Northland Regional Council's Commissioner's decision on D. Schmuck's resource consent application. 6th November 2018.
CONCLUSION AND OVERALL DETERMINATION
We have focused our assessment of the applications on the actual and potential adverse effects of the existing and proposed activities. We strongly disagree with Ms Prendergast that the submissions received do not raise any substantive issues.
The evidence before us confirms that the existing stormwater and wastewater management systems are inadequate, do not meet best practice and do not meet current environmental standards. It also shows that certain air discharge activities are required to be undertaken in a controlled work area and that this is not currently available.
The evidence also shows that the Applicant cannot comply with some of the key conditions of the existing consents to avoid adverse effects, such as avoiding direct discharge to the CMA, undertaking activities on an impervious yard surface, and using screens when water blasting. It is also clear that there is no certainty that the Applicant can or will comply with the proposed conditions, if, and when the slipway is refurbished. In fact, we have no details of the refurbishment planned and Mr Schmuck declined to inform us of these despite our requests.
In our view, there is no doubt that the Applicant’s existing boat yard activities are resulting in significant adverse effects on the quality of the receiving environment, cultural values and relationships with the CMA, the amenity of the coastal environment and the reserve, and public access to and along the CMA. These effects have occurred overtime and are cumulative. We consider that of poor management of discharges to air and land over more than 20 years and a lack of consent compliance and enforcement action have resulted in contamination of the surrounding land and the CMA.
Overall, we agree with submitters that these actual adverse environmental effects have occurred under the conditions of the existing consents. We agree with Mr Rashbrooke that the intention of the existing resource consents was that discharge activities would be undertaken within the boat yard property, except for large vessels that overhang the turntable. We agree that the reference to impermeable surfaces of the ‘yard’ should have been ‘boat yard’ to avoid misinterpretation. We consider the concreting of the slipway was intended to enable the collection of runoff from the boat yard property to prevent discharges to the reserve and CMA, not to enable discharge activities to be undertaken on the slipway outside of the boat yard property. We consider the Applicant has misinterpreted theconditions of the existing consents to suit his own purposes and plans for the boat yard property.
Enforcement action by both the FNDC and the NRC has been taken to prevent these adverse effects, but has not be followed through on the basis of enabling the Applicant to continue to operate his ‘small’ boat yard business and in the hope that the Applicant can, at some point, obtain the authorisations necessary to undertake activities within the reserve and comply with the conditions of consent and the 2010 Abatement Notice. This has proven to be unachievable over a period of nearly 20 years; and in our view, the evidence suggests this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. We therefore consider it is highly unlikely that the Applicant can comply with the conditions proposed which require infrastructure and mitigation measures within the reserve.
We have given careful consideration to granting consents for discharge activities to be undertaken within the Applicant’s boat yard, so that some level of boat servicing can continue. However, we are mindful this is not what is proposed by the applications; nor do we have sufficient evidence to demonstrate the discharges can be adequately controlled or to enable the formulation of appropriate consent conditions. It also appears the Applicant is intent on reducing capacity within the boat yard property to accommodate boat maintenance and repair and it remains unclear how the activities could be managed within the boat yard.
We find that the movement of the proposed wharf five metres to the north and closer to the shoreline and walkway is undesirable based on increased intrusion on the natural character of the land and sea interface. We consider the structure will obscure the natural rocky coastline and will intrude on the natural bush back drop and adjacent walkway. We have no evidence on the visual effects of the concrete grid, but consider there is potential for more than minor effects given its size and location near the shoreline and proximity to the other coastal structures.
The movement of the wharf will increase the separation between the boat yard and the wharf, and increases the area between the slipway and the wharf, as well as the area over which exclusive occupation is sought. We find that any increase in the area of CMA impacted by boat yard activities is inappropriate in this location and is undesirable. We find that the exclusive occupation of the area of CMA sought by the Applicant would have significant impacts on public use and access to Walls Bay and the reserve.
We consider the dredging is driven by both the Applicant’s desire to have all tide access to the new coastal structures and the movement of the wharf north into shallower water. We consider this is inappropriate for the location given the shallow profile of Walls Bay; and unnecessary if it is accepted there is no expansion or increase in DOBY activities proposed. Overall, we agree with submitters that any increase in use of the wharf or CMA for boat yard activities should not be allowed.
We find that the disturbance and dredging of contaminants around the wharf and slipway has the potential to resuspend heavy metal contaminants in the water column and disperse them across Walls Bay. We consider this could have significant adverse effects on marine life and potential human health effects. We consider this should be avoided and alternatives for remediation investigated. However, we consider this would not prevent the progressive maintenance and repair of the existing wharf.
Resource Consent Applications D C Schmuck APP.039650.01.01 6 November 2018 Report and Decision of the Hearing Committee
We do not consider there is sufficient land-based infrastructure to support a marina development. We find that a marina development is inappropriate in this location due to conflict with existing activities, public access and use, and adverse amenity effects on the public reserve and coastal walkway.
On the basis of the evidence, we find that the resource consents sought for the proposed coastal structures and their use and occupation, and for dredging should be refused.
For completeness, we record that without the further information and assessments provided after the initial hearing and the reconvened hearing, we would have refused the resource consents sought on the basis of insufficient information. The approach we have taken throughout the hearing process has sought to avoid this possible outcome and to ensure we were able to make a complete and robust assessment. We have endeavoured to ensure all parties had access to and the opportunity to respond to all information provided.
For the above reasons, it is our decision on behalf of the NORTHLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL, pursuant to sections 104, 104B, 105 and 107, and subject to Part 2 of the Resource Management Act 1991, to REFUSE the all of the resource consents sought.
Dated this 6th day of November 2018
Sharon McGarry Hearing Committee (Chair)
Cr Justin Blaikie Hearing Committee