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Dec. 02 / 2014

I have lived on the Hibiscus Coast 12 years.

When we first came here from West Auckland, it was a lovely place to move to.

Unfortunately, since the amalgamation of Auckland’s five councils into one supercity we have seen the services and maintenance of infrastructure that is the Auckland Council’s responsibility dwindle away.

It is now at the point where major money needs to be spent to bring roads and services up to a reasonable standard.

It appears to me that rates are being siphoned off and spent in South Auckland, Central Auckland or on the mayor’s train set, which residents from the Auckland Harbour Bridge north will not benefit from at all.

It now appears that the council has decided to put back major works such as Stage 2 of the Silverdale Park and Ride until 2026 – 11 years away.

The park and ride is already at capacity and the overflow is parking at the Silverdale rugby club. How long will it be before that is full? More building consents are being issued, but there is no money being spent on infrastructure, in particular roading.

If the council does not want to spend any money on this area, then stop issuing building permits.

Large subdivisions are going ahead in Millwater and Whangaparaoa. I believe the latter will be accommodating some 300 homes. That’s a minimum of 300 more cars on Whangaparaoa Rd.

Yet the council has once again deferred Penlink and widening of Whangaparaoa Rd from Red Beach to the Hibiscus Coast Highway.

I leave for work at 5.15am every morning.

When I first started this eight years ago there were not that many cars travelling at the same time. However, now there is a constant stream of traffic.

All people, like me, who have opted to start work early and finish early to avoid the traffic jams of trying to get off the peninsula.

Now you may say, why don’t you take the bus or ferry? The ferry won’t take me to where I work and the buses do not get me to where I work without causing great inconvenience. It is also still cheaper to take the car, but that’s not the main consideration. Until public transport takes people where they want to go when they want to go, it will not be fully used by Aucklanders.
Where is this going to end? We are almost ready to retire, but if things continue the way they are we will be unable to afford to stay in Auckland. It is getting just too expensive to live in both in financial terms and in the time it takes to get anywhere.

I have seen very little evidence of a unified stance from the councillors representing north and northwest Auckland to show that they have strongly pushed to support the Rodney area, which is declining in services and maintenance.

The best outcome I can see is to split this giant behemoth – one from the harbour bridge north and the other from the bridge south.

Len can continue to have his train set, and we will not be expected to contribute to this grand scheme that we really cannot afford.

If we believe in ‘user pays’ then make the areas that will benefit pay.

It is time that the people of the North Shore and Rodney areas stood up to be counted.

It is time that our representatives started actually representing us and it is time that we started looking for someone strong enough to lead us and guide us to split from this massive mistake that is Auckland If the rest of the country is sitting back and laughing at Auckland’s predicament – don’t.

It is only a matter of time before this is foisted on you and then you will be exactly where we were. Sure the system we had before was not perfect, but it was a hell of a lot better than what we have.

Come on Auckland – we need to stand up now.

See original article

Dec. 02 / 2014
Peninsula choke I amconcerned with the access and egress from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Not only due to the amount of traffic now, but that land development and extra housing should not have been allowed by the Auckland Council until a solution to the mainly two lane roading in and out of the peninsula, which in an emergency would have dire consequences for the area.

The Hibiscus Coast does not seem to get the funding nor the attention to the roading and traffic problems from the Auckland Council.

For residents this is a top priority and our rates payments should be reflecting input from the council in this area.

It is beyond belief that the extra parking for the Silverdale bus station would also be deferred.

If the council wants traffic off the roads then this also should be a priority.

Thanks must go to the efforts of the developers of Fairway Bay for their assistance in getting the council to realise the necessity to improve the Gulf Harbour ferry service.

Perhaps subsidies could be given to regular commuters who have switched from roading to avail of this service.

So, on the one hand we read of cuts to necessary improvements in roading for the peninsula, then read the new council computer system has a blowout of up to $100 million.

I would suggest a Hibiscus Coast resident puts up his or her hand for the mayoral race very early.

We can all get behind the campaign and bring responsible governing for our region and Auckland as a whole.

More accountability has to be given for actions by the new super-city councillors and mayor.

