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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Environmental Planning arrow Efforts must go on to secure Sandspit
Efforts must go on to secure Sandspit PDF Print
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Articles - Environmental Planning
Written by Laura Franklin, Editor, The Northern Advocate   
Thursday, 18 October 2007

Recent moves to effect a land-swap that would leave the Ngunguru Sandspit untouched by developers may have foundered, but should we take comfort from the fact that the Conservation Minister is finally engaging in the discussion?

Given that the Minister, Chris Carter, had earlier shown little interest in helping the cause, this represents a step forward.

Unfortunately, so far it is ultimately not enough of a step to make a difference.

The Whangarei District Council, the Conservation Department and the vast majority of the community now seem in agreement that the Ngunguru Sandspit - a delicate environment of native plants and animals, cultural significance and sheer beauty of landscape - should be protected from subdivision and development.

But since the private owner, Landco, is granted by right the ability to build up to eight residences, and is seeking consent to build hundreds more, the only way to save the sandspit appears to be the act of moving it into public ownership.

The feisty community of Ngunguru would certainly battle a bid to construct the full village of more than 350 residences, if the plan was to gain council consent. However, even if challenged in an expensive and lengthy Environment Court proceedings, the fact would remain that the Resource Management Act would permit some building to go ahead, and the pristine nature of the Sandspit would be lost.

This is where the Government must step in. A little late now - the land could have been bought many times in the past for much less than the $37million-plus at which it is now valued. Still, the Government has to bite the bullet and protect this much-loved icon of the Whangarei district.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 October 2007 )
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