Rodney District Council has declined the application for a District Plan Change, that would have cleared the way for developers to damage the natural characteristics, wilderness and remote feel of the Te Arai Point and Black Swamp surfbreaks.
At its meeting held on 2 July 2009 the Rodney Council resolved that the recommendations of the Independent Commissioners to decline the Plan Change be adopted.
Since the initial notification in 2007 over 1700 submissions had been received opposing the development proposals, including Surfbreak Protection Society, ARC, DOC, Te Arai Preservation Society and numerous other community groups and individuals.
The commissioners heard evidence from numerous submitters who opposed the rezoning, including Surfbreak Protection Society. The site, and more particularly the wider locality, is highly valued by the local residents and by many people living outside the immediate locality.
Te Arai’s natural and physical characteristics are recognised as being a special place – the spectacle of it’s ocean beach, consistency of ocean waves, the dynamic interplay of sea and land, and it’s undeveloped, remote, perhaps even wild character.
In addition, the locality has significant ecological values and provides a habitat for endangered and threatened species such as the New Zealand Fairy Tern and Northern New Zealand Dotterel.
The developers have 30 days to appeal the decision in the Environment Court so even though this first battle has been won, the war is not over yet. This decision by Rodney District Council is to be applauded and in many ways is a decision made on behalf of common sense.
Much of the credit for this decision must go to the Te Arai Preservation Society who mounted such a great campaign and delivered detailed, wide ranging and expert evidence at the hearings.