SKP Reaction to Environment Court Ruling

Press Release – Save Kennedy Point

Disappointed but Not Defeated: SKP will seek Community Consultation after Devastating Court Decision

It’s been a huge task for the small Waiheke community, local New Zealand and international supporters to take on big business and local authorities, raising over NZ$250,000 to fight the Auckland City Council’s decision to approve a privately owned marina development at Kennedy Point in the historically and culturally significant Putiki Bay.

Locals from Waiheke and visitors to the increasingly popular tourist destination have consistently shown their concern as to what they believe will be an unsightly, unsustainable short termist style development on an island that suffers already from environmental degradation.

A recent report on ’The State of our Gulf’ has highlighted the ongoing degradation of the waters around the island with a decrease in all marine life: fish, bird and mammal and mentioned both marina developments and agricultural runoff as main offenders. The up to 198 pleasure craft which could come to the marina will bring with them risks of contamination from anti-foul and unwanted pests and pollution and will change a pretty little bay forever. With those 198 marina berths, 19 pile moorings, 30 short stay visitor berths there could well be 247 boats in the bay at one time, a huge contrast to the present 37 moorings. A floating car park with parking for up to 72 cars and the increased traffic caused by the marina is strongly opposed by the local marae and locals. Waiheke island traffic is already at capacity with 3 schools on Donald Bruce Road: increased traffic on the road will surely pose a risk to children, pedestrians and cyclists. Climate change and the incidence of weather bombs on Waiheke also threaten the coastal areas with the island’s main vehicular ferry (supplying food and fuel for the whole of the island). Indeed the current wisdom is retreat from the coast, not development on the coast with storms impacting heavily in the past few years.

“The 2017 decision by The Auckland City Council to grant consent to the Kennedy Point Boatharbour Ltd would seem to go against all reality,” according to SKP Chairperson David Baigent reacting to Judge Laurie Newhook’s decision.

“SKP is dismayed by the court’s decision to allow the Marina Development at Kennedy Bay naturally and we will take advice and decide with the community how best to react to it. This decision means that other developers may feel it’s the time to seize more of the islands assets thus changing the islands rural landscape. It surely is the beginning of urbanisation for the island beloved for undeveloped bays, and beaches.

“After so much hard work and with so many of the local community supporting us, it is a heavy blow. This small community (and its New Zealand and global supporters) Multi, the world’s only environmental activist sheep, have risen up and done the impossible to raise such a huge amount of money to pay for lawyers, and experts. We could always have done with more money and more time but we worked with the funds we had; a very significant amount for the island to raise and we put forward the best case we could. This time it wasn’t enough but we will fight on somehow,” said Mr Baigent.

It would seem that this small and beautiful island will have to spend more time raising huge amounts of money, just to keep things as they are. Surely this is wrong and we need to look at how we are moving forward with environmental protection in Aotearoa. New legislation is required to protect and safeguard its fragile coastal environment.

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