. A mezzanine floor or loft will maximise floor areas.
Consent has been granted. “It was part of the resource consent obtained to build the marina. We hope to complete the first Boat Shed around April or May next year. What makes our location special is that we own the sea bed. It’s part of an integrated marina development plan with an approved resource consent and we have the infrastructure surrounding the location in place.”
Mark McGuinness, managing director of Willis Bond which is developing luxury Wynyard Quarter apartments, said the late Sir Ian Athfield had suggested “branches” of floating houses off Wellington’s former Overseas Passenger Terminal – now the Clyde Quay Wharf where Willis Bond developed 76 apartments in a $170 million project. But that idea was rejected.
“In practice, it would not work because there were shipping and navigation issues,” Mr McGuinness said.
“Anything’s possible. But it comes down to cost and detail. I’d question the appropriateness of housing in a marina environment because marinas are for boats.”
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With escalating demand for a coastal lifestyle within easy reach of the city, the Fairway Bay developmentat Gulf Harbour launched the next section release just in time for Auckland’s Home Show.
Development consultant Michael Webb-Speight says potential buyers are welcoming the launch, as current stock is almost exhausted.
“Just 7 lots remain in the Fairway Bay- Discovery stage, there is a clear need to bring more properties to market without any delay.
“The Home Show proved a strong launch with considerable interest from both building companies and private buyers. We sold all but five lots within the first six weeks,” he says.
Ground will be broken in October on the new stage, with the first25 lots priced from $319,000 and range in size from 325m2 to 705m2.
“We expect to see purchasers being able to complete development of house and land for around $700k – $900k,” added Webb-Speight.
All lots are north facing and generally have wide views over the marina and surrounds.
Top Harbour CEO Sean Pan says he is pleased with the pace and success of the development, and looks forward to more residents calling Fairway Bay home.
“We have already completed the development of over 130 lots and, other than our premium sections, we have sold almost everything we have titles for,” he adds.
The appeal of Gulf Harbour is enhanced by regular ferry crossings to Auckland, putting the city within easy and affordable reach of residents, making the decision even easier.
“The ferry service has proved very popular for buyers working in the CBD.Commuter numbers are growing significantly, with figures indicating an increase of more than 100 per cent over a one year period.
Top Harbour is investing heavily in infrastructure that supports the growth of community facilities, while facilitating further retail and commercial opportunities within the next five years.
Fairway Bay lies at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which boasts some of New Zealand’s best beaches, a world-class golf course, a 1000 berth Marina and Decile 10 schools.
For more information contact Leandri Smith on 027 365 9003 or at Leandri@prrepublic.co.nz.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett’s recent presentation about the building of Penlink to “selected developers”, investors, Hibiscus & Bays Local board chair Julia Parfitt and member Janet Fitzgerald concluded that the project must proceed, no matter what.
Mr Barnett said that Auckland Transport needs to be encouraged to provide a clear, simplified pathway for delivery of Penlink as a Public Private Partnership. He said this should include a project description including benefits and costs, an indicative programme for the build, issues and risks.
His presentation, which is linked here [72KB], says that the next step for the group spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce is to form a ‘champions’ leadership team, tasked and resourced to develop a new conversation on why Penlink is needed, what it will deliver and how and when it can be built.
His report says that all channels are to be used to meet this end, including briefing key stakeholders with the aim of “short-circuiting any torpedoes to try and stop the initiative”.
Bus passengers on the Hibiscus Coast will be make transport history this weekend, on October 18, when they become the first to ride on the new bus network for Auckland.
Auckland Transport Metro general manager Mark Lambert says it is a bold step to re-design a bus network from the ground up.
Mr Lambert says that for the Hibiscus Coast, the new service will deliver improvements to frequency and access, promising to cut up to 30 minutes off a journey from Silverdale to the city centre or North Shore in off-peak times.
Local buses will run twice as often between Whangaparaoa and Orewa. There will be a new service for Millwater, and new trial services for Arkles Bay and to the Gulf Harbour ferry and Shakespear Regional Park.
Local buses will connect with the Northern Express at the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station and Park and Ride.
Transfers will be timed to connect through a ‘pulse’ network, where buses are scheduled to arrive together and then all depart at the same time. This will allow passengers to transfer between services with a short waiting time.
