Bioresearches celebrates major Environment Court victory.

Bioresearches’ ecologists celebrated early June with a major win in the Environment Court, following their technical support to uphold the Auckland Unitary Plan’s rural urban boundary at Okura on the North Shore. Graham Don (coastal avifauna) and Simon West (marine ecology) presented expert evidence on behalf of their client and alongside Auckland Council. Okura_2.jpg

Graham and Simon’s evidence underpinned the Court’s 239 page decision that Okura Holdings Limited’s proposal to extend the rural-urban boundary, and continue high-density housing into the current rural zone, would have significant adverse effects on the adjacent marine and birdlife. The proposed high density housing would be an extension of the current 162 ha urban development at Long Bay.

The site is located at the southern edge of Okura Estuary, which forms part of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve, a Significant Ecological Area and Coastal Transition Zone with unique biodiversity values and endangered habitats that support a range of rare and threatened bird and fish species. The site also sits adjacent to Long Bay Regional Park, a significant coastal recreation reserve and open space designation, and across from Department of Conservation’s Okura Scenic Reserve.

Bird life at the Okura Marine ReserveCouncillor Chris Darby, chair of Auckland Council's Planning Committee, said the decision was a "massive win for Council and the Unitary Plan". 

Chris Wedding, Ecology Manager for the Babbage Group company, said that Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan is an important tool for directing Auckland’s rapid population growth and infrastructure over the next 30 years. “However it is also important to keep sight of the Plan’s requirements to protect the environment whilst also providing for sustainable growth and economic opportunities.”

“Graham and Simon are to be congratulated for their significant involvement in a well-presented case”, he said.

The Environment Court decision upholds two earlier decisions made in 1996 and 2003. Read more about the Environment Court decision in the NZ Herald article here: Environment Court rejects project at Okura

Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve, a Significant Ecological Area and Coastal Transition Zone with unique biodiversity values and endangered habitats that support a range of rare and threatened bird and fish species.
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