Tuesday 18 August 2020
Local Board Office
Waitematā Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
8.4 Deputation - Gael Baldock: Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Orea Park Development Plan
8.5 Deputation - Wendy Gray: Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Orea Park Development Plan
9.2 Wendy Gray
21 Board member reports
18 August 2020
Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea Park Development Plan
Deputation by Wendy Gray
Thank you to David Barker and the Local Board for the changes that have been made to the Plan over the last year.
I have some comments to make about the recommendations and the plan:
1. We are grateful that the plan has removed the circular track as the proposed pathway through the Forest. However at paragraph 34 of your recommendation it is noted that when the question about the paths through the forest is to be raised again “consultation on route options with relevant stakeholders” only is to be undertaken. Throughout the Resource Consent process the residents of West View Road had to fight to be considered as stakeholders. Only Council’s organisations in Western Springs are considered stakeholders. Could you please include the residents of West View Road and the local community as stakeholders to be consulted in this matter? They have fought long and hard to be considered by this Board and deserve to be consulted about this matter as it is they who will be most affected by it.
2. The recommendation at paragraph 35 states that the long term goal for the forest area is to return it to a native forest. The Forest is already a native forest. At the original hearing in 2018 of the Resource Consent application by Council Community Facilities, to clear-fell the Western Springs forest, the vicar of the local St Columba Church gave oral submissions to the Commissioners. He advised the Commissioners he was originally from East Cape and that he had grown up with pine trees and he was no friend of pine trees. However, the Western Springs forest was different. He said he collected his rongoa herbs from that forest and he was happy to do that because it was ngahere, it “smells” like the ngahere he said.
3. Throughout the plan the Forest is referred to as native forest. Can we stop dancing around this pin head. The Forest is a native forest that requires specimen planting to transition from a pine over-canopy to a broad leaf puriri over-canopy native forest. The over-canopy is the protection for the under-canopy and most importantly the forest floor. We now know that it is what happens on the forest floor that determines the success or failure of native plantings. If you clear-fell the pines and destroy 70+% of the native under-storey the important microbial and fungal web of life that is currently active on the forest floor will be destroyed.
4. The climate impact statement at paragraphs 42 and 43 does not address the obvious issue of the carbon to be released by the felling of over 200 90+ year old trees and destruction of native under-storey which will result in significant release of carbon. The felling of all mature climate managing trees in Auckland daily has a cumulative affect on the release of carbon and the management of Auckland’s climate and air cleaning both locally and regionally. There are obvious knock on health and wellness issues here for future generations of Auckland residents. Auckland Council, its CCOs, departments, co-governance organisations and its planning department are significantly responsible for the clearance of Auckland’s climate managing mature trees and the consequent substantial release of stored carbon in these mature trees. Yet Council is not addressing these issues. Auckland Council’s claimed climate emergency is a sham whilst major tree clearances continue and Council fails to count the release of carbon in its Low Carbon strategies . Climate change is made worse by the loss of our mature climate managing trees. Council’s policies are inconsistent when we have an Urban Ngahere Strategy that talks about increasing the canopy to 30% whilst continuing to reduce it daily. Auckland cannot afford to loose any more mature urban canopy trees. Replanting is a LONG TERM PLAN 30 -50 years before trees reach maturity. What is biodiversity to do when daily they and their habitat are destroyed and will not be reproduced for 30-50 years, if years of expensive maintenance is effective. A forest that plants itself is far more resilient than one that is planted.
5. The recommendation at paragraph 62 claims “ The management approach to the forest area mirrors the intent of the old Western Springs Lakeside plan which has been in effect and unchallenged since 1995.” The intention in the 1995 plan was to establish a “Pohutukawa-broadleaf forest” – I believe that the intention in this plan is to establish a Puriri broadleaf forest. Although at page 41 of the plan currently before you it is stated the intention is to establish a kauri forest? I believe that may be a mistake?
6. The 1995 plan does not envisage clear –felling the pines and throughout talks about maintaining the visual values by under-planting the pines with species which “upon maturity will be as equally visually dominant upon this skyline.” Some specimen plantings were done by Council in support of the plan and these trees are now reaching maturity. The 1995 plan does not envisage clear-felling the pines at all. I believe it is a stretch to imagine that the current plan mirrors the intent of the 1995 plan. What is clear both plans envisage a native forest, although they differ in the detail, but their methodology and management of that process is quite different. Clarity about what the plan actually is would be helpful. Meanwhile, nature is getting on with it, and the regenerating forest is lush, varied and strong having survived the most recent drought that would have decimated new plantings.
7. During the whole time I have been involved in the Western Springs Forest Resource Consent process from beginning to now I have never seen a hydrology report. At page 92 of the plan there is some comment regarding the general hydrology of the whole park. I draw your attention to this. If the CCF plan to clear-fell the forest proceeds it is quite clear that there will be hydrology issues for storm water run off and Motions Creek which have never been considered. These issues may well compromise the work set out in this plan for cleaning up Motions Creek and preserving the “ at risk/endangered” long-fin eel.
8. Give yourself some wriggle room in respect of this plan. Covid has demonstrated that change can happen quickly and we all need to be able to adapt and change when the situation requires it. I also work with Save Chamberlain Park. Council has now registered Chamberlain Park for certification as an eco-sanctuary like Remuera Golf Course. This will take some time to process however this has knock on biodiversity dividends for Western Springs. They used to be joined. If we are to preserve what we currently have in our environment and biodiversity for future generations we will need to make big changes to the way we do things. The opportunity still exists for Western Springs and Chamberlain Park to be joined to create a biodiversity and environmental haven in the middle of Auckland.
9. The process of the development of this Western Springs plan has demonstrated that working with community builds strong outcomes and strong local communities. I ask you to please let the plan remain a living document.
Wendy Gray (8 min)
18 August 2020