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Harbour parks challenge

A plan change sought by Gisborne District Council would lead to increased development in the inner harbour and increase the demand for parking in the area, a hearing was told yesterday.

Independent Commissioner Dr Brent Cowie was told by Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club consultant Hans van Kregten that the proposed change did not meet the requirements of the Act.

The council is seeking two changes to the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan that would create exemptions to the parking requirements for a new business.

On the harbour side of the Esplanade there would be a 100 percent exemption and on the other side 50 percent. Contract planner Kate Graham recommended that the changes be approved.

The changes are opposed by the fishing club and landowner Gary Bates, who were both present at the hearing. The changes are supported by Eastland Port.

Mr van Kregten said the club was not opposed to many of the changes’ ultimate objectives and recognised the amenity value of the inner harbour and its proximity to historic events of local, national and international significance, and the high cultural values of the area. It saw merit in the intensification of activities, beautification and upgrading of public spaces in the area. It wished to be part of a beautification and redevelopment process.

However, the disestablishment of existing car parks, and the permitting of new developments without the provision of parking facilities — without the availability of clear, alternative parking that catered for current activities and future demand — was not acceptable.

A 20 percent growth demand estimate figure was not backed up by a proper analysis and might well be conservative.

With the increasing attractiveness of the area and Tairawhiti Navigations and tourism-related developments, the development of additional retail facilities, tourist accommodation and restaurants in the area was not at all fanciful.

Development opportunities existed in the waterfront areas between Sheds 1 and 2, and between the Esplanade and Rakaiatane Road. Again, developments could lead to the elimination of existing car parks associated with existing activities. There was no adequate protection in the plan change to provide car parks for existing activities.

‘Change would increase parking demand’There were no exemptions from carparking in the inner harbour area at Ahuriri in Napier, which shared some characteristics with Gisborne.

The proposed change was likely to lead to more development in a contained area, and additional parking demands that could not be adequately accommodated.

Mr Bates asked why the exemption on his side of the road was only half. Was it because he owned the land on the corner of the Esplanade and Wainui Road?

Inner harbour parking was absolutely crucial to his business but the 15 parks outside would go down to four. It seemed strange to him that the District Council was making rules on land it and the port company owned.

In the past 12 months he had put up with major disruption that had cost him a fortune. It was just a continuous mess and nobody seemed to know what was going on. It affected him more than anyone because he was the only person who owned anything there.

Eastland Port commercial manager Hayden Green said the company believed in the GDC vision for both the inner harbour and Navigations Projects.

“We support the vision and this is a way to unlock that vision,” he said.

As well as economic potential this was all about safety, as more pedestrians used the area.

The exemption would also help the fishing club if it wanted to build a second storey on its bulding.

Mr Bates’s site was the best in the area and it would have a lot more value with the 50 percent exemption, he said.

Some tenants had told the company they did not want to continue leasing their car parks. The market evidence was that there was an oversupply of car parks.

Dr Cowie adjourned the hearing and reserved his decision.

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