Weiti is an extraordinary conservation setting with access through hundreds of hectares of green spaces and native forest.
We are protecting at least 75% of Weiti as green open space – an area roughly the size of Devonport. We offered this 8 years ago in the planning of the current zone provisions. It is the reverse of the normal development/conservation ratio. This conservation measure is in itself one of the largest conservation measures undertaken on private land in the development of residential Auckland.
We are a developer with deep environmental and conservation concern and our connection to the land is at the heart of our philosophy. We are committed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Our success in this is measured more by what is left alone, preserved and protected, than what is changed, built and developed.
Weiti has a beautiful natural environment with native forests, wetlands, bird and wildlife – our goal is to protect and enhance this further. Weiti has always been a private property, not accessible to the public. We are opening Weiti up so more New Zealanders and visitors can share and experience its great beauty.
Weiti is located in close proximity to significant reserve areas, with the Okura Bush scenic reserve and Okura Walkway directly south of the property, the Weiti Estuary situated to the north and the Long Bay Regional Park situated to the southeast. The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve, formally established in 1995 and managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), is also situated on the Eastern sea front of the Weiti River, Weiti, Okura, and Long Bay. We are highly respectful of the sensitivities of these hugely important reserve areas and have installed a huge number of controls to ensure we minimize the potential of any development-related short term affects to the natural environment.
Over 700ha of Weiti will be dedicated to conservation walking tracks, conservation planting, riparian planting, forest re-generation, farming, informal recreation, leisure sport and shared community spaces. We plan for more than 75% of Weiti’s total land area to be retained for those purposes as green open spaces and conservation areas.
We have committed to over 120ha of dense native planting linking and enhancing existing significant natural areas of highly valued native forest of 49ha which will provide a significant boost for native birds within the North-West Wildlink Corridor. We aim to plant over 2.0 million trees at Weiti including areas of re-generation of the production pine forest which was held for over 30 years in a third party cutting right (not the land owner) and recently harvested between 2011 and 2015.
Weiti is very large measuring 864ha (2,135 acres) which is bigger than many Auckland suburbs, and (for example) larger than Devonport and Bayswater put together. The total private lot footprints (“housing development areas”) are planned to be no more than 10% of the total area of Weiti. WeitiBay is 93.7ha in total area of which 27.0ha is housing development area and 66.7ha is landscaped and planted open space. The Weiti Villages are planned on a housing development area of 37.2ha with over 700ha of Weiti to remain as open, green space.
We are highly focused on the protection of the landscape, skyline and coast from development when viewed from Karepiro Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Long Bay Regional Park, Okura Bush, Stillwater and East Coast Road. The houses planned at WeitiBay are required to strictly adhere to the WeitiBay Architecture Code that is approved by Auckland Council to ensure houses blend into the natural environment and contours of the land to protect the locations’ natural features and mitigate the visual impact of housing development from the sea. The large proportion of housing development of Weiti is in the centre of the property, largely not visible from surrounding areas and suburbs.
We have committed to a wide range of additional public benefits including:
As a land developer with a long track record of enhancing the environment and conservation, we follow a few key philosophies as follows: Underbuilding, Open Spaces, Wildlife Protection, Re-Greening, Placemaking, Protection - Kaitiakitanga. Here is how we apply our development philosophies to Weiti:
ENVIRONMENT & CONSENTING
The Weiti development has been the subject of a significant and rigorous consenting process. These consents have a large number of environmental and conservation conditions that the development must comply with and deliver on. This includes a wide range of erosion and sediment control aspects.
The conversion of a property as large as Weiti from a production pine forest to a predominantly green, sustainable, conservation space is challenging. Many parties will have different views about whether we are taking the right approach. Underneath any land use and development proposals a myriad of Council and statutory controls protect key features of the environment – streams, marine receiving environments, native forest, birdlife, wildlife.
Auckland Council’s controls to protect waterways in Auckland are strict. The starting point for those controls is found in the consent process. The consent process for Weiti included close review by the Council of the potential effect of construction on the receiving environment, and documentation prepared by experts demonstrated to Council’s satisfaction that effects could be managed to an acceptable level.
Prior to of any works commencing on site the contractor was required to produce a comprehensive Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, outlining all methodologies to be used to minimise the potential for discharges to the environment. This was reviewed and approved by Council. There has been a large suite of controls used at Weiti including:
The Weiti development adheres to the highest levels of environmental practices and is constantly monitored by the Auckland Council, independent consultants and auditors to ensure adherence to its management plans including for sediment and other constructions effects.
