Over the last two days, we have been hosts to the Royal New Zealand Navy as they have used the facilities at the Hobbs Wharf and Gulf Harbour to undertake training exercises. Lieutenant Wesley Moir and his team of divers appreciated the opportunity to train in these waters and these photos show the range of activities they undertook.
DoC staffer goes the extra mile to return document to anxious tourist.
Spanish woman Montserrat Sureda, 33, realised just three hours before check in for her flight back to Europe that she’d left her passport on TiritiriMatangi island.
A DoC ranger on a paddleboard, a family in a speedboat, and a shuttle van from Gulf Harbour were used to deliver a passport to a Spanish woman just minutes before her international flight’s check-in was due to close.
It was about 6pm when sole charge TiritiriMatangiisland Department of Conservation ranger Matthew Mold got a call from the distressed tourist.
Montserrat Sureda, 33, had left her passport on the island – and was due to fly out to Europe at 11pm.
She was calling from her hostel in Auckland CBD.
“My hands were shaking when trying to find the phone number for Tiritiri on my phone,” Ms Sureda said.
It was Monday, February 12 – Waitangi Day was being observed, and the last ferry had left the island at 3.30pm. The next one was on the following Wednesday, and Mr Mold was without access to a boat.
“The lady was really distressed – she said surely I could get it to her somehow,” he said.
After finding the passport, the ranger – who had worked less than a month in the island – dashed down to the nearest bay to see if there was anyone around.
“I noticed there were some yachts about 300m away, so I paddled out to see if any of them were going back to the city – but they were all sailing boats and none of them would have been able to get there in time.”
Then he spotted a family fishing from a fibreglass speed boat. He paddled over and found they were willing to ferry the passport to Gulf Harbour.
Mr Mold then raced back to shore, jumped online and found an airport shuttle company in the area.
After explaining the situation to a staff member, a van was sent to pick the passport up from the wharf.
It was delivered for $160 to a very relieved Ms Sureda at Auckland Airport just 10 minutes before check-in was due to close at 9pm.
She messaged Mr Mold to say thank you:
“I’m at the gate waiting to board. I just thought I could not leave without sending you a few words to say that I’m fine and will be able to go back home. Many, many thanks. I will never be able to give you the favour back, but I am immensely thankful,” she wrote.
“I was actually pretty rapt when I got the message from her – I felt pretty chuffed,” Mr Mold said.
Back in Europe, Ms Sureda said without his help, she would have lost her ticket.
“I would have had to buy a new one, which meant of course a lot of money, time and more anxiety.
“That evening my partner would have had to fly home on his own and I would have stayed in Auckland.
“I’m immensely grateful to Matthew.”
Though she would not be able to return the favour personally, she said she would keep Mr Mold’s reply to her message of thanks in mind: “If you ever get the chance, pay it forward to someone who needs it,” he said.
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Subdivision of the land known as The Hammerhead at the tip of Gulf Harbour Marina will take place, following a High Court decision in 2009 and recent resource consent application, but how this may affect public access to the area, which includes a popular boat ramp and the Gulf Harbour ferry terminal, is causing concern.
Local councillors Wayne Walker and John Watson, as well as the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board are united in their desire to ensure public access (including vehicular access) is guaranteed once the subdivision takes place.
Subdivision of the land was attempted by the former Rodney District Council in 2009 (see box) but Cr John Watson says that the big difference this time around is that the land has become indispensable as a transport hub.
Public investment in the boat ramp and ferry terminal has been considerable, and includes building a breakwater.
The local board has spent more than $100,000 on safety works there in the last year alone.
In addition, Hobbs Wharf developer Top Harbour has invested heavily in ferry service improvements that have seen use of the facility, and demand for parking, soar.
The resource consent application, which was publicly notified just before Christmas, states that no esplanade reserve (also known as Queen’s Chain) should be provided around the edge of the subdivision. The provision of an esplanade reserve is triggered by a subdivision to ensure public access, but Council has asked that it be waived.
The application says that such a strip is “likely to be of little value to the public” and is beyond the capacity of Council to fund.
Local board chair Julia Parfitt and member Janet Fitzgerald describe the possible access restrictions that may result as “alarming”.
“Potentially, without the strip, access to the boat ramp, parking and ferry terminal could be affected,” Mrs Parfitt says.
“You only have to look at how much use that area has been getting this summer to see how important this is,” Mrs Fitzgerald says.
Top Harbour development consultant Michael Webb-Speight says Top Harbour, which has invested in ferry service improvements, will make a submission. “We are a stakeholder in the ferry service and want to be reassured that any development will include provision for the future of that vital service,” Mr Webb-Speight says.
Gulf Harbour Investments, the lessee of the land, is required to use or develop the site in accordance with the conditions of a 1985 Development Licence which allows for two commercial buildings, a heli-pad and parking.
Mrs Fitzgerald and Mrs Parfitt’s investigations show that Gulf Harbour Investments made submissions to the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan that include repeated mention of the need for more density of urban development close to public transport routes and facilities.
Gulf Harbour Investments business and finance manager Cathryn Downs says the company “fully supports the application for the sub-division of 1346 Laurie Southwick Parade, Hobbs Bay, commonly known as the Hammerhead”.
“GHIL has been working with Council entities since 2005 to see the obligations of the development licence fulfilled.
A decision as to the use of the land is not currently confirmed,” she says.
The Hammerhead – current situation:
• Auckland Council owns the Hammerhead, just over 3ha of reclaimed land at the tip of Gulf Harbour Marina.
• A 1985 Development Licence gives Gulf Harbour Investments Ltd (GHIL) the right to lease lots on the Hammerhead.