We didn’t ask for this nor deserve to be swept under the carpet either.

See original article

Chinese billionaire Jiang Zhaobai, insert, is the new owner of the Hilton Hotel in Queenstown.

A Chinese billionaire behind the controversial buy-up of the Crafar dairy farms and Lochinver Station says New Zealanders have nothing to fear from his investments in the country.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Timesat a function in Queenstown yesterday, Shanghai Pengxin Group chairman Jiang Zhaobai said buying land was not his primary purpose, but only a means of producing high quality agricultural goods for export to China.

His companies would invest much more in improving the land than buying the land.

“Because of that investment, we can promote the agriculture industry, and bring more benefits to the farmers here.”
As well as buying the dairy farms and Lochinver Station, near Taupo, Shanghai Pengxin is the majority owner of dairy farm-owning company Synlait Farms. Another of Mr Jiang’s companies is behind a $550 million redevelopment plan for Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Accompanied by about 50 entrepreneurs from Shanghai, Mr Jiang was the guest of honour yesterday at a function to welcome him as new owner of the Hilton Queenstown.

Among the guests were Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden and many resort business and tourism leaders.

Mr Jiang said he chose to invest in New Zealand because it had a “very sound and transparent” business environment, and was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with China.

He saw himself as a “promoter and ambassador” for New Zealand in China and hoped New Zealanders would become more accepting of investment by Chinese companies.

“Ultimately, together we can create a win-win outcome for everyone.”

He had visited Queenstown many times.

“Queenstown is such a beautiful city and I want to get away from busy work as much as I can.”

See original article

Nov. 05 / 2014

Building boom: Mayor Len Brown pours concrete at the Fairway Bay Development. Top Harbour chief executive Sean Pan helps while Fairway Bay Development consultant Michael Webb-Speight, centre rear, is ready to step in if required.

A $100 billion national building boom is forecast during the next three years.

That includes developments throughout Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast.

It’s the biggest in decades, with a minimum 10 per cent increase in activity every year to 2017, reaching a value of $35 billion, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says. ‘‘We are looking at the longest sustained period of growth in construction activity in 40 years.’’ The latest findings in the second National Construction Pipeline report support similar projections made in the first in December.

The new report predicts slightly greater construction activity this year, and a lower peak in 2017 with the boom peaking later in Auckland in 2018.

‘‘Auckland shows the highest level of construction activity, accounting for more than one-third of the upcoming workload in terms of value,’’ Smith says.

Residential building is the driver, with the value expected to more than double between 2012 and 2017.

Smith says this affirms the success of the Government’s Housing Accord with the Auckland Council, where thousands of homes will be built in the next few years.

Key development areas include Millwater/Silverdale, Gulf Harbour, HuapaiKumeu, Riverhead and Hobsonville Pt.

Latest Statistics New Zealand figures show strong annual growth in the number of building consents with 24,046 issued across the country in the year to September 2014. This is a sixyear high, and reflects an increase of 22 per cent on the same period last year, Smith says.

Auckland’s building consents rate are at an eightyear high, with 7320 consents issued in the year to September 2014 – 30 per cent more than the previous year.

The National Construction Pipeline provides national and regional forecasts of activity for residential and non-residential building and construction by central and local government, as well as the private sector.

BUILDERS HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Millwater marketing manager Warren Frogley: One of New Zealand’s largest residential developments will have more than 3000 dwellings completed by about 2019, a mix of medium to high density housing.

It has been the stimulus for the Silverdale Retail Centre expansion including The Warehouse, Countdown and 36 other shops.

Millwater has also been central to improved amenities, such as UFB fibre internet, increased water service, parks and sports grounds, and new or improved infrastructure such as the State Highway 1/Wainui Rd interchange, due for completion early next year.

GJ Gardner Homes operations director Mike Fraser: Builders and tradesmen will benefit from this projected escalation in building activity. The flow down affect to all the local businesses and communities will be substantial as well.

There may be some challenges in terms of the availability of resources and suitably skilled trades staff to complete this work. But what a great problem to have when you compare it to not having enough work.

All GJ Gardner franchises throughout Auckland are extremely busy but are working to cope with this growing demand.