Auckland Council has confirmed that the Weiti development is operating to a high standard and is complying with all applicable consent requirements.
Part of the conditions include a water quality monitoring plan whereby during and following rain events, water quality sampling both manual and automatic is conducted. Visual assessment is also undertaken at these times of rainfall of all discharges, freshwater and coastal locations. Automatic monitoring systems trigger specific audits if rainfall exceeds 25mm in 24 hours or 15mm in one hour (a ‘rain event’). During the 2015/2016 season there were 9 rain events. During the 2016/2017 season to 30 July 2017 – one of the wettest on record - there were 15 rain events. So far in the 2017/2018 season there have been 7 rain events already. None of those events caused a level of sediment on the beach or in the Karepiro stream which triggered a higher-level audit (required if visible deposits of sediment at defined levels are present following a rain event). This is formally reported to the Council via documented reports.
The Weiti site is also audited by external independent auditors on a regular basis (at our request). During periods of heavy rainfall our auditing process is twice the level required by our consent conditions and is voluntary. Our contractors have been compliant with all measures required throughout the period of construction to date.
Also, throughout the period of development the Council inspects the site every two weeks to check call sediment controls and provide recommendations for continual improvements. This is supplemented by the contractors’ own internal audits and regular checks, all by specialists in erosion and sediment control. We have made a significant investment in erosion and sediment control and this all makes for a constant and ongoing comprehensive approach.
Additional to and to support the regular monitoring and audits there is an annual independent scientific monitoring survey conducted of the receiving environment which includes the areas flowing into the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve. We confirm that these ecological surveys have also not identified any identifiable issues or deterioration to the receiving environment and establish no degradation to the biodiversity of the Marine Reserve, marine life within it and fine sand qualities compared to pre-construction levels.
Inspection and sampling undertaken during heavy rain events has not detected any significant (heavy rain related) sediment deposition within the coastal environment. There have been times when the sediment retention ponds have overtopped their spillways but this has corresponded to heavy rain events when the catchment is also contributing background sediment to the coast. It is important to recognise that the development will not be able to stop all discharges and best practice is accepted by Council as the guiding principle.
There is no doubt there have been some sediment discharges from the development during heavy rain, but they have been limited and overall the development has followed best practice, and has had a very high level of scrutiny. The visual inspections during heavy rain have not identified significant deposits in the receiving environment and the ecological surveys of the receiving environment validate that.
Sampling during heavy rain events has shown that the Karepiro Stream itself is often a brown colour yet contains a relatively low level of suspended solids confirming the source of the darker sediment is natural. The catchment for the Karepiro Stream is very large at approximately 400ha. Most of the catchment is regenerating pine forest, heavy in organic material. The colour of the stream is predominantly coming from organic matter and tannins from the surrounding catchment. The stream usually runs a darkish brown colour, which is typical of many pine forest streams, where naturally occurring tannins can be present.
During heavy rain, sediment can come from both the wider catchment and the development area but monitoring of the site reveals that any discharges from the construction area are infrequent and limited. Construction sediment is normally characterized as a light brown colour.
Natural slips also occur on Weiti and contribute further to natural sediment discharges. Slips occur on a regular basis all over New Zealand during and following heavy rain fall events. In New Zealand heavy rain produces significant movement of soil and organic material to the sea and that is why so many streams, rivers and beaches turn brown in heavy rainfall. Weiti is no different to the rest of New Zealand in this sense.
Independent consultants confirm there is no construction sediment from Weiti construction works entering the Okura estuary from the Okura catchments within Weiti. There are no construction earthworks in that catchment. Our construction sediment at WeitiBay runs into sediment ponds. Our construction is conducted within the Karepiro catchment of Weiti.
Independent consultants also confirm that there is nearly no possibility that sediment from earthworks in the Karepiro catchment of Weiti is entering the Okura Estuary from the seawards side. The only stream within the Karepiro catchment inside Weiti with upstream sediment control devices discharges onto the very northern part of the beach at Karepiro Bay. The stream discharges into a highly dispersive environment on and beyond the beach. The high degree of dispersion is due to the highly active forces of wind, waves and tide at that point – unlike the Okura estuary which is depositional – you may refer to various Google Earth maps for confirmation. All the monitoring shows that any sediment is transported out to sea almost immediately after a large rain event and there is no residual sediment. Scientific review establishes that connectivity between the Okura Estuary and Karepiro Bay is limited.
We are committed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Weiti has a beautiful natural environment and our goal is to protect and enhance this further. We wish for more New Zealanders and visitors to share and experience its great beauty.