The building of the station and a final 274 carparks is due to begin next Spring.
Until the new station is built, the pulse network will operate from the interim bus stops at the Hibiscus Coast Station on Painton Rd.
Information about the new service will be available at a series of local events. These will be held at the Orewa Library on Tuesday October 13, from 10am to 1pm; at the Whangaparaoa Library and The Plaza on Thursday October 15, 10am to 1pm; and Silverdale Village and Silverdale Centre on Friday October 16, from 10am to 1pm.
The AmBUSador (the New Network bus) will be parked outside the Silverdale Centre.
On October 18, as well as the days following, AT Ambassadors will be around the Hibiscus Coast to assist people with navigating the new services. The new bus timetables have been mailed to all households, and information posters are up at key bus stops.
Detailed information about the new routes and timetables are available atAT.govt.nz/better.
Bus services manager Brendon Main says the New Network has been designed to provide attractive transport options for a wide range of people, and a large variety of activities.
“As well as running frequent buses at peak times for commuters, we’re improving services throughout the day and on weekends, to cater for shopping, personal or social trips. We encourage people to find out about how the New Network could work for them and give it a go,” Mr Main says.
Until Simplified Zone Fares are introduced next year, some trips will incur an additional cost, unless travelling with a monthly pass. AT says, once implemented, Simplified Zone Fares will remove any additional cost of transferring and reduce the price for longer trips.
Is it working?
Making substantial changes to local bus timetables has involved a lot of work for AT, including public consultation and protracted negotiations with bus companies.
It is only worth it if this makes life easier for the travelling public.
Once this new service is underway, bus users are welcome to comment on how it’s working via Hibiscus Matters’ website or Facebook page.
The thorough questioning by the commissioners as they assessed the effects of 4-laning Penlink during the submissions process, at the hearing on September 22-24, was impressive.
The spokesman for the 830 hectare Weiti Block sought accesses off Penlink to the proposed two new beach front towns, where sections valued at $70 million have apparently recently been sold.
Being only 25 minutes from the city and adjacent to superb white sand beaches, Weiti Bay’s development will be rapid after the Millwater and Long Bay subdivisions are full, and Penlink has been completed.
The Dairy Flat motorway interchange is urgently required to provide access for Penlink and the Weiti Block, to stimulate growth in the Dairy Flat/Redvale area and to provide an alternative route via East Coast Bays Rd. It’s also to reduce traffic congestion on the Hibiscus Coast Highway.
An accident there on September 24 had Red Beach streets gridlocked, traffic stationary at the Red Beach Rd traffic lights and Vipond Rd lights. It was still queuing 14kms back along Whangaparaoa Rd in Manly, at 9.30am. Hibiscus Highway traffic modelling has recently degraded the Level of Service (LOS) on that arterial route from D to E for 2016. This adversely affects consent conditions for the development of the Silverdale North business district. About 40 to 50 vehicles quickly pass through the Red Beach Rd traffic lights each morning at each phase, pre-peak time. Because those 50 vehicles cannot pass directly through the free left turn bottleneck into the Hibiscus Coast Highway every five minutes during peak time, queues on Whangaparaoa Rd lengthen and can take two or three hours to clear. The proposed four-laning of Whangaparaoa Rd will not fix this bottleneck into the highway.
By 2021 traffic congestion will make the Hibiscus Coast Highway and Whangaparaoa Rd arterial routes costly, frustrating, dangerous and problematical for all road users. This will adversely affect growth and confidence in the whole area.
Penlink has a benefit/cost ratio of 3.9 out of a possible four points, plus a strong business case.
Obviously expediting the construction of Penlink to enable the diversion of Whangaparaoa’s traffic away onto Penlink is the only cost effective, long-term solution to fix Whangaparaoa and Silverdale’s growth and traffic pollution issues.
Beverley McLeod Red Beach
Auckland Transport has told planning commissioners it needs to double the width of a proposed highway to Whangaparaoa Peninsula – despite having no immediate funding for the $387 million project.
Although the long-envisaged Penlink scheme fell out of Auckland Council’s 10-year budget, its transport agency still hopes to attract private investors within that time-frame to develop it as a tolled shortcut to the peninsula from the Northern Motorway at Redvale, via a bridge over the Weiti River and Stillwater.