Cranston Homes managing director Blair Cranston: Predictions of increased activity need to be tempered with the construction industry’s ability and capability to produce at those increased levels. We are already confronted with a severe manpower and skills shortage. This shortage is harming productivity because construction firms are unable to start projects quickly and complete them in a timely manner.

Land availability will continue to be a challenge, and increasing costs to produce sections will drive prices up.

I have a deep concern that the residential sector is steadily pricing itself out of reach of our next generation of house buyers.

Fairway Bay project consultant Michael WebbSpeight: On the Whangaparaoa Peninsula there are 1000 homes being built in Fairway Bay and another 1000 homes between there and Red Beach. Constraints in the supply chain affecting timeframes and costs have already been noticed. We are seeing delays at key points. Engineering seems to have been an issue over the last six months, with up to six weeks taken to process relatively simple floor slab designs.

Shortages in key trades will undoubtedly cause issues within building projects. Fairway Bay has more than 30 homes in design or construction, and it will be eight months before some of those homes will be ready for families. Those purchasers buying now will have the benefit of avoiding the price increases that inevitably come with resource constraints.

Certified Builders Association Auckland board of directors’ Dave Whitehead: Now is the perfect time for young people to get into the industry. The changing landscape due to licensing and new contract laws require a new level of professionalism and organisation which, as an association, we happily embrace.

The boom and bust cycle continues to worry those in the industry but it is good to see the government is aware of this and endeavouring to overcome it.

It is important mistakes from the past are not repeated and that every build is a quality build. To achieve this it is important that we have trade qualified carpenters with the appropriate contracts, and guarantees/warranties/ insurances in place.

See original article

Singing sensations – Kiwi band Titanium performs at Gulf Harbour during the Wish House Street PartyKnock out The Bumper Balls were a big hit

DESPITE pouring rain, the Wish House Street Party went full steam ahead.

There was plenty of action packed into Pinecrest Drive, Fairway Bay, on Saturday afternoon with the World’s Tallest Inflatable Slide, entertainment, bouncy castles, games, face painting and food vendors.

The road had been closed for the party, ensuring it would be a safe family event.

Kiwi band Titanium signed autographs and belted out new single, Take Us Back to the 250 strong crowd.

The party celebrated the Wish House, a collaborative charity drive involving Barfoot& Thompson, GJ Gardner Homes NZ and Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour. The project has seen a house built in Fairway Bay by GJ Gardner.

The three bedroom home will be auctioned on November 8 by Barfoot& Thompson, with profits going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The proceeds will provide ‘‘a whole lot of wishes’’ for children with lifethreatening illnesses, MakeA-Wish chief executive Shane Gorst says.

“This house really is quite special,” GJ Gardner Rodney franchise owner Elaine Morley says.

“Not only will it raise important funds for an amazing charity, at the same time it will provide a family with a beautiful home.” Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the North Harbour News, is a supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation NZ.

See original article

Boy band: Titanium will be at the Wish House Street Party in Gulf Harbour on Saturday.

Six-member boy band Titanium sing their new single Take Us Back and sign autographs on Saturday at a free Wish House Street Party in Gulf Harbour.

The party from 3pm to 6pm at 89 Pinecrest Drive, Fairway Bay, has the street closed off for the family event which promotes the coming auction of a home for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The three double bedroom GJ Gardner home will be auctioned on November 8 by Barfoot& Thompson.

All sale profits go to the foundation to help make wishes come true for Kiwi children like Shakur van HofReid, 13, who officially opened the new home. Shakur, who has a form of Down syndrome called Trisomy 21 with a complex cardiac condition, was able to meet his favourite character SpongeBob SquarePants in Australia this year through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Other features at the street party include the World’s Tallest Inflatable Slide, the Sticky TV crew, entertainment, awesome prizes, bouncy castles, games, face painting, food vendors and more.

Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the Rodney Times, is a supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

See original article

Sep. 25 / 2014

Firstly, it is with some concern I read Michael WebbSpeight’s diatribe for the third week running grandstanding the benefits of Penlink.

