Current Mayor Richard Kempthorne is patting himself on the back on meeting the housing accord agreement terms signed with the Government. His consortium of developers in the “development forum” have managed to assist the supply of a total of 228 sections and 394 building consents in the region.
Kempthorne said a development forum had been established involving the council and developers. While it might be “tested at times”, it was working well. Post-election, Kempthorne said he would be asking “how can we take this forward and enable intensive development – going up not out as much”
It may be working well for the development consortium but individuals trying to build a house are still waiting up to nine months for consent to be processed by the council. However, consents aside, this push for large-scale urban development is not being backed up with large-scale vision of essential services.
The Northern entrance to Richmond is about to see the addition of a fuel station and proposed supermarket at the Champion Road and Salisbury Rd intersection. The site of the fuel station was zoned for tourist services which specifically excludes fuel stations, but Tasman District Council resource consents manager Phil Doole made the difficult decision to allow consent to be granted without public notification anyway.
Equally enigmatic is the process by which the application by Progressive Enterprises Ltd to rezone of about 1.3 hectares of land on the corner of Salisbury and Champion roads from residential to commercial is being handled. As a frustrated Cr Judene Edgar pointed out that the current members of the council, who by in large all campaigned on a platform of spending reduction, have farmed out the decision making to expensive experts meeting in Auckland.
Not only have council relinquished control of development in Tasman, at great expense, they are allowing these experts to make decisions without any public consultation. By the time the public is informed the process of consent is that far down the track that it is already a case of a rubber-stamping formality.
I am sure those who travel this road regularly at rush hour will be excited at the prospect of two more significant additional sources of traffic fighting for access to the current roundabout woes. Then, of course, there is the issue of parking. Will this development cater to the parking requirements of the staff? Or will staff be forced to park on an already too narrow Champion road adding to the almost unpassable congestion near Garin college? The current form of this council would suggest developers only have to cater to customer parking.
If this is the “right track” for the development of Tasman, perhaps it is about time we starting asking where exactly the track is taking us? And who is steering us down it?