Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) have lodged a resource consent application (LUC60323081: Plans and AEE) for earthworks at 1-19 Quay Street (on the Bledisloe Terminal) required to facilitate the construction of a new, 5-storey car handling facility building.
The consent matters are limited to earthworks and National Environmental Standard (NES) only – new buildings within the Port Precinct which comply with the relevant standards are a permitted activity.
The works will involve 3000 sqm and 2000 cum of earthworks, which primarily relate to the construction of the footings and foundations required to support the proposed building. Consent matters include the undertaking a proposed volume of earthworks exceeding 2500 sqm and undertaking a proposed volume of earthworks exceeding 2500 sqm within the Sediment Control Protection Area (i.e. within 100 m of the coastal area). The works also trigger consent matters under Section 9(1) of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations 2011 (NES) as a controlled activity, as the works exceed the permitted earthworks volume. No discharge consents are being applied for, as the applicant (Ports of Auckland) is the holder of a permit to discharge contaminants from an industrial or trade activity (Discharge Consent 25179).
It should be borne in mind that this approach by POAL is in direct response to widespread public pressure, opposing expanding the POAL land area by reclamation of the harbour for cargo storage, including cars, (especially for cars). I strongly oppose further reclamation so I find it difficult to object to intensification of the use of Port land. However, given the strong public interest in the port and the environmental sensitivity of the area, I think that public notification is appropriate.
My formal input on behalf of the Local Board is below:
The Local Board recommends PUBLIC NOTIFICATION of this consent on the basis that ‘special circumstances’ exist as per s 95A(9) RMA 1991.
The special circumstances are the very high level of public interest in development of the port land and the consistently expressed expectation of our constituents that they will have the opportunity to have input on such works. It is understood that this consent is for earthworks and NES matters only, not the building (as it is a permitted activity if complying with the relevant standards); nonetheless, there are likely adverse effects from the earthworks which exceed the permitted earthworks volume particularly given the proximity of these works to the water (within the Sediment Control Protection Area), and it is the Local Board’s view that the external expertise on these matters that can only be accessed by way of a public notification process is important for the matter to be adequately considered.
This facility is included in the POAL Masterplan, covered in detail by Simon Wilson at The Spinoff here.
The building is the first part of the proposal pictured below. Only the consent application relevant to the car building (the green covered building to the left) has been lodged. We have no indication of when the other buildings will be built although it has to be assumed that this is some years away given the current operational use of the land.
Pictured: The POAL plan for a ‘green’ carpark building with proposed hotel in front. NB: Council’s plans for Quay Street with a bus station, single lanes for cars are not represented in the image. Image: POAL
UPDATE: As at 28 August 2018, I was informed that the applicant has reduced the volume of earthworks proposed to comply with the Auckland Unitary Plan’s standards. The only consenting matter is now in relation to the NES, where the proposal involves soil disturbance that doesn’t comply with Clause 8(3) of the NES. This removes the possible grounds on which the Local Board can request notification.