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$300m Bayswater Marina scheme out for public notification: documents on council site

Plans for the $300 million 121-apartment project at Bayswater Marina have today been publicly notified.

Auckland Council’s website now shows the details of the scheme for the North Shore land owned by Bayswater Marina Holdings, part of Simon and Paula Herbert’s Empire Capital business.

Application is being made for resource consent to redevelop the existing marina reclamation land with public open spaces, landscaping, apartments, terraced housing, commercial activities and parking in the Bayswater maritime precinct.

The master plan, architectural plans for the apartments, landscape plans, a high analysis, geotechnical investigations, acoustic and transport assessments, a report on construction, stormwater outfalls, and engineering drawings are all now available to view.

Plans posted today show courtyards in the middle of apartment blocks, but instead of being landscaped as they are in many other projects, these have car parks at their heart.

Chris Darby, a North Shore councillor and planning committee chairman, said genuine community engagement was being sought from the developer.

“This has been a long time coming. The pre-application occurred a long time ago. I’ve been asked questions of our team to ensure it’s been through the urban design panel on at least two occasions. The developers volunteered to do that. They’ve also volunteered to publicly notify it.

“Last year, the developer said ‘I want the community to have a say’ and he chose to notify it,” Darby said.

“He wants genuine community engagement. I don’t have a strong opinion on it but it’s not just a residential development. It’s significantly less [apartments] than what it was originally quite a few years ago. The residential component is not of a single design. They’re wanting to break it up into something more humane and unique rather than one architectural typology.

“This is also about strengthening the marine-related activities and improving the quality of the public domain, access to the coastal edge, so that’s going to be one of the key areas for the community – does it do that to their expectation? Does the general public get an improved outcome here.”

Asked about courtyard car parking, Darby said there was a need to satisfy berth holders so that was the outcome.

“Do you want a barren area of asphalt? Or do you want to integrate that into the design? I suggest the latter is better. It’s also better to share car parking rather than people having a unique car park,” Darby said.

Darby said: “I only came to politics because I was chairman of the Ngataringa Bay Society and took the first developer to court successfully in the late 90s/early 2000s. I was part of the resistance to land reclaimed from the seabed suddenly becoming used for residential activities – not the purpose for which the seabed was reclaimed.

“I hold fast to things I fought for which was ensuring marine-related activities were provided for. My understanding is the developer is doing that and that’s all the servicing that is in the marina. This application provides for that. But if those baseline activities and public access around the breakwater and whole area is satisfied, the plan does identify a right to provide a right to provide a level of residential.

“So the developer has a legal right and I respect that. I fought against that in part previously but I’m now satisfied the AUP is the legal instrument by which the developer can progress this application and there is a place for residential given the proximity to the CBD via a 10-minute ferry ride. I’ve been on Mr Herbert’s case for a while and told him don’t bother bringing him anything unless it’s something really worthy of showing,” Darby said.

Darby encouraged Herbert to visit the best waterfront developments overseas and said that Herbert had done that.

Social media response has described the plans as “horrible” and raised fears about the effects on surrounding transport networks, particularly Lake Rd.

Darby said the Lake Rd upgrade was now budged for.

In April, the Herald reported how plans to develop part of a site beside the existing marina and the public ferry terminal were downsized from 250 to 121 dwellings after strong local opposition.

Plans are for 94 terraced homes and 27 apartments in three buildings.

Around 350 people could live on the site under the revised plan, the application says.

“The previous proposals for up to 250 units, while providing for the intensification sought across Auckland, did not find favour with some parties in terms of bulk, mass, landscape and amenity at the site. The revised design proposed with this application has purposely tried to address these concerns,” the application said.

Existing marina berthage areas will be untouched and associated car parking and marine-related commercial activities will be upgraded.

The Bayswater Community Committee said last month it would undertake an online survey asking about the proposed development, what people value and what they want.

• Plans open for submissions until November 9.

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