Damper Bay Estates Ltd Submission

APPLICANT’S NAME:

Damper Bay Estates Ltd

RESOURCE CONSENT NO:

RM 100512

DETAILS OF THE APPLICATION:

Consent is sought to subdivide the existing 193 hectare property into three allotments, with one residential building platform identified on each allotment. Services and access will be provided to each allotment. Land use consent is also sought to establish a residential dwelling on each building platform, as well as one additional dwelling on each of the three allotments, along with earthworks and landscaping. A report is provided with the application that addresses the provision of access and services to the dwellings.

The proposed dwellings are subject to specific design controls. Destocking of parts of the property and an ecological restoration programme forms part of the overall development.

LOCATION OF APPLICATION

The site is located on the Wanaka – Mt Aspiring Road, approximately 8km from the Wanaka Township. It is legally described as Lot 1 DP337193, contained in Computer Freehold Register OT 152457.

THE UPPER CLUTHA TRACKS TRUST

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust’s objects are

“To promote, support, fund and advocate for the establishment of:

1                    a functional interconnected network of tracks for walking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, roller skating, and any similar recreational leisure activities in the Upper Clutha area, whenever such trails will contribute to the social, cultural, environmental or economic wellbeing of residents or visitors to the District.

2                    The roading network for commuter and recreational road cycling.

The Trust also endorses, and works to achieve the QLDC strategy for Walking and Cycling in the Upper Clutha Basin.

The stated goals of the Strategy are

1        Make walking and cycling an attractive and safe option for getting around the Upper Clutha area

2        Promote the opportunities for walking and cycling in Upper Clutha.

3        Ensure that the needs of pedestrians and cyclists are always fully taken into account in the Council’s land use and transport planning, recreation planning, urban design, engineering and land development process.

4     Deliver a consistent approach to walkways in the Upper Clutha by working in partnership with other landowners agencies and interested parties.

The first goal states further the objective

To continue to expand the walking and cycling infrastructure network in the Upper Clutha area using this strategy as guidance, but also responding to emerging needs and opportunities.

THE UPPER CLUTHA TRACKS TRUST SUBMISSION IS:

 The Trust notes that the site of the proposed development adjoins the Glendhu Bay Track and Damper Bay, and further notes that the Glendhu Bay Track is part of the Te Araroa long distance pathway. This is a walking/cyling track of national importance that runs fromCape Reinga to Bluff.

Although at the time of writing this submission, the Glendhu Bay track has not had an official opening, all the signage has been in place for some weeks and the track is already getting considerable use by the public.

The application discusses positive effects of the proposal in respect of destocking the property and native planting and regeneration of vegetation. The Trust believes that there is also substantial potential for further positive effects in the form of provision of improved access to Lake Wanaka and Damper Bay.

The Trust has identified three options for improved access that could be offered as potential “environmental compensation” should the hearings panel consider that the effects of the proposed application have effects that are more than minor.

The option that would offer the greatest benefit would be the provision of an easement allowing non-motorised public access from Mt Aspiring Road to Damper Bay, together with the provision of a small car park area by Mt Aspiring Road. This could follow the edge of the grazed paddock area. This access would substantially improve the public access to Damper Bay, a popular picnic area for those currently fit enough to walk the track or arrive by boat. The bay is also a great swimming spot and this easement would enhance access to this specific part of the lake and make it more accessible to those unable to walk far and to families with small children.

It also creates the option for two relatively short loop rides/walks using the existing access either at the Mt Aspiring Viewpoint car park, or the link track to the south of Ironside Trig, together with a short section of Mt Aspiring Road, and improves access options to the Glendhu Bay Track generally.

The Trust also believe that there is the opportunity to improve the existing Glendhu Bay track on the north side of the site, where the property boundary extends into the lakebed. The existing track route skirts around the boundary into the lakebed to remain on public land.  This route is not ideal as it results in the track being underwater when the lake is very high. The offer of an easement for approx 200m following the edge of the lake above the high water line would provide a more practical route for the track and ensure it is accessible year round.

The Trust is also aware that the current track alignment currently crosses onto the subject site in error for approximately 30m at Damper Bay. The Trust understands that QLDC is in discussions regarding this section of track with the applicant together with issues of stock access across the QLDC reserve at the same location.

The Applicant could offer an easement over this short section of its property. This probably has the least value of the three opportunities as it is possible to reroute this section of track.

As the existing Glendhu Bay track and access points all allow both dogs under close control and cyclists, the easements if offered would need to be consistent with the rest of the track.

These suggestions are shown on the attached plan.

The Trust believes that it is possible for the applicant to substantially increase the environmental gain by providing the access by easements as discussed above.

The Trust notes that in a recent decision, RM 060790 Mt Barker Farms, the commissioners stated in 6.32

“Offsetting and compensating for adverse environmental effects can occur away from the sites which create them, although we note that this has not been tested in the High Court of Court of Appeal.”

And in 6.34

“We make the observation that the environmental compensation associated with volunteered conditions in relation to public access to land is potentially material in marginal cases.”

The Trust is also aware that the issue of public access as a form of positive effects of development or “environmental compensation” has been considered in several recent consent applications. Some clarity on the value of public access offered as an environment gain may be available when the Environment Court releases its decision on the Parkins Bay Preserve case located at nearby Glendhu Bay. This decision is expected to be released shortly.

THE REASONS FOR THE TRUST’S SUBMISSION:

The RMA allows for and encourages the maintenance and improvement of access to lakes rivers and coastal areas.

Part 6(d) of the RMA says in relation to access:

In achieving the purposes of this Act, all persons exercising functions and powers under it, in relation to managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources, shall recognize and provide for the following matters of national importance:

(d) The maintenance and enhancement of public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes and rivers:

The proposed activity offers the opportunity to improve access to Lake Wanaka in line with the goals and objectives of the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust.

The Trust submission is in line with our goals and those of the QLDC strategy document for Walking and Cycling in the Upper Clutha Basin.

The application gives the council the chance to improve public access to Lake Wanaka at Damper Bay and to improve the walking/cycling infrastructure in the Upper Clutha, and in particular to improve access to the Te Araroa long distance pathway .

THE TRUST’S SUBMISSION WOULD BE MET BY COUNCIL:

The Trust would hope that the applicant would support and develop the suggested easements suggestions contained in our submission, and that any additional access offered at the hearing be a condition of the consent.

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust neither supports nor opposes the application.

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust does wish to be heard in support of this submission.

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