In case you were imagining that Andy Lowe is planning to build a just few condos on Ocean Beach, wake up!
What his Hill Country is proposing to do, with the complicity – so far – of the Hastings Council, is build a small city at Ocean Beach …
1,000 homes is just the tip of Andy’s iceberg. Add to those an equestrian center for events of “international significance,” helipads, liquor stores, day care centers, retail shops, conference and educational facilities, health care services, roads, homes for the aged … and more.
Does ANYBODY, other than a handful of Councillors and Hill Country’s entourage really want a city at Ocean Beach?! When and where was this public demand expressed?
Let’s put it bluntly: a tiny coterie of insiders proposes to trash – irrevocably – the pristine natural environment the rest of us know as Ocean Beach. And build in its place, Lowetown.
“Lowetown” and “Ocean Beach” can’t possibly co-exist. They are mutually exclusive concepts. The notion that Andy can build a small city at Ocean Beach and yet preserve its special character and appeal is ludicrous. Period.
Hastings Councillors should have protected Ocean Beach and the public interest at the outset. They should have fronted up and said “No thanks. Andy.” They failed us.
So now we’re staring at the official plans for Lowetown, forced to comment on such micro-issues as the distance between liquor stores and residential areas, the size of commercial buildings, standards for waste transfer stations, the need for “sight shafts,” the measures taken to mitigate odours, and operating hours of the helipads.
There is still one last opportunity for the Hastings Council to change course and avoid Andy’s iceberg. The Council can at least vote to take a more restrictive position via a Council submission in the RMA process. Some Councillors are ready to do so.
Meantime, the rest of us must get our opposition to Lowetown on the public record.
One way is to sign and circulate this Friends of Ocean Beach petition (download here). Please return completed petitions, even if just your own name, by February 4 (contact info is on the petition). You can help give Councillors opposed to rampant development at OB the ammunition they need.
The second step you can take is to make an official submission under the RMA process. Official submissions must follow a prescribed form and be entered by February 29 … you can click here for information about how to make your submission.
The timing is urgent. Right now, the beach you know, enjoy and revere as “Ocean Beach” is about to be obliterated by Andy’s iceberg. We can’t let that happen.
Say NO! to Lowetown today.