Fancy that, he is a project consultant to Fairway Bay subdivision. Profit-driven do you think? How is it a local business interest can essentially advertise and push their barrow in letters to the editor? Secondly, I take offence to his suggestion that he is expounding the views of most on the peninsula. Not only is he a project consultant but also a mind reader.

I’ve heard Kawau is nice, Michael. How about subdividing that then ask for another bridge? I see through your veil of local concern.

Seriously. Michael Webb-Speight replies: Firstly, I take exception to the suggestion there is a veil involved.

I thought I had been clear on that from the start. We, as in Fairway Bay, have a clearly vested interest in advancing the Penlink project. This is a commercial venture – and hopefully there is profit involved.

The really nice thing is that our commercial interests happen to align with those of the community on the peninsula. Penlink will improve connectivity to Auckland, will reduce congestion at Silverdale, and increase property values.

That would be everyone’s property values, not just ours.

Secondly, I claim to expound the views of the majority because I have asked them about it. We received 1491 responses to our survey on Penlink earlier this year, with over 93 per cent supporting Penlink. This number of respondents represents 6.2 per cent of the usually resident population, or perhaps more significantly, 12.9 per cent of all households on the peninsula. That is a very large sample by any definition. I don’t think it’s mind reading – I think it is maths.

Finally, I’ve been to Kawau Island many times. It is one of my favourite places in the Hauraki Gulf, and I will continue to enjoy the trip by boat.

Fairway Bay is working with the Auckland Council to try and find a way to advance the Penlink project. We are doing this for the same reason that we invested a year into increasing the ferry services to Gulf Harbour. It makes good commercial sense. Like the ferry, we understand that Penlink is also in the interests of the wider community, which we see as a good thing.

So there you have it – no veils, cloaks or even mist.

In the immortal words of Flight of the Conchords – ‘‘it’s business time’’.

And you know I’m down to my socks when I tell you that it’s really time to get involved in the debate around Penlink.

The Auckland Council spent a year putting together a business case for Penlink.

I couldn’t believe it in March last year when they told me it would take until mid-2014 before the business case would be done. I suggested that by then (so far in the future as it was at the time) the information would be completely out of date.

When I told Rodney MP Mark Mitchell about that he agreed.

‘‘Ridiculous,’’ he said. Mark made a few calls, waved his magic wand, and lo and behold the business case was produced in November.

Brilliant.

Trouble is – no-one has yet seen it. Here we are almost a year later and there is no sign that Auckland Transport (AT) is ready to release the business case.

I wrote to Lester Levy and asked to speak to the AT board back in June. I’d been outraged at the lack of attention paid to our elected representatives at the previous meeting.

Accordingly, in front of the assembled board, I echoed the words of Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt, and called for the release of the business case. Levy said at that time that they were considering it, but there was a process involved.

Still waiting, we are.

Councillor John Watson called and said that there appears to be no money in any capital works budgets for Penlink any time soon. He also told me that he understood AT was now amenable to the release of the business case.

I’m interested in that because it might provide sufficient information for private investment to get involved in the funding and under the current hiatus council may be open to looking at alternative models.
Watson was suggesting the current time frame we can look forward to might be something like 2025.

Bollocks, I say.

I’m pretty confident that I reflect the views of most on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula when I say that it doesn’t matter how it’s funded, and I don’t care what the model is.

I don’t care how many lanes or what the toll scenario is, so long as the bridge gets built.
– Michael Webb-Speight is the project consultant for Fairway Bay, a Gulf Harbour residential subdivision

See original article

Hearings on the Council’s proposed Unitary Plan are underway and among the submissions that will be considered by the Panel are several that involve local developments.

A number of companies, including Top Harbour, Highgate Business Park, WFH Properties and Kensington Park Holdings, have asked for significant changes to the various plans and rules that Council has proposed.

Both Millwater developer WFH Properties and Highgate Business Park in Silverdale North are seeking to amend staging requirements, which are generally put in place as part of resource consent to ensure infrastructure keeps pace with development. In Highgate Business Park, staging provisions refer specifically to restrictions prior to the construction of Penlink or the widening of Whangaparaoa Rd.

