Views sought on long-term future of Te Muri
It is only the first phase, but it might also prove to be the most important.
When, in its dying days in 2010, the Auckland Regional Council purchased the $15 million, 383as published: 407 (hectares)-hectare Schischka farm, a large part of the motivation was to take pressure off Wenderholm, the first regional park purchased, 50 years ago this year.
Five years on, with pressure steadily mounting to get the new parkland opened to its owners, the people of Auckland, the planning process is now underway. The proximate last straw was a well-received Mahurangi Coastal Trail presentation in October last year to Auckland Council’s parks, recreation and sport committee by Mahurangi Action, supported by Friends of Regional Parks. The committee, chaired by Christine Fletcher, resolved there and then that the coastal trail be considered in the development of a concept plan for Wenderholm, Te Muri and Mahurangi regional parks.
It would seem inconceivable that planning for the development of Te Muri could now fail to seriously consider the Mahurangi Coastal Trail concept. Indeed, planning staff noted to the parks committee in June that the rationale for undertaking the process ‘now’ included:
a local group—Mahurangi Action—is keen to progress discussions about a coastal trail through the regional parks.
Be that as it may, it will greatly help the regional park planners to receive, within the next 19 days, the views of as wide a range of park users and public interest groups as possible as to the merits of a Mahurangi Coastal Trail, including to bridge the missing terrestrial link in Te Araroa, the national walkway, between Pūhoi and Wenderholm.
Views, during this first phase of consultation, are requested by email only. To make support for the Mahurangi Coastal Trail concept a one-click process, the Mahurangi Magazine has prepared the following minimalist statement:
I believe that a Mahurangi Coastal Trail should be developed immediately as the initial means of providing public access to the new Te Muri parkland, and that access by private vehicle should only be considered in the event the trail is little used.
I consider that the highest quality use for the current Schischka farm road is as the missing terrestrial section of Te Araroa, the national walkway, between Pūhoi and Wenderholm.
The widest range of public transport and non-motorised access to and between Mahurangi, Te Muri and Wenderholm regional parks should be encouraged and provided for, including bridle.
I greatly value the sense of splendid isolation that Te Muri currently affords and consider a coastal trail a reasonable means by which many more people could enjoy the new regional parkland, without losing this rare and precious quality.
Readers may submit this statement, or one based on—or opposed to it for that matter—using the pre-populated form below. Those ready to provide their views in more detail should certainly do so, but a second, formal phase of consultation is scheduled to follow in November:
The second phase of public consultation will include a formal hearings process where you will have the opportunity to talk to your submission should you wish to. An independent commissioner will hear submissions and develop a report that includes recommendations for the draft plan based on the submissions received. The project team will then report the commissioner’s recommendations to the Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee for adoption.
With the parks committee scheduled to adopt what will formally be a variation to the Regional Parks Management Plan 2010, in March 2016, there is every reason to trust that Auckland Council, at that point, will be in a position to declare the Mahurangi Coastal Trail the Auckland Regional Parks 50th anniversary, legacy project.
Aside from emailing Auckland Council, Mahurangi residents also have another powerful way of ensuring that their views are considered—by talking to their Rodney Local Board members. Fortunately, as well as the local board already having written a letter of support for the coastal trail concept, it is being intensively consulted throughout the Te Muri planning process.
Once created, the Mahurangi Coastal Trail will seem utterly obvious, but perseverance is still required to ensure its sublime realisation.
Submissions emailed directly from the Mahurangi Magazine to Auckland Council from this page as at 8.09 am on 19 August = 79
Emailing views independently Address for submissions is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the deadline is 4.00 pm Wednesday 19 August 2015.