The organisation said at the opening of a hearing in Orewa yesterday that it need to develop the 7km highway as a four-lane tolled road to ease severe traffic congestion along the peninsula and cater for population growth through a wider catchment including Silverdale and Dairy Flat.
It wants to include in the project a bridge 540m long and 40m above the Weiti River.
A designation for a two-lane highway and three-lane bridge was issued in 2001, but expires in February unless the four-member hearings panel approves an application to extend it for 20 years and add what Auckland Transport says are small areas of land.
The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board shared the disappointment of many Whangaparaoa residents when Auckland Council dropped the project from its long-term plan, but opponents say it is too grandiose for an area which has already been largely developed and fear it will harm sensitive ecology on both sides of the river.
Even Auckland Transport’s landscape architect consultant, Shannon Bray, acknowledges in evidence prepared for the three-day hearing that the bridge “will fundamentally affect the character of the Stillwater area” and become a prominent visible feature above the Weiti estuary.
But he says that the original design was approved after extensive community consultation, and adding another lane with 2.5m shoulders for cyclists will have little extra visual impact.
Project director Theunis van Schalkwyk told the hearing that many Hibiscus Coast, Silverdale and Redvale residents relied on daily trips out of the area for work.
An Auckland Transport business case in 2013 said 30,000 vehicles used the largely two-lane Whangaparaoa Rd daily.
Putting the cost of a four-lane highway at $387.5 million, it estimated total lifetime benefits at $743 million and warned of peak-hour trips from Whangaparaoa to Redvale lengthening from 20 minutes to more than 55 minutes by 2041 without the new link.
Mr van Schalkwyk said the project would also ease congestion along the Hibiscus Coast highway.
Even so, opponents who made submissions for the hearing have outnumbered supporters two to one.
They include 13 residents of Cedar Terrace just below where the new highway would join Whangaparaoa Rd, who submitted there was limited bare land left for housing on the peninsula east of them and the two-lane road already designated would cater for any extra growth.
-By Mathew Dearnaley, NZ Herald
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Work is due to start next month on a new 67-lot residential subdivision at Fairway Bay, Gulf Harbour near Whangaparaoa. Michael Webb-Speight, a development consultant on the project, said 25 sections had already been marketed and 10 per cent deposits would soon be paid on five of those properties.
The 325sq m to 705sq m sites are selling from $319,000 up to $419,000, he said. The land subdivision is by Chinese-owned Top Harbour and the sites are within about 200m of the waterfront, off Pinecrest Dr and The Anchorage.
The latest subdivision is called Fairway Bay Resolution, near Fairway Bay Discovery, where 65 of a proposed 79 residential lots have been created. Of those 65, deposits have been taken on 55 lots, Webb-Speight said, and many houses are rising there.
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Demonstrating his commitment to an integrated public transport plan, Mayor Len Brown took time out of his busy schedule to address ferry commuters on the 4:45pm service to Gulf Harbour on Tuesday, 18 August.
On board it wasn’t quite business as usual, the Mayor took responsibility for the safety briefing, adding a few more words from the control room. Thereafter, commuters enjoyed the opportunity to voice any concerns or raise issues directly with the Mayor, all of which were well received.
Having experienced the service first-hand, Mayor Brown acknowledged the opportunity for terminal and ferry improvements to both increase capacity and comfort for those travelling between Gulf Harbour and the city.
Noting that the 2013 increase to 12 sailings a day boosted commuter numbers by more than 115 per cent, Mayor Brown had some encouraging views to share.
“It is the greatest way to travel to work on the planet [and] with the ongoing demand, I’m sure there will be more sailings and bigger, faster boats in the future,” said Mayor Brown.
Fairway Bay development consultant Michael Webb-Speight said the Mayor’s enthusiasm and support bodes well for the development of Gulf Harbour and surrounding suburbs.
“With increased sailings and larger boats, combined with improvements to terminal and dock services, the appeal of Gulf Harbour is within reach of more people working in the CBD. With ferries as part of the integrated transport plan, getting the city moving has never looked so good.”
Issued on behalf of Top Harbour by PR Republic.
Public transport use is up, with Gulf Harbour ferry services patronage jumping 115 per cent.
And more is being invested in Auckland’s network.
Northern express bus service use has risen 17.2 per cent and other bus services 6.6 per cent during the past year.
