22 Sep 2021

Calls for council to vote against Nelson housing project

9:00 pm on 22 September 2021

A group opposed to a housing development in Nelson's Kākā Valley are calling on the council to vote against land rezoning that would enable hundreds of homes to be built near the Maitai River.

Kaka Valley

Kākā Valley. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The Nelson City Council will consider a private plan change request to rezone approximately 287 hectares of land in Kākā Valley at a meeting on Thursday.

The proposed 350-house Maitahi Development has been described by the developer as an innovative housing solution for the city with the aspiration to provide sustainable first-home opportunities to iwi and families with a village atmosphere.

A private plan change application was lodged by the developers, a syndicate between CCKV Dev Co LP and Bayview Nelson Ltd, in April.

Save The Maitati spokesperson Dr Aaron Stallard said councillors had been provided with a compelling case to vote against the plan change, on the basis it was not in accordance with sound resource management practice or that insufficient information had been provided.

But a report by the council's environmental management group manager Clare Barton found there were no grounds under the Resource Management Act to reject the request and that it be accepted for processing, rather than adopted as a Council initiated plan change.

The report made clear that accepting the request for a private plan change did not mean accepting the development itself.

If the request is accepted, the public plan change will be publicly notified allowing the community, iwi and stakeholders to have their say.

Stallard said there were numerous ways in which the Maitahi Development was unsustainable and detail on that had been provided to councillors.

He said the proposed Kāka Valley roading infrastructure was seen by Waka Kotahi as an alternative State Highway route but there had been no assessment of the impacts of Kāka Valley becoming a route for through traffic.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency director regional relationships Emma Speight said that claim was not accurate and the hilly and winding topography of the area meant it was unlikely to be a suitable State Highway 6 alternative.

Stallard said the development raised other major sustainability issues with the excavation of the Maitai River and the narrowing of its floodplain, increased stormwater and sedimentation runoff, air quality impacts from increased traffic and the loss of green space amenities.

He said there were areas of "high geotechnical risk" that required detailed assessment which had not been provided by the developers."

Save The Maitai member Mic Dover told councillors at a meeting last month it would like to see the council act on alternatives to greenfield development.

A petition with more than 12,000 signatories showed the community opposition to the developer-led subdivision.

Koata Limited chief executive and Maitahi Development director Hemi Toia told the Nelson City Council at a meeting last month that it was seeking a slice of Kāinga Ora's $1 billion Accelerated Infrastructure Fund in order to build affordable houses in the Kāka Valley.

Without funding, it would not be able to build affordable homes due to the cost of the land and would instead look to build 40 homes on lifestyle blocks that could be sold at upper market prices.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs