There have been two appeals against the consent for Skypath. They are from the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) and the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society (NPHPS) – a group set up in December last year just to oppose Skypath. Both parties want the entire decision overturned with the NRA also seeking costs.
The reasons for the appeal by the NRA are:
- The Appellant is not opposed in principle to the concept of Skypath.
- The Appellant’s principal concern with the Application relates to the effects on the environment and policy conflicts caused by the location of the northern landing structure at Northcote Point and its reasons for appeal are related principally to these issues.
- The Respondent had no jurisdiction to approve the Application because it was for a wholly non-complying activity and failed to pass either of the threshold tests in s 104D(1)(a) and (b) to be considered for approval under ss 104 and 104B of the Act In particular, in relation to the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath:
- will have adverse effects on the environment, namely traffic, transportation and parking effects, privacy, safety and security effects, visual effects and amenity effects, arising both from the built form and location of the landing structure and from the movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians that would utilise it, that will be significantly more than minor;
- is, as a consequence of those effects and the intensive, non-residential nature of the activity at this residentially zoned location that neither intends nor permits large scale commercial operations like Skypath, contrary to the objectives and policies of the relevant plan and proposed plan which explicitly protect the character, heritage and amenity values of this area.
- Even if the Respondent had jurisdiction to consider the Application under ss 104 and 104B of the Act (which is denied), the decision fails to promote the sustainable management purpose of the Act. In particular:
- At the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath will have significant adverse effects on the environment (as noted above) that are unable to be avoided, remedied or mitigated (even if undertaken in accordance with the conditions of consent imposed by the Respondent);
- These adverse effects cannot lawfully be ignored or diminished by offsetting or balancing them against the alleged positive effects of the Application; that is to disregard the environmental bottom-line enshrined in s 5(2)(c) of the Act;
- The claimed positive benefit of Skypath — the enabling of pedestrian and cycle access (commuter and tourist) from Auckland City to the North Shore (and vice versa) — is technically unsubstantiated: the design of the Skypath corridor is inadequate in respect of width, gradient, height and access ramp curvature to permit dual (non-separated) usage;
- The effects of Skypath at the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), in particular, render it contrary to (as above), or, at least, wholly inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the plan and proposed plan applying at that location.
- Accordingly, the Respondent, having wrongly concluded that it had jurisdiction to consider approving the Application under s 104D of the Act, failed lawfully and properly to exercise the discretion in s 104B so as to achieve the purpose of the Act.
And for the NPHPS they say
The reasons for the appeal are that the Commissioners were wrong in their decision. The resource consent should have been declined because:
- it is likely to result in significant adverse effects on the environment, including:
- adverse noise effects from the construction and ongoing use of the pathway and the Northcote Point area;
- adverse traffic effects caused by an increase in traffic using the Northcote Point area;
- adverse safety and security effects due to the large number of expected patrons using the pathway and accessing Northcote point;
- adverse privacy effects on nearby residential properties from the large number of patrons expected to use the pathway and access Northcote Point;
- adverse visual effects from the design and location of the pathway, including the northern landing and its associated facilities; and adverse amenity and heritage effects due to a significant change to the character and amenity of the Northcote Point area and increased use and commercialisation of the area.
- it does not adequately avoid, remedy or mitigate the potential adverse effects of the proposed activities on the environment;
- the effects of the application on Northcote Point were not adequately assessed, including heritage effects;
- it is contrary to and inconsistent with the objectives, policies and other provisions of the relevant planning instruments, including but not limited to the Auckland Council District Plan (North Shore City Section) and the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan;
- it is inconsistent with the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act 1991
- it does not represent good resource management practice; it is for a proposal, the nature and scale of which is inappropriate in the Northcote Point area; and
- it is for a proposal that will create a precedent for commercial activities in the residential zones of the Northcote Point area near the northern landing
At this stage there is no word from the Skypath team about these appeals, as they were only received late on Friday I imagine it will take them a few days to go through the details and work out just how they will respond.
Lastly also as it was the council who approved the project, this appeal will end up costing ratepayers to defend – so much for being concerned about how much it costs ratepayers.