Rail patronage has climbed 21.7 per cent, Auckland mayor Len Brown saying that means the patronage target set by the government for funding the City Rail Link (CRL) will be achieved three years ahead of schedule.
Auckland’s strong growth in public transport figures for June, just released by Auckland Transport, indicates the Government’s target of 20 million passenger rail trips annually will be reached in 2017, he says.
The latest survey shows 78,106 people coming into the city in the morning peak. Some 45 per cent used public transport while 41 per cent drove.
“These are extraordinary numbers and dispel the myth you can’t get Aucklanders out of their cars,” Brown says.
He says it emphasises the urgency to get on with the CRL before train service capacity is reached by 2016.
Meanwhile, a $4.2 billion partnership in Auckland transport over the next three years has been announced by the NZ Transport Agency.
That includes $1.75b for public transport, $960m for state highways and $91m for cycling and walking.
About $48m is earmarked for the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway.
Spectacular growth on Gulf Harbour ferry services is leading to a push for further improvements.
“We have a contract review due in July, being the end of the first year of the new timetable,” Fairway Bay development consultant Michael Webb Speight says.
“We are actively encouraging Auckland Transport to consider all of the factors which are limiting further growth, and to provide solutions to these issues.” These issues include carparking, frequency of sailings, capacity of vessels and facilities at the terminals.
Auckland Transport has already announced a new bus timetable due to start later this year and provide interconnection to the ferries.
Ferry terminal upgrades are planned from September.
The six return sailings each weekday were based on an expectation that passenger growth of about 20 per cent would be achieved over the first year. With actual growth in the order of 120 per cent over the first 10 months of the new timetable, there are a number of issues that have become apparent to frequent users of the service, Webb-Speight says.
Fairway Bay is running a survey on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula asking residents what time they would prefer to catch the ferry.
“The main information gap we have is to understand the needs of those who do not presently catch the ferry,” he says.
“Of the possible variables we think that the most important factor is likely to be the timetable.”
❚ Visit fairwaybay.co.nz for the survey.
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Ways to improve ferry services between Gulf Harbour and Auckland continue to be sought.
Fairway Bay developers in Gulf Harbour are still fighting for improved ferry services and are now asking for increased schedules with 30 minute peak frequency and 60 minutes off-peak.
Developer Top Harbour Ltd is surveying existing and potential ferry patrons during the next fortnight about ferry sailing times they prefer.
It has made a submission to the Auckland Regional Public Transport Plan urging that the Whangaparaoa Peninsula’s growth and passenger demands be taken more into account.
It also suggests its agreement with Auckland Transport on ferry services could be used as a basis for partnership models in other parts of the public transport network.
❚ The survey, offering an annual Gulf Harbour ferry pass as an incentive.
Prepared by Michael Webb-Speight, on behalf of Top Harbour Limited – Developer of Fairway Bay,
1. THL is a unique stakeholder
In May 2014 THL entered into an agreement with Auckland Transport to subsidise the introduction of additional ferry services to Gulf Harbour. THL will contribute a total of $XXX,000 (incl GST) over 2 years. It is our understanding that THL is the only private organisation contributing to a public transport subsidy in Auckland. Accordingly THL considers it is a unique stakeholder in the process of future planning for the Ferry Services to Gulf Harbour.
Up until July 2014 there were 2 return trips per day, and an average patronage of 5250pax/month.
No services were met with bus connections. The new timetable commenced on 31 July 2014 and offered 6 return trips per day. The patronage has climbed to an average of 13,000 passengers per month (March / April / May) and is expected to continue to grow rapidly, subject to limiting factors such as vessel capacity, parking and frequency. There is a single bus feeder service to one sailing, but this sometimes doesn’t stop at the GH ferry terminal.
The agreement between THL and AT provides for a review of services in July 2015. As part of that review THL is seeking an increase in scheduled services.
THL submits that the SoP is amended to immediately increase the scheduled services to Gulf Harbour to 30 minute frequency during peak times and 60 minute frequency off-peak.
2. Base assumptions used for growth modelling are incorrect.
The RPTP Statement of Proposal (SoP) seeks to amend the Ferry Development Plan (FDP) approved by the AT Board in December 2014. The amendments provide for additional sailings, integrated bus connections and the development of the terminals in accordance with the objectives in the RPTP.