Among its submissions, Kensington Park Holdings has asked that Council not apply a dwelling cap to its Orewa subdivision – the cap was proposed in order “to ensure that development does not exceed infrastructure capacity and maintains the spacious character of the precinct”.

Density caps are also an issue in Gulf Harbour, where a maximum of 2913 dwellings is allowed. The latest census data shows that there are 936 occupied and 102 unoccupied dwellings in Gulf Harbour – a total of 1038.

The former Rodney District Council put the Gulf Harbour density cap in place with the aim of ensuring high quality development within infrastructure constraints but Top Harbour, developer of Hobbs Wharf and Fairway Bay, is seeking its removal via its submission to the proposed Unitary Plan.

At present Top Harbour is limited to its approved Masterplan of 1000 housing units.

Top Harbour development consultant Michael Webb Speight says that the cap is unworkable because it affects all land in Gulf Harbour, including sites yet to be developed. He says currently the number of dwellings is allocated to developers on “a first come, first served basis” and the concern is that land that is “last off the blocks” may end up unable to be developed if the cap has been reached.

“While the cap is expressed in the Unitary Plan as being necessary because of infrastructure capacities in the
area, such a cap does not apply anywhere else in Auckland,” Mr Webb Speight says. “Top Harbour is aware that infrastructure issues exist and is currently working with Watercare Services on wastewater capacity. “This isn’t an unusual situation – developers often have to address such constraints with improvement of public infrastructure.”

Albany Ward Councillor Wayne Walker says it is of immense concern that various developers are seeking to loosen restrictions that have been put in place for good reason.

He says the Gulf Harbour density cap was quite far-sighted in that it took into account an eventual fast ferry link with Auckland.

However he says what it did not allow for is the further intensification of development on Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which he says is reason enough for keeping the cap in place.

See original article

Sep. 11 / 2014

The old saying about a week being a long time in politics is very true.

It seems like forever since ‘that book’ was published, amid much excitement among certain sectors of the media. Now it’s old news and the PM wants to move on.

You would have to wonder why anyone would be a politician. In her former life Judith Collins was a lawyer – a very good one.

Her clients valued her frank opinion and forthright way of dealing with issues.

I’ve been thinking we could do with someone with those skills on the Penlink front.

A champion.An advocate.

Someone who could really front the project in the world of politics. In search of that person I’ve been talking to the politicians in the Rodney electorate over the past couple of weeks.

The biggest surprise was a meeting at the Conservative Party’s head office. Straight down to business – despite me being half an hour late. Wish I had thought to blame it on the traffic at Silverdale.

‘‘Colin Craig is fully behind Penlink, and always has been,’’ chief executive officer Christine Rankin says.

I’d gone in there thinking I’d need to be careful around those famous earrings from years past.

Nothing.Naked lobes. With that she whipped out a pamphlet from three years ago with a younger, friendly looking Colin Craig pushing the Penlink campaign.

It left me thinking that there is merit in this idea. Let’s see which of the politicians in Rodney will promise to push Penlink if they form part of the next government.

The election isn’t far away and I reckon this is the ideal time to raise it as something of an issue.

Still, it will need your help. Yes, you guys – the 44.8 per cent who spend hours every weekday in long lines of traffic getting on and off the Whangaparaoa Rd.

‘‘What can I do?’’ you say.
‘‘Shout,’’ I say in reply. Shout a lot. Loudly.

Virtual shouting is pretty easy – go on line and email your favourite candidate. Go on Facebook and ‘‘like’’ stuff. Email the editor, call up Radio Live.

Seems to me that one thing we have learned over the last few weeks in the parallel world of politics, is it doesn’t have to be much to make a significant change.

We just need the words to be said by the right people to the right people.

That first lot of right people are you – the driving public living on the peninsula.

Now is the time to stand up and shout about this bridge.

– Michael Webb-Speight is the project consultant for Fairway Bay, a Gulf Harbour residential subdivision

See original article

A strange thing happened yesterday. Fairway Bay chief executive officer Sean Pan told me that he is very encouraged by recent meetings regarding the Penlink project.

This is new and different.

Normally when I raise the topic of Penlink with Whangaparaoa Peninsula residents there is an involuntary response involving the rolling of eyes –with occasional gnashing of teeth.