• The Minister of Crown Lands has stated that the Hammerhead is to remain largely a reserve as compensation for loss of Hobbs Bay during construction of the Gulf Harbour Marina in the 1980s. An Act of Parliament guarantees public access to the area (except for buildings). It can only be used for ‘boat harbour’ purposes.
• In 2009 a High Court decision required Council to subdivide the land into three lots and lease to GHIL, if requested, with any development to be in accordance with Plan GHM2. This shows the Hammerhead largely as it is currently used, except for a 600sqm site labelled “proposed commercial building site”.
• GHIL has to pay rent once the land is subdivided and leases issued.
• Rodney District Council applied for subdivision in 2009 but it was put on hold.
• After receiving confirmation that GHIL wanted to proceed with the subdivision, Council CCO Panuku Development Auckland was legally required to reapply for consent, which it did at the end of last year.
Have your say
A public meeting has been organised by Crs Wayne Walker and John Watson to provide information about the issue and how to make submissions. This will be held on Tuesday, February 9 at the Gulf Harbour Yacht Club at 7pm.
Submissions on the resource consent application close on February 19, 5pm. The documents can be found, and submissions made, at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz under Publicly Notified Consents. The details and submission forms will also be at local libraries.
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Work going on behind the scenes to push the building of the Penlink Road is beginning to bear fruit, with local board members and developers involved saying there is a significant shift in attitude among the powers that be – including Government and Auckland Transport (AT).
Currently, the building of the road between Whangaparaoa and Redvale has been deferred, with no public investment before 2025-45.
Hibiscus & Bays Local board chair Julia Parfitt and member Janet Fitzgerald, and Top Harbour’s development consultant Michael Webb-Speight are among those working with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce to get Penlink funded and built sooner.
Mrs Fitzgerald says that Auckland Transport is looking at how the Build Own Operate and Transfer model (BOOT) could work for Penlink.
A BOOT is a form of Public Private Partnership that does not require public funding. Ownership of the project extends over a considerable length of time (49 years has been suggested here) so that the company can make a profit on its investment by tolling the road before handing it over to public ownership.
Mrs Fitzgerald says that interest in a BOOT means that the working party set up by the Chamber could produce a proposal for AT.
Mr Webb-Speight says he has also seen a “significant change in position” regarding Penlink on the part of central and local Government, and AT.
He says a BOOT, which he thinks would be a first for this type of infrastructure in NZ, is favoured by companies such as China State Construction, which has previously shown interest in Penlink.
He says that a major construction company could potentially build Penlink as a two-lane road, which is more financially viable, with the designation protected that would enable two more lanes to be built in due course. The four-lane route has been protected, and is estimated to cost $387.8 million.
Last week it was revealed that a high level meeting will soon take place between AT and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce with Penlink on the agenda.
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A home with a sea view is a dream for many Kiwis, but what if you could actually live in a house on the water?
An Auckland developer is building the country’s first-ever floating homes, and there has been plenty of interest.
“As far as I’m aware it’s the first in New Zealand,” says Fairway Bay development consultant Michael Webb-Speight. “But it’s not an uncommon thing overseas to have people living in house boats or floating houses.”
The stretch of Gulf Harbour in north Auckland will soon be home to 20 of them.
Building begins in April, and the homes will literally be floating on water.
“Sleeping on the water, for me it’s a wonderful experience,” says Mr Webb-Speight. “Get up, get out of bed, jump off the side.”
Jumping on board are last year’s winners of The Block, Alex and Corban Walls, who will be project managing and designing the interior of the homes.
“I like to choose projects that are out-of-the-box – you know, the ones that inspire you to get out of bed in the morning,” says Mr Walls. “I look at this one and I just think this is so cool.”
The site was originally a paddock – the developer has already had the title before the marina was created, so they own the seabed.
In terms of size, each floating house will be about 32 square metres, which is only about the size of an average hotel room. But there will be an additional mezzanine level for the bedroom, which will be about 12 square metres.
Almost 300 people have already expressed interest in owning a so-called glamorous houseboat, and the developer expects they’ll mainly be used as baches.
“I can definitely see myself living in something like that,” says Ms Walls. “I just think it’s actually going to be a bit of slice of luxury in your life.”
-by Dianna Vezich
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Dear Gulf Harbour ferry users,
This is just a quick update on the Gulf Harbour service. Firstly and most significantly, next year all the ferry contracts across Auckland are going out for tender. This is a process that will likely take much of 2016 but as far as the Gulf Harbour service goes, the goal, as it stands, is to secure a service commensurate with the Pine Harbour service in terms of the number of sailings (currently 15 return trips). This intention is included in the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP), which is the document Auckland Transport is working to.
Regarding the current service provision, we have been told that: AT continues to be in discussion with Fullers around options in the short term. Over recent weeks, Fullers have been successful in responding to AT’s requests for increasing capacity on the route:
Discovery 3 has been increased to 105 seats and Takahe has been increased to 193 providing an additional 63 seats in each morning and afternoon peak.
AT continues to discuss options around providing an additional sailing in the morning peak being generated in the short term, but this is unlikely to provide an immediate solution.
AT also continues to be in discussions with Fullers around improving reliability on the route, and they have indicated that they are considering engineering solutions to the current allocated fleet.
AT are also in discussion with Fullers around what can be done from a capacity perspective for the busier months of March and May of next year.
As always, we’re keen to hear from you, the actual travellers, as to how you’re finding the service. Please reply to this email with any comments you have about the:
any other suggestions
Other than that, thank you all very much for continuing to support the Gulf harbour ferry service.
Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year,
John Watson (Albany ward councillor)
Wayne Walker (Albany ward councillor)
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
* Are floating homes the solution to the housing crisis?
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.