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Published: 2002-07-03 00:00:00

Resource consents have been granted for a new subdivision at Cooks Beach.

Cooks Beach Developments Ltd had applied to Environment Waikato and the Thames Coromandel District Council for consent to subdivide a property into 96 residential lots as stage three of the Hardy Martin estate.

Seven submissions were made to TCDC by the Mercury Bay Community Board, Mercury Bay South Residents and Ratepayers Association, neighbours and iwi. Thirteen submissions were made to Environment Waikato by similar groups and individuals. Cooks Beach and Ferry Landing Ratepayers Association also made submissions but they were declared invalid.

The site is located in a floodplain with the Morcom Stream passing through it. Development requires changing the path of the stream and raising elevation of the lots above potential flood levels. The applicant had proposed to divert the stream through a lake system, developing the lakes into a unique and permanent amenity, with landscaping and pedestrian walkways.

Submitters expressed concern that the proposed work would increase existing flooding, that there was lack of open reserve space and insufficient consultation with iwi. The Community Board was concerned about stormwater management, reserves, pedestrian links and landscaping. Other residents were concerned about ineffective culverts and flooding.

Environment Waikato officer AnaMaria d’Aubert said the adverse effects of the temporary construction activities could be dealt with through appropriate conditions. Long-term consents would also have similar conditions to deal with adverse effects, monitor and reporting back to Environment Waikato on potential environmental effects.

Ghassan Basheer said hydraulic modelling for the site had shown the development would not exacerbate existing flooding problems.

TCDC planning consultant Russell de Luca said he was concerned that some lots could become isolated for several hours following high intensity rainfall and unless changes were made to this part of the proposal Resource Management Act statutory criteria may not be met. However with this proviso the subdivision was worthy of consent.

In making their decision, the Hearing Committee and commissioner said there was a history of flooding problems in the Cooks Beach area, with restrictions to flow caused by Rees Avenue culvert and downstream Cooks Beach constrictions. A number of submitters wanted resolution of these problems before consents for the proposed development were granted, however the Committee was not able to address these.

It was satisfied that recommended review conditions would enable matters to be revisited if problems occurred.

It granted the consents for Environment Waikato as the area was zoned residential and there was demand for sections in this location. Stage Three would not worsen existing flood problems there was provision to revisit the issues. Effects of the works on stream quality could be managed and no other effects were more than minor.