Community seek discussion with The Warehouse about Pah Rd development
“Community members are calling on The Warehouse to meet with them to discuss their concerns about the new store being constructed on Pah Rd,” says Julie Fairey, Roskill Community Voice member on the Puketapapa Local Board.
As legal channels to stop or change the “big box” retail development on Pah Rd have been exhausted, the community is now writing to the CEO of The Warehouse. “Locals want to know how The Warehouse intends to address their concerns around noise, traffic, parking, flooding, and construction, as well as the impact of the store on the Royal Oak Town Centre and nearby parks,” says Michael Wood, Roskill Community Voice member on the Puketapapa Local Board.
“As a company committed to New Zealand communities we are hoping that The Warehouse will be open to public dialogue on this issue, and that we can find some ways to mitigate the negatives of this development,” says Wood.
A community letter was sent yesterday by 12 community members, including two Members of Parliament, to The Warehouse’s CEO, Mark Powell. The letter outlines the concerns and questions of the community, and seeks a response from The Warehouse by way of a community meeting to discuss the development. Further groups and individuals are being approached to support the community letter, including the Maungakiekie-Tamaki and Puketapapa Local Boards. A copy of the letter is appended below, after the background information on the issue.
“We look forward to a positive response from The Warehouse, and are hopeful that there are some steps they can take to ease the concerns of the community. Perhaps with some inventive thinking The Warehouse can make sure this development is a bargain for the local community too,” said Fairey.
The proposal to build a “The Warehouse” retail store, with associated carparking and additional retail tenancies and road changes, has been undertaken by Eldamos Investments. The sites the development would cover are 100 Pah Rd (formerly the site of the Holeproof factory), 677, 677A and 679 Mount Albert Rd. The total retail floor area would be 7500m2, with carparking less than the minimum required under current regulations.
The resource consent notification for this proposal was notified on November 5th 2010. It did not go in City Scene, as past notifications of this nature would have, because City Scene was no longer being published as a result of the Auckland Council amalgamation which took effect on November 1st 2010. Roskill Community Voice leafleted approximately 500 local households in early December 2010 to encourage public submissions, whether for, against or neutral. We were surprised to discover that many locals did not know about the resource consent at all, or The Warehouse’s plans. This was only a matter of a few days before submissions closed on December 10th. With the assistance of Councillor Cathy Casey, we sought an extension to the submission deadline, however this was declined by the CEO of Auckland Council. Given the high level of contact we received from locals on this issue we organised a public meeting in the area to gain broader community feedback on the proposal. In mid December 2010 over 70 people attended this public meeting about the proposal and voted unanimously to oppose it. In late January 2011 Roskill Community Voice began circulating a petition amongst local residents, opposing the development.
Of the 23 submissions made on the resource consent application, 21 opposed the application, while the remaining 2 were neutral. Those submitting against included the James Wallace Arts Trust, the Onehunga Business Association, and the Parks, Sport and Recreation department of the Auckland Council. All local residents who submitted on the proposal indicated they opposed it. Carol Beaumont MP submitted against the proposal as well, presenting a 300-signature strong petition to the commissioners.
The decision of the three independent commissioners was released on April 13th. A community meeting was held on 8th May to discuss next steps, and from that efforts were undertaken by the community to pursue an Environment Court appeal, but this was unable to proceed. Since then an informal organising group of locals has been established, and determined that the next step was to send a letter from the community to The Warehouse raising the key issues and seeking a response by way of a community meeting. The letter was sent by email on 7th October, and by post on 8th October.