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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.


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

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.

See original article

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.

See original article

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.

See original article

Catching a ferry from Gulf Harbour to Auckland for work or study will become more appealing and practical with the number of sailings increasing to 12 a day.

People are invited to have a say on the proposed timetable for the extra sailings, which will increase at peak times and include two sailings in the middle of the day.

The increase comes after Fairway Bay developers in Gulf Harbour did a survey last year with results showing a demand for the service.

Auckland Transport wants to hear from both current and potential users if the sailing times would work for them, its public transport services manager Mark Lambert says.

Ferry operator 360 Discovery Cruises will hand out fliers for passengers and thousands of questionnaires will be mail-dropped over the next week.

A growth in passenger numbers has been noticed as the motorway system into Auckland is becoming increasingly congested, 360 Discovery Cruises manager James Bailey says.

“It’s only 50 minutes by ferry from Gulf Harbour to the city, which is a lot less than the driving time from many suburbs,” Bailey says.

The new timetable could start next month, subject to consultation.

Visit gulfharbourferry to view the proposed timetable and give feedback.

See original article

Good news for residents and visitors to Gulf Harbour, the number of ferry sailings each day between Gulf Harbour and Auckland is increasing to 12.

During peak times sailings will increase from two to three with another two sailings each way in the middle of the day, which should appeal to workers and students alike. There are now shopping and visiting options for those not needing to travel at peak times.

Auckland Transport wants the community to get involved and for people to have their say on the proposed timetable.

Auckland Transport Group Manager Public Transport Services, Mark Lambert says this draft timetable is the result of feedback AT has received about improving services to Gulf Harbour.

“It’s important to get behind these initiatives so that we can further improve public transport options for all Auckland residents.

“We want to hear from both current and potential users if these sailing times are right for them,” says Mr Lambert.

Fairway Bay Development consultant Michael Webb-Speight says “The survey we ran last year showed huge demand for increased ferry services. We are very keen for people to get involved and have their say. These additional sailings will make a huge difference to Whangaparaoa Peninsula commuters working in the CBD.”

As part of the process ferry operator 360 Discovery Cruises will be handing out information flyers to existing ferry passengers, and thousands of questionnaires will be mail dropped over the next week with the objective of canvassing both bus and car commuters.

360 Discovery Cruises Manager, James Bailey, says strong growth in passenger numbers has already been experienced due to increasing congestion on the motorway system. “It’s only 50 minutes by ferry from Gulf Harbour to the city, which is a lot less than the driving time from many suburbs.”

The new timetable could start next month subject to consultation.

Consultation closes Sunday 29 June. To view the proposed timetable and give feedback go online to

Auckland Transport media release

Dancing dragons, movie markets, mid winter Christmas, petting zoo, pirate parties……the list goes on.

If you’re looking for ways to fill in the upcoming winter weekends, look no further than the Hobbs Wharf Markets at Gulf Harbour, every Sunday from 10am to 2pm.

It’s well worth a Sunday trip to the Hobbs Wharf markets and cafe as the place is quickly becoming the heart of a developing new community.

Last year the market was closed during winter as the buildings were moved down to their current location next to the beach.

This year it’s all go, and cafe/ market manager Angela Gallagher is excited about the winter and says there is something for all ages.

The colourful new buildings look fantastic next to the water and boats, with a lovely outlook over the wharf on one side, and the beach on the other.

The exquisite site is now regularly used for weddings, and is suitable for other functions and events.

Every week at the market there is something new and different going on. You just need to reguarly check their website –, or to find out what’s happening.

The range of stalls is impressive, includes delicious foods like cheese and salmon, Pukeko bakery, chinese dumplings, hot donuts, and the cafe serves classic Kiwi favourites such as bacon butties and corn fritters.

There’s also a variety of arts and crafts, fruit and vegetables and clothing stalls.

As Angela, a mother of three, rightly says, if the children are entertained, the parents are happy.

The market takes place rain or shine, as the stalls are all under-cover. Dogs are also welcome.

Vegetables from the impressive vegetable garden are used for meals in the cafe kitchen and also sold in the vegetable stall.

Planning is well underway for the new marina berths right next to the market, so people can bring their boats, park up, indulge in a coffee and peruse the markets.

Angela has planned a range of activities and entertainment for the market, and says new stall-holders are always welcome.

The cafe is also open during the week from 9am to 5pm.

See original article

Commuters can expect better ferry services between Gulf Harbour and Auckland sooner rather than later, with the announcement last week that the final hurdle, obtaining funding, is almost over.

The improved service is expected to begin towards the end of this month, with Auckland Transport (AT) and Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour ready to sign an agreement at the end of last week. The cloak of commercial sensitivity has been drawn over the details of the developer’s investment in the ferry service.

Currently ferry operator 360 Discovery/Fullers provides four sailings per day (weekdays) in and out of Gulf Harbour, and no weekend service, but numerous surveys of passengers and residents show that there is demand for more frequent sailings.

Funding had been a stumbling block to increasing the number of sailings, with AT consistently saying it could not increase the amount by which it already subsidises the service, however the Government’s introduction of a public/ private framework for procuring bus and ferry services in 2012 smoothed the way for more private investment.

The idea of the framework was toreduce public subsidy levels by allowing greater investment – public or private –in public transport services.

Top Harbour has been involved in the process since last year as improved ferry services are in its commercial interests, as well as having the potential to reduce traffic congestion on Whangaparaoa Rd.

Top Harbour’s development consultant Michael Webb-Speight is bound by confidentiality agreements, but says his company has invested in the ferry service in order to promote its residential development as “a commuter suburb”.

