Far North Holdings has received the Resource Consent from Far North District Council that it needs to progress its proposed residential development on Kellet Street. It has also received the necessary Earthworks Consent from Northland Regional Council.
Resource Consent was initially received on 20 August this year but contained some minor errors that required correction. Council made these corrections under section 133A of the Resource Management Act and notification of this was received on 7 October.
It has been 19 months since the company advised the Opua community about its plans for the Kellet Street site and asked residents to submit feedback and make any concerns known to chief executive Andy Nock. Not a single submission has been received over this period.
“The time involved in securing the Resource Consent has meant that we have had absolutely nothing to update the community about,” said Mr Nock. “So now we look forward to providing details of the Consented plan at the Love Opua Community Meeting on 30 November, as has been our intention since we received the corrected Consent documents last month.”
The Resource Consent covers two stages of the project. The first stage involves subdividing the lots involved to create the proposed titles and house sites. Stage Two involves creating the physical infrastructure for the proposed new properties; roading, telecommunication connections, water and sewerage connection and the like.
The Consented plans now cover 16 house sites instead of the 17 that were initially applied for.
The site falls within the Residential Zone of the District Plan.
“We could have sought a higher, apartment-style development but we did not feel it was in keeping with Opua,” Mr Nock said. “Instead, the plans are for a low-density residential scheme in line with the approved District plan, within an established residential area.
“The development is much lower density than permissible. It will provide new accommodation options for people who want to live and work in Opua, supporting growth of local businesses and the local economy.”
In addition to the May 2018 notification to the community the company has briefed the Bay of Islands Community Board at one of the Board’s public meetings, and has referenced the project in many discussions with both Love Opua and people with an interest in Opua School and the parking there.
“It’s not exactly been the secret of the century,” Mr Nock said. “At last we are in a position to brief the community on what next, and I look forward to doing so, as planned, at the Love Opua meeting on 30 November.”
The Consented plans specify a large area, about 2,800m2, that will be set aside as a green reserve in the middle of the development. This will ultimately include a fitness trail to be planned and project-managed by a group of parents associated with Opua School, which Far North Holdings will help create once plans are ready.
This will link Kellet Street and the school with a children’s play area being planned by Far North Holdings at Bay of Islands Marina.
“We have some exciting suggestions for the community about what this play area might look like and we will be presenting these ideas at the 30 November community meeting as well,” Mr Nock said.
“Connectivity and inclusiveness within communities are touchstones for local government in the Far North – both at a Council level and probably even more specifically at Community Board level. Our plans, which will not be rushed and which will reflect the award-winning quality of everything we do in Opua, tie into this thinking perfectly.”
Mr Nock said discussions with individual householders who will be impacted by the proposed development would continue on a one-on-one basis and not in the full glare of community attention.
“These are private matters which we will discuss, in private, with private individuals. And we will do so with the courtesy, compassion and professionalism with which we have approached this project from the outset.
“Our aim is improve the circumstances of all involved, not compromise them. That was the purpose and indeed the content of the one discussion we have already had.”
Far North Holdings is still working with Far North District Council on potential additional car parking that could be made available for the school. The existing car parking numbers and arrangements are unaffected by the development.
The company is working through the Resource Consent conditions. This will take several months. Preliminary earthworks aside, no building is likely to take place for at least two years. Management plans will be put in place over this period to ensure that impact on neighbours is eliminated or reduced as far as humanly possible.