In recent weeks, Hill Country has conducted extensive road-building at Ocean Beach, on the land Andy Lowe would like to develop … or was it preserve?!
You can see the extent of these earthworks – adding many kilometers of roading – in this slideshow.
Most, if not all of this roading is in the area Hill Country euphemistically called the “Rural Conservation Zone” in its proposed plan change (in fact, some is in the so-called “Sensitive Ecology Area”). You’ll recall, Andy said, “Let me put 1,000 houses on the south end of the beach, and someday I’ll show you a plan for protecting the rest.” Yeah right!
Hill Country is apparently within its legal rights, since it claims this roading is incidental to the management of its rural property, and has not been found (yet) to have violated any sensitive cultural sites.
But there’s no denying that this roadwork is essentially a big “Screw You!” to the people of Hawke’s Bay.
When Hill Country’s plan change goes before independent commissioners and eventually the Environment Court, one consideration that must be taken into account is the degree to which the landscape involved has already lost its “natural” character.
And, of course, if kilometer upon kilometer of roading has been built already, the land might be more likely to be adjudged as already compromised, and therefore less deserving of protection. Keep in mind, these roads are not on the land Andy proposes to develop under his plan change; they are on the land he promises to protect.
A classic “Catch 22” against the public interest … Andy carves up the land now, so he improves his chances of carving up the land later. Ocean Beach is the victim of this assault.
To send a message to Andy Lowe, just go here … you might like to use or edit ours.
And what do you think of this Mayor Yule? Maybe you’d like to take a helicopter ride over Ocean Beach and look for yourself? Or maybe just congratulate Andy on his ingenuity?