McDonald’s plan for a Havelock North outlet was approved by Council staff on Friday.
Here’s the HDC announcement:
The Hastings District Council has given the go ahead for a new McDonald’s restaurant in Havelock North.
Council has completed its consideration of the consent application and it meets the criteria to proceed, without requirement for public notification.
Strategic Projects Manager Ian Macdonald says “our decision has been peer reviewed by two independent parties, to ensure the integrity of the decision”.
“When assessing projects of this nature, Council is required to work within the legal framework set down in the District plan and Resource Management Act. The consent process requires a series of legal tests to be met and we cannot simply notify, if there is no sound legal basis to do so, Mr Macdonald said.
“The site is in an industrial zone and we have worked very hard to ensure the best possible outcome for Havelock North”.
Mr Macdonald says “The designers have gone the extra mile to ensure the building is aesthetically pleasing and fits into the surrounding environment”.
As the result of a review by an independent traffic consultant a number of minor changes will be made to the roads around the restaurant, to aid flow into and out of the parking area. This includes a slip lane which will ensure that public safety is paramount.
Trees are to be planted and landscaping undertaken around the perimeter of the site, landscaping strips will be created along three of the boundaries and planting in the carpark area will create a look that is in keeping with the style of Havelock North.
“The development will positively contribute to the streetscape along Karanema Drive and Havelock Road” says Mr Macdonald.
“While the building will be visible on entering Havelock North, it is considered that, compared to an industrial building that could have been built on the site, the proposed building will better compliment the surrounding area and wider landscape”.
The announcement takes pains to say the staff/Council had no discretion to require public consultation on the matter. Let’s take that in good faith, at least from a purely legal standpoint.
Nevertheless, having no consultation with the public whatsoever — even informally — is a political blunder and a stick in the eye to the many residents of Havelock North who were concerned about this development.
BayBuzz has had a survey online on this issue for months, although we haven’t promoted it recently. Over 300 individuals responded and of these, 34% were totally, philosophically opposed to having a McD’s in Havelock North. It offends their value set. Fifty percent accepted that McD’s couldn’t be singled out and discriminated against (as against other food outlets offering better, same or worse nutritional and other value), but wanted some input over the location, design, traffic, hours of operation and other issues.
And this opportunity for input is what HDC has failed to provide. Arguably, they could have even harnessed citizen interest in this matter to educate the public about broader issues and plans regarding future development of the village that have been sitting on the back-shelf for months.
But no. The bureaucrats prevailed … and their orientation is to minimise the fuss. The politicians failed the residents of Havelock North on this one.
And I say this as a consumer who has been known to order a double-cheeseburger or two! Hey, I’m from America after all.
P.S. By the way, you cost-benefit analysts might be interested in these stats on the ‘contribution’ McD’s makes to the New Zealand economy (from fact sheet submitted with consent application):
In 2010 McDonald’s New Zealand sourced the following from New Zealand suppliers, spending more than $150 million:
- 5.58 million kg of beef
- 2.3 million kg of chicken
- 1.4 million kg of lettuce for processing
- 230,000 kg of tomatoes
- 85 million buns, rolls, bagels and muffins
- 4.6 million litres of milk
- 15.6 million kg of potatoes for processing
- 1.2 million kg of cheese
- 10.8 million eggs
- 300,000kg of Hoki
Additionally, New Zealand producers exported more than $244 million worth of food to McDonald’s restaurants around the world in 2010, including the following:
- 6.7 million kg of cheese to 25 other McDonald’s markets (Australia, Asia, South Africa, Middle East and South America)
- 42 million kg of French fries to South East Asia and Australia
- 28 million kg of New Zealand beef (mostly to North America)