In a terrific victory for due process, the Environment Court has decided to hear the appeal opposing the Regional Sports Park! Exchanges of evidence and rebuttals will now occur over the next few months, into May.
The Court rejected arguments by the Hastings Council and the new Sports Park Trust, who challenged the right of citizens opposed to the complex to make their legitimate appeal under the Resource Management Act. Council and Trust lawyers had sought dismissal of the appeal, based on technical objections to the submission and appeal papers filed by the HB Land Protection Society.
BayBuzz asked Allan Baldock of the Society to comment on the reasons for their appeal. He explained:
“The issue of planning and the use of high class soils have been of concern to a large number of people for some time. The people involved in submitting to council and now challenging the plan change are deeply concerned about one of our region’s major assets and the piecemeal destruction of this asset by ad hoc and random development.”
“This site in particular is part of a 180ha block which is susceptible to being lost to urban sprawl. It is a block of high quality soils, with a great water resource and improvements such as those invested in through the Heretaunga Plains drainage scheme. It is too valuable to be lost to future generations.
Crop production in this area is at the higher end and to build or develop on this land is sheer folly. We should be celebrating and singing from the rooftops the fact that Hastings has such elite soils and can utilise these effectively now and into the future, more so than any other region in this country.”
The Council/Trust legal team has also sought to strike me as a supporting appellant joining with the Land Protection Society. I filed as a so-called “section 274 party” under the RMA. The Court has invited me to further argue my right to join the appeal, which I will do. But regardless of that outcome, I’ll be supporting Allan and the Society all the way.