In relation to Gulf Harbour the SoP states that ferry services at peak times will be at 30 minute intervals, however it does not propose the necessary increase in scheduled services and investment in infrastructure to achieve this, nor does it set out the timeframes for introduction of these services.
The main reason for this appears to be an incorrect assumption in relation to the growth of ferry patronage from Gulf Harbour. The modelled future demand assumptions used in the FDP are based on the Auckland Plan Medium Growth Scenario.
In Figure 1 below is an extract from the FDP, and were prepared on the basis of the existing 6 return ferry sailings. The table indicates AM peak boarding as being 141pax, growing to 203pax in 2026 and 280pax in 2046.
By contrast, the actual current AM Peak (May 2015) for Gulf Harbour is 240pax, with total patronage having grown more than 100% over the last 9 months.
In other words at Gulf Harbour we are already close to exceeding the projected patronage for 30 years from now.
This incorrect assumption is reflected in other aspects of the FDP – for example development of the terminal at Gulf Harbour has a total of $28,000 planned expenditure (somewhat less than Rakino), and Table 2 below shows no additional commuter sailings planned to be introduced in the next 10 years. This assumption also incorrectly informs other aspects such as the bus connectivity changes proposed in the SoP.
THL submits that the growth assumptions used in modelling public transport for Whangaparaoa are incorrect, and should be modified and updated to include what is actually happening in the area.
3. Comparison with similar locations – Pine Harbour catchment vs services provided
Comparison with a similar destination such as Pine Harbour appears warranted, given the geographic and socio-economic similarities. Both destinations are undergoing considerable residential development, are poorly serviced by land based public transport, and have long commute times to the CBD.
At present Pine Harbour has 15 return ferry trips per day versus Gulf Harbour 6 return trips.
By any measurement, Gulf Harbour appears to have been left out of the FDP programme. We can find no rational explanation for why this has been in the past, and even less for why the Ferry Development Plan does not seek to address it.
THL owns 30ha of residentially zoned development land at Gulf Harbour with approximately 1000 HHU’s planned over the next 5- 8 years. THL is proceeding to develop the land as fast as the consent processes will allow, and has generated more than 130 lots over the last 2 years. In addition to this there are approximately 1000 HHU’s in the immediate vicinity that THL does not own, many of which have been built on and sold since THL purchased the land. It is noted that the growth in patronage is entirely derived from the existing households in the area, rather than from the new homes which THL are creating. Patronage from new home construction is only just now beginning to come on stream.
THL submits that the SoP and the FDP should be amended to provide Gulf Harbour with similar services and future growth as planned for Pine Harbour.
4. Increase in ferry patronage to Gulf Harbour – the best good news story in public transport
At a time when AT is seeking to actively grow patronage across the PT network, a trial introduction of the additional sailings to Gulf Harbour Ferry producing an increase of over 100% in patronage is a fantastic good news story. The fact that it has been achieved in partnership with private business interests suggests that it may be worth considering as a model for other sectors of the PT network.
The investment by THL in the Gulf Harbour Ferry Service has been worthwhile marketing exercise from a branding perspective, and has changed the way in which the local community considers both Gulf Harbour and Chinese investment in New Zealand. THL continues to actively promote the ferry services as a way of differentiating its residential development from other housing developments. It is noted that the growth of the ferry service in terms of frequency and capacity to meet the needs of the local community is critical to maintaining ongoing enthusiasm for the scheme from THL shareholders.
THL submits that the agreement between THL and AT could be used as a model for partnership with private business interests in other sectors of the PT network.
5. Timing of additional services
As outlined above the agreement between AT and THL is due for review in July. THL has attempted to engage with AT since May seeking additional ferry sailing times. To date we have received an assurance that the ferry services will not be reduced as a result of the review, and some additional capacity has been brought on to cover the busiest sailings, but we have received no indication that any additional sailings are being considered.
The additional services outlined in table 2 above suggest that unless the FDP is amended there will be no additional sailings introduced prior to 2025.
THL submits that Table 2 should be amended to show at least 15 sailings Mon-Fri to be introduced in 2015.
