In a separate but related decision, the two independent commissioners hearing consents under EW’s jurisdiction – plus a ministerial appointee - have also recommended to the Minister of Conservation that he grants consents to allow the 2.1 hectare development to go ahead.
The decisions of the commissioners (available at www.ew.govt.nz/tairua(external link)) follow hearings at Tairua in November last year and May of this year into applications by Tairua Marine Ltd and Pacific Paradise Ltd. The hearings were formally closed in early June 2009.
The commissioners hearing EW-related matters decided after weighing up the positive and negative effects of the proposed development that the adverse environmental effects were not sufficient to justify declining the proposal.
However, they said that before building the marina the developers would need to first realign the flow of Grahams Stream which runs through Paku Bay, and build a bird roost in the bay to mitigate effects of the development. They also declined several aspects of the proposal which would have unnecessarily affected bird feeding areas.
Meanwhile, the commissioner hearing applications to TCDC approved a variety of land use consents related to the development but declined permission for car parking on land that is to be reclaimed or on a reserve.
The TCDC-related approvals were for:
· traffic mitigation structures, use of reclaimed materials for bank tidy up, planting and stabilisation, and provision of a walkway and boardwalk on the Paku Bay reserve
· construction of a 50,000 litre fuel storage facility
· construction of a collector tank for the sewage pump-out facility
TCDC’s commissioner said he believed the environmental benefits from granting consent would outweigh any potential adverse effects.
"The creation of the grassed picnic area with tree plantings, and a re-nourished beach on Paku Bay reserve and reclaimed area, would enhance the public access to the coastal marine area and facilitate the recreational enjoyment of the area.
"Traffic flows and access would be improved through the proposed road upgrading work. None of the other proposed activities would have more than minor effects."
But, in refusing the use of reclaimed land for parking, he said developers should use their own land and not the esplanade reserve to meet the additional parking demand anticipated from the marina proposal.