In my role in the development of the land at Top Harbour, I’ve sat with Pan in a number of meetings on the subject over the last two weeks.

I’m inclined to feel encouraged about this – it has taken over a year to get some of those meetings, and all of a sudden there seems to be a willingness to discuss the matter.

As has been the case for many years with this project, rumours abound about progress or lack of it.
Fairway Bay has been in the fortunate position to receive some quality updates from a number of people who we think know what the story is.

At a meeting of the Auckland Transport Board in June I made a presentation that suggested the timing for a step forward is now.

We can clearly show that there is an explosion of growth on the peninsula – which is occurring now.

What this growth needs to move forward is the infrastructure to support it. The key part of this infrastructure is the alternative access offered by Penlink. This is well supported by traffic modelling data and by that all important field of public opinion.

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell has suggested the same thing. Rodney is absorbing a huge percentage of Auckland’s residential growth and needs the infrastructure.

That’s a really good start – and I’ve been assured from a number of fronts that central government is supportive. We need that support to translate into action.

What we learned at Fairway Bay in the ferry services campaign is that if we create a positive conversation about how things could happen, it opens pathways that can lead to great outcomes.

Penlink deserves your attention now.

Michael Webb-Speight is the project consultant for Fairway Bay, a Gulf Harbour residential subdivision.

See original article

With Mark Mitchell, Rodney MP

Last year at a meeting in my office with Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton, and NZTA representatives, an agreement was reached to update the Penlink business model. The reason for this request was that I felt the old business model was outdated and did not make a compelling case for private investment.

The new report was completed late last year, and I waited for it to be reported on, back through our local government representatives. When the report had still not been made available by June, I requested a briefing from Auckland Transport on the new findings. I was confident that, with the growth we had experienced in Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast over the last 24 months, combined with future growth projections, the case would clearly be made to bring the projected start date for Penlink forward.

It quickly became apparent at the briefing that this was not the case, and in fact indications were that Penlink’s start date was in risk of being pushed back.

The Mayor and I met in my office last month to discuss this.

In this meeting I requested that if there were to be deferral of any capital intensive projects, then it should be the Central Rail Link that is deferred, and not projects like Penlink.

I have spoken with our Local Government representatives and Councillors Penny Webster and John Watson, Local Board Chair Julia Parfitt, Deputy Chair Greg Sayers and Board member Janet Fitzgerald, who are supportive of this position.

I continue to work at both central and local government level to seek a positive result for us.

One thing I can assure you of, is that my position will not change over the fact that Penlink must be prioritised over the City Rail Link.

I acknowledge that the City Rail Link is seen as an integral part of an efficient public transport system for Auckland, but not at the expense of other critical regional investments such as Penlink.

Caption: Celebrating the increase in local ferry services are, from left, AT’s ferry senior account manager, Christine Mudford with Andrea Bevan and Michael Webb-Speight of Fairway Bay.

This week saw the launch of a new timetable for the Gulf Harbour ferry, with daily sailings in and out of Auckland city increasing from four to 12, starting on July 28.

While the new ferry sailings are not a trial, Auckland Transport has made it clear that patronage will be monitored and adjusted according to demand. It will undertake a full review after 12 months, at which time it is possible that sailings could be altered to reflect demand.

Among the residents expected to greet the new sailings with enthusiasm are Gold Card holders, who can travel free on the service after 9am. However, Hibiscus & Bays Local Board members are keen to see large numbers of residents use the service in order to secure its future. Obtaining those additional sailings has required lobbying and lengthy negotiations, as well as investment by Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour.

Parking is a key concern, with chair Julia Parfitt saying that it would be a shame to see the new service throttled by a lack of parking. Parking at the Hammerhead alongside the 360 Discovery terminal is limited and the car park is also popular with campervan travellers especially in summer. The local board has asked Auckland Transport to investigate this issue further.

Consultation on the new ferry timetable drew around 1000 responses – a total of 76 percent indicated they would use the ferry more than they do now. People also asked for weekend ferry sailings and carpooling options, as well as connecting buses.