6. Limitations to Growth
During the discussions regarding the agreement between AT and THL a number of limitations to growth were identified. These limitations include:
• Frequency of sailings
• Availability of inside seating
• Availability of parking
• Interconnecting bus services
• Ferry terminal facilities
Recent feedback from existing passengers suggests strongly that all of these factors are presently limiting further growth. In a recent survey conducted by Auckland Ward Councillor John Watson, all of the above themes were mentioned, together with concerns about the safety and reliability of the existing boats used on the services.
THL does not think it is appropriate that passengers must stand outside in the rain, queuing for a ferry at peak time to ensure that they can obtain a seat on a crowded slow ferry.
THL submits that the SoP should be amended to include capital expenditure in the near term that adequately provides for additional sailings, larger vessels, carpark and terminal improvements, and bus services to meet all ferry arrivals.
7. CBD carparking policy and road congestion
It is the stated policy of both AT and Auckland Council to reduce parking in CBD. This is to be furthersupported by the imminent introduction of the Residential Exempt Parking Scheme (Freemans Bay and other inner suburbs) and zero minimum parking requirements for new high density buildings being constructed under the PAUP. All of these policies are aimed at reducing congestion and rely on increasing PT patronage.
Surveys conducted by THL in 2014 showed that more than 40% of commuters travelling by car from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula had an intended destination south of Albany. At peak hours commuter times exceed 90 minutes, and as has been well documented recently in the event of an accident there is no alternative travel route by road.
Clearly providing additional ferry services to the commuters of Whangaparaoa Peninsula provides a benefit to congestion issues on the Northern Motorway, and is entirely consistent with the CBD carparking policy objectives. Conversely not providing additional ferry services means there is no alternative available and is contrary to these objectives
THL submits that additional services to Gulf Harbour should be immediately introduced in compliance with the CBD parking and congestion policies of AT and Auckland Council.
8. BCR for service and infrastructure improvements
The FDP sets out the BCR’s for various projects in the plan and notes that for investment in services and infrastructure at Gulf Harbour the BCR is 8.8. It is the second highest scoring BCR for all ferry destinations. The FDP notes that the score is very high due to high benefit per passenger. THL would suggest that the result is negatively affected by the low forecast growth assumption discussed above, and may be comparable with the Half Moon Bay BCR of 15.7, due to a higher growth assumption.
THL submits that the BCR figure for service and infrastructure improvements in Gulf Harbour should be recalculated in line with the growth actually occurring.
9. Passenger travel preferences
To date AT have not liaised with either the passengers or the local community in relation to changing the timetable. Given that more than 50% of the passengers are new to ferry travel, THL is of the view that passengers should be given the opportunity to select their preferred sailing times. Of even more significance the preferences of those in the local community who still choose to travel by car to the CBD should be canvassed. To this end THL will be conducting a survey over the next 2 weeks. Based on past experience we anticipate we will receive between 500 and 1000 responses to the survey,
which we would consider a statistically significant sample.
THL submits that the preferences of existing and potential ferry commuters should be taken into account in the SoP when determining increased sailing frequencies to Gulf Harbour.
SUMMARY OF SUBMISSIONS
1. THL submits that the SoP is amended to immediately increase the scheduled services to Gulf Harbour to 30 minute frequency during peak times and 60 minute frequency off-peak.
2. THL submits that the growth assumptions used in modelling public transport for Whangaparaoa are incorrect and should be modified and updated to include what is actually happening in the area.
3. THL submits that the SoP and the FDP should be amended to provide Gulf Harbour with similar services and future growth as planned for Pine Harbour.
4. THL submits that the agreement between THL and AT could be used as a model for partnership with private business interests in other sectors of the PT network.
5. THL submits that Table 2 should be amended to show at least 15 sailings Mon-Fri to be introduced in 2015.
6. THL submits that the SoP should be amended to include capital expenditure in the near term that adequately provides for additional sailings, larger vessels, carpark and terminal improvements, and bus services to meet all ferry arrivals.
7. THL submits that additional services to Gulf Harbour should be immediately introduced in compliance with the CBD parking and congestion policies of AT and Auckland Council.
8. THL submits that the BCR figure for service and infrastructure improvements in Gulf Harbour should be recalculated in line with the growth actually occurring.
9. THL submits that the preferences of existing and potential ferry commuters should be taken into account in the SoP when determining increased sailing frequencies to Gulf Harbour.
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.
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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
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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”