360 Discovery Ferry services manager James Bailey says his company has put forward its business proposals and is being kept in the loop. The proposal is for an all-day timetable of around 12 sailings per weekday – increasing themorning and afternoon sailings from two to three and providing additional sailings during the day; the proposed start date is June 29. There is no provision for weekend ferry sailings.

The public will have the opportunity to submit feedback on the proposed timetable before final changes are implemented.

All services are monitored for patronage and further issues still to be ironed out are the amount of parking available on the Hammerhead and the need for bus services to connect with the ferry.

See original article

Moving into your own home should be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life.

Considering a house is probably the most valuable investment you will ever make – and a bad mistake could scar you for life – it’s highly recommended you do your homework and legwork before signing on the dotted line.

The two most common options for potential homeowners are buying or building new. For existing homeowners, renovating or extending your existing residence, or subdividing (subject to council approval) are the alternatives.

What you decide on should be based on your lifestyle, current and future requirements, budget, your borrowing capacity, stock availability, market conditions and of course the location.

Buying a home can be as simple as looking through the real estate pages of your local paper, shortlisting a few properties and finally making an offer or bid at auction. But we live in the real world where things don’t pan out as we expected. There is a lot toconsider.

“We have come a long way from 2007-08 when the market was crashing and people were afraid to get in or get out,” LJ Hooker sales manager Brett Norris says.

“The market is now moving, interest rates are likely to stay in single digits and first time buyers can still get in.”

According to Norris, the first thing buyers have to do is sit down with their broker or bank and find out how much they are able to finance.

“That will give you a realistic view of your buying power and you can then narrow down your search to neighbourhoods where your money gets mileage,” he says.

According to Fairway Bay Gulf Harbour development consultant Michael Webb-Speight, even if you have owned a house in Auckland for just five years, you should already have substantial equity.

“We are finding anyone with an average home in the inner suburbs can acquire a new house in a brand new suburb like Fairway Bay for less money than the equity in your existing home,” he says. “Moving from crowded inner suburbs to the outlying areas can translate into a better lifestyle for your family.”

Webb-Speight says in the current market, if you’re not a cash buyer, you may miss out to those who can settle immediately. Making the move to a new development can provide options for funding through the developer, which he says in many cases makes better sense.

Building your dream house offers several advantages in the long run.

When you build a home, you can have everything your way – from soft close cabinets in the kitchen to underfloor heating in the bathroom. Plus, structurally and design-wise the house will be unique.

Not only will the construction materials and building code be up to the latest safety standards, everything from wiring for highspeed internet to the latest acoustics can be added without much trouble.

There’s nothing quite like owning your brand new baby. Basically, you can create a home that reflects yourpersonality.

A house doesn’t have to be expensive to be unique. Ask around and avoid builders who are likely to give you an unrealistic estimate and then proceed to read you the fine print as construction progresses. Needless to say, such practices happen in the industry and can be traumatic for clients.

About half the cost of starting from scratch is the bare land – if you can find land in your desired area.

“Quality vacant land is hard to find,” Norris says. “Many of the available sections are already subdivided and you might find them too small to build a spacious and comfortable house.”

If you do find enough land in the sweet spot, there’s nothing like it. According to Norris, successful completion will depend on you finding a reliable and efficient project manager who can oversee everything from start to finish.

But beweare, the project manager or builder may not find your architect’s plans feasible in your budget.

While the price of land is beyond your control, you may have some leverage over building costs. According to the Department of Building and Housing’s calculator, an architecturally designed house with a floor area of 150 square metres costs on an average $298,000 to build in the Auckland area as of March 2014. At the same time, the estimated cost of a standard home is $196,650 – a tidy $100,000 difference.

Branded builders such as GJ Gardner or Jennian Homes provide a combination of architectural design and fixed price building.

Webb-Speight says GJ Gardner, who are building in Fairway Bay, have built more than 1000 homes in the Rodney District, and offerfast, efficient and cost effective solutions at a fixed price. In such cases, he says, there is often a margin for the client between their total costs and the end value of the completed home.

“A notable feature for build finance is that you can go to 90 per cent borrowing on the completed land and build package,” Senior Fellow, Financial Services Institute of Australasia Allistar Walker says.

The finance bit is usually crucial to the operation.

“A lender doesn’t want you to run out of money during the project as it jeopardises their security but at the same time they want you to keep the lid on your costs to within your debt servicing capabilities,” Walker says.

“A good broker will help you through this process, so you don’t overcook the situation, utilise the most appropriate lender, give you pointers as well as co-ordinate issues like insurance, progressive payments, stage valuations etc to make the dream a reality, rather than a nightmare.”

Another option is renovation or expansion.

Think how you feel when you rearrange the furniture in your house – does it make you feel good? If yes, then go ahead because a complete renovation will make your house look, feel and smell new – inside and out.

A major renovation can also add substantial value to your property but remember where you live makes a huge difference. Spending $100,000 on renovating in a prime coastal location makes a whole lot more sense than spending the same amount in the ‘burbs.

You also have to ask yourself if pouring cash into your current house will extend the life of the dwelling.

Before mulling this option you have to have that extra space in your section to make expansion or extension possible. Will extending that deck or adding a fourth bedroom make a mess of your courtyard or garden? Will the tradeoff of more space inside for less outside make your family happy?

It also pays to consider this – do you love your current neighbourhood – and neighbours? If the answer’s yes, then spend your money on your existing house. If the answer’s no, then think carefully.

If you tick all these boxes, then instead of making the big move, you could make the big improve.

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