AT will look at ways to facilitate carpooling for ferry users in the coming months. It says weekend sailings are not an option at present.

Currently the only bus connection is the 999 from Army Bay to Orewa, which meets the 5.30pm sailing, and this is likely to be the case for at least five months – a trial bus service to connect with the ferry from Whangaparaoa Plaza is part of the new network that is being consulted on at present, and that is unlikely to be implemented until early to mid-2015.

See original article

A new Marina Construction has begun at Fairway Bay, Gulf Harbour and will see 44 new Marina berths big enough to hold large international cruising boats.

The Marina construction is the first phase of what will become the new Town Centre for Fairway Bay, in the location where the Hobbs Wharf market currently takes place.

Consultant for the developer of Fairway Bay, Michael Webb-Speight is looking forward to filling a gap in the cruising community. “ We’re excited to provide a new home in the pacific for cruising boats of up to 20 metres coming down out of the cyclone season area. We envisage that boats from all around the world will base themselves here over summer and create activity in our water space.”

With the recently announced increase in Ferrys between the City and Gulf Harbour, it is expected that the cruising community will embrace the clean clear environment of Gulf Harbour and it’s convenience to Auckland City commuting by Ferry.

Auckland commuters using the ferry service to and from Gulf Harbour will soon have more choice.

Daily sailings are being boosted from four to 12 following public consultation – that’s six in each direction.
They’ll start on July 28th.

Auckland Transport says the afternoon sailings from Auckland will be 15 minutes later, after feedback the 4.30pm service was too early.

Spokesman Mark Lambert says Auckland Transport will be monitoring the new timetable to make sure the services are performing and meeting the needs of people using the ferries.

He says the consultation also shows people want connecting bus services, ferries on the weekend, cycling options to the ferry terminal and support for carpooling.

Mr Lambert says the bus connections are being looked at as part of the Hibiscus Coast New Network bus consultation that is currently underway.

See original article

Ferry services to and from Gulf Harbour are to be boosted with the number of daily sailings going from four to 12.

The new timetable will start on 28 July 2014 and follows public consultation in June. That consultation saw 1000 responses about the proposed new timetable.

As a result the number of services will go to 12 a day and the afternoon sailings from Auckland will be 15 minutes later, the feedback was that the 4.30pm service was too early.

Auckland Transport Group Manager Public Transport, Mark Lambert says the response rate to the consultation was very pleasing and indicates the high level of community interest in the ferry service. “It is only with this level of feedback that Auckland Transport can truly know what people need from public transport services, and then we can assess how best to meet those expectations.”

There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the increased number of sailings and 76% of respondents indicated they would use the ferry more than they do now.

Auckland Transport will be monitoring the new timetable to make sure the services are performing and meeting the needs of people using the ferries.

The consultation also shows people want connecting bus services, ferries on the weekend, cycling options to the ferry terminal and support for carpooling. Mr Lambert says the bus connections are being looked at as part of the Hibiscus Coast New Network bus consultation that is currently underway.

Fairway Bay CEO Sean Pan says “We are delighted to be working with Auckland Transport to provide improved ferry connections between Gulf Harbour and the city. We have already seen an increase in enquiries from CBD office workers, who can see the value and lifestyle benefits of coastal living combined with the pleasure of travelling to work by ferry.”

360 Discovery Cruises Manager James Bailey says “After many years of transporting commuters to/from Auckland and Gulf Harbour, we are thrilled to be involved with providing an all-day commuter service to our customers. With the valued feedback from our passengers and working closely with Auckland Transport and Fairway Bay, an all-day service is now a reality. We’re looking forward to the expected growth of the Gulf Harbour area along with the growth of the ferry services.”

More information about the new timetable and fares can be found on www.at.govt.nz/gulfharbourferry

The number of daily sailings to and from Gulf Harbour will tripling to keep up with demand in a growing area of Auckland.

Daily sailings to and from Gulf Harbour on Auckland’s North Shore will increase from four to 12.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said there was clear demand from a group of people who had been under-provided for.

There were a thoursand responses from Aucklanders following a public consultation on the new timetable last month.
Ferry rates would stay the same following the implementation of the new timetable, Hannan said.

