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Destruction of native bush cause for concern3 min read

Mar 3, 2022 2 min

Destruction of native bush cause for concern3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Destruction of the last remaining established native bush along the Onehunga industrial area by construction work is being greeted with dismay by locals and environmentalists.

Work on the industrial site responsible is under investigation by Auckland Council and is under a stop work notice, however some locals say the diggers are still moving. The large site runs between 69 Captain Springs Road and 1 Miami Parade and is owned by Frankel Consultants Ltd. Some of the land sits atop the original Pikes Point landfill.

On the Miami Parade side, it includes a stream and a walkway. The walkway has been accessible to the public in the past under an agreement with the former Auckland City Council, but has always been privately owned, and has now been blocked off.

In late 2021, Sue Noble, who regularly uses the Waikaraka Cycleway which runs along the Manukau Harbour shoreline just below the site, was the first to raise concerns with the Council around the removal of vegetation and resultant loss of habitat for birds, the potential pollution to the stream and the introduction of landfill material, including concrete. Several others have reported similar concerns on local Facebook pages, and Jon Turner, the chair of the Manukau Harbour Form, and member of the Puketāpapa Local Board is also seeking information.

The site “is now subject to council-issued abatement notices regarding the vegetation removal and the unconsented earthworks. The notices require the activity, carried out in breach of the Resource Management Act and the Auckland Unitary Plan, to cease. Investigation into these breaches is ongoing,” says David Pawson, team leader of investigations, Auckland Council.

Mr Pawson says that while the Council did receive reports in February that work has continued despite the abatement notices, no active works or workers were viewed on the site during an unannounced inspection to investigate the report. He says compliance with abatement notices will continue to be monitored.

There are five tenants of Frankel Consultants, and all operate within their own consents, says a spokesperson for the landowner. All of the areas used by these tenants (referred to as transition yards) are in the process of being “enhanced” to minimise water entering the former landfill (to stop toxic waste leaching out) and environmental monitoring has also been implemented.

The landowners do concede that contractors removed more vegetation than anticipated in preparation for boundary fencing, but that mitigation for this has been implemented. They say that the small amounts of vegetation removed (“which is predominantly toxic Australian Ngaio”), has been done so to enable the installation of silt control fencing to address potential leachate from the former landfill area (saying there was previously none in place). This has been done to enable development of the land area affected by high tides (mean high water spring) and it will also enable the installation of boundary fencing.

 

“Re-organisation of the various transition yards will lead to significant environmental enhancements, reduced leachate, and a considerably more responsible strategy for the betterment of our environment,” says the spokesperson.

For more photos and information, go to Friends of the Manukau Harbour Facebook page.