“This is basically about getting bums on seats.”

He would not say how much it had cost council-owned Auckland Transport to implement the further sailings but did say the Gulf Harbour service was run by private operators and subsidised by Auckland Transport.

If there was not the demand for the additional sailings once they took effect the timetable would be reviewed, he said.

Auckland Transport group manager of public transport Mark Lambert said the response rate to the consultation was pleasing and indicated the high level of community interest in the ferry service.

There was an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the increased number of sailings and 76 per cent of respondents said they would use the ferry more than they did now, Lambert said.

The consultation also showed Aucklanders wanted connecting bus services, ferries on the weekend, cycling options to the ferry terminal and support for carpooling, he said.

Auckland Transport was looking at bus connections at as part of the Hibiscus Coast New Network bus consultation that was currently underway.

The new Gulf Harbour ferry timetable would take effect on July 28.

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Jun. 19 / 2014

■ Gulf Harbour’s 1000-home Fairway Bay development is already preparing for the release of its second stage, with stage one almost sold out.

The first nine houses are now under construction.

Stage one included a combination of some lot and house and land packages ranging from $400,000 to $870,000.

Around 31 of the 37 sites are sold with stage two coming to the market in the next few months.

Fairway Bay will include a range of homes from big properties, to town houses, apartments and retirement living.

A swimming pool, tennis court and pavilion are also on the books.

A separate section of the development called The Point, which includes 28 high-value lots of land between $750,000 and $1.5 million, is almost complete.

In September, work will start on the third stage of Fairway Bay, called Marina View, with 39 lots being prepared.

Finished house and land packages will be priced around $599,000 and be on the market in June next year.

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Jun. 19 / 2014

Building boom IT’S BOOM time.

Thousands of homes along with town centres and other facilities are coming on stream during the next few years.

Major developments worth millions happening around Kumeu-Huapai, Riverhead, Silverdale and Millwater, Orewa, Gulf Harbour and Warkworth will bring tens of thousands of residents to Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast.

New townships or town centres are under way at the nearby Westgate expansion in Massey North and Hobsonville, plus Millwater and Warkworth.

Supermarkets have opened or are planned, and retirement villages are expanding too.

Infrastructure such as roads, water, sewerage, gas and fibre optics are either in place or being developed for growth areas.

The developments will bring more pressure on roads, schools and some other facilities.

Several ratepayer and business representative groups are already voicing concern about increased traffic congestion and the lack of public transport.

The largest residential development in the area, Millwater, will house more than 10,000 residents with around 3500 homes planned.

Whangaparaoa and other parts of the Hibiscus Coast have pockets of development that will fulfil current demand in the area, because issues like roading, Penlink, and the lack of public transport have held growth back, Millwater marketing manager Warren Frogley says.

“We all know Hibiscus Coast is a magic spot, but even though the secret is out, people aren’t coming here in their droves yet. The traffic flow needs to be dealt with.” The upside to the growth is more jobs, from construction through to service industries and the many spin-offs such growth brings.

Sections in many of the new areas are in the $400,000-plus range, yet interest is keen with residential lots selling before earthworks are completed.

House and land packages start at $599,000.

More than half of the lots available have already sold on subdivisions around the Kumeu-Huapai and Riverhead area, for instance.

Much of the land was previously rural, orchards in many cases, with other uses including various horticultural activities, farming, equestrian and lifestyle blocks.

Interest and demand are huge, developers say. One attraction in the KumeuHuapai to Riverhead area is the closeness to Auckland city and the nearly completed western ring route motorway system linking the North Shore with West and South Auckland.

Technology is also allowing more people to work from home.

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell says Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast have the land and ability to absorb the growth Auckland is experiencing.

“It’s a beautiful area to live in with so much available for people.” Mitchell says while the development is a positive sign, investment required for the needed infrastructure is also critical.

“Schools, health facilities, roading – everything that is needed to support the growth has to be developed and brought online in the right time. I want to see new businesses coming to the area, jobs created for people here so they don’t have to travel out of the community to get to work.” The speed of development is also improving with a focus both at central and local government to streamline the resource management act and cut red tape.

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