Ocean Beach will not become Lowetown! Andy Lowe’s Hill Country threw in the towel today and officially withdrew its private plan change to develop Ocean Beach.

I suggest we all head out to Ocean Beach on Saturday to savour the beach and our victory. It’s not entirely clear yet whether we won the war … or Hill Country is just re-grouping. We’ll come back to that in a moment. But today we can celebrate.

In his five-page letter announcing Hill Country’s decision to withdraw its plan (available here), General Manager Phil Hocquard denounced Hastings Council’s handling of the Ocean Beach decision-making process. Funny how the process was working just fine for Hill Country before the people got involved!

Rather than concede to the will of the people, or acknowledge the opposition of other authorities like the Regional Council and DoC, or simply admit the project is an economic loser, Hill Country has chosen to attack the Hastings Council, which, better late than never, finally expressed reservations about the proposal.

In his letter, Mr Hocquard notes: “There is no doubt that development at Ocean Beach will continue to occur …” Later he concludes: “For the moment, this particular plan change process is at an end.” That — and the “legal brief” nature of the withdrawal letter — suggests we haven’t seen the last of Andy Lowe and Hill Country at Ocean Beach. Five pages to say … “We’re pullin’ out” … hmmm.

But they should make no mistake. Those protecting Ocean Beach — Future Ocean Beach, Friends of Ocean Beach, Baywatch, Dawn Bennett and the Maori community, and many, many others — will remain vigilant and fully prepared to campaign and litigate vigorously should anything like this proposal rear its ugly head again.

The lesson in this for the community is to do its homework, organise and persevere. Just because a big developer clicks his heels and the Council swoons, all’s not lost.


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  1. Amzing what the financial crisis can come up with,obviously development funds,will be like rocking horse dung to find,as will buyers, and buyers with enough borrowing ability,plus the invisible equity,that most have thrivedon,has all but dissapeared as well, so welcome back to the real world, and some new terms,for thodern high fliers like cash and deposits and savings.

    Sorry about some of the words,it won't let me correct them.



  2. Ocean Beach Plan killed by "vocal minority interests".

    Yeah right.

    Kia ora Phil Hocquard – I don't know of any local issue [including 'Save the Cape] that has involved so many people. A minority? I don't think so.

    Now perhaps the Regional Council can take steps to buy the land for a Regional park. It's about time they invested in Hawkes Bay – where their 'owners' live and their profits [ The Port of Napier for instance] come from.

    Well done to everyone!

    On the Saturday of the week long 'so-called' charette there were tears of dispair from many people – now maybe tears of joy this taonga is saved [for now!]


  3. How wonderful that the beach has had a repreive,

    What format will Saturday take, what time, it could be a place for thanks and praise all the folks and voices to celebrate and dance on th e sand

    Did the unlawful earthworks and ariel Photos of desicrated pa sites have anything to do with the other stakeholders withdrawal of support.

    We would be niave to think it was purely frustration that has caused the withdrawal of this plan. We should be aware it is purely economic drivers that started this whole thing and also brought a hold on current activities.

    Kia Kaha


  4. Great news.

    Congratulation to Future Ocean Beach & everyone who opossed. Hoquard's letter reads like a lovers tiff.

    Andy & Lawrence held hands in the Charette whose timetable saw the Plan Change by Nov 2006. If they'd had their way sections would be now for sale at Ocean Beach.

    It was HDC's blatant partisanship which spurred opposition.

    Lawrence turned when he realised he'd been baited, hooked, and filleted.

    Never thought I'd agree with any of Phil's opinions but he's spot on in citing HDC's attitude to process and the negligent absence of future planning.

    Even if Hill Country don't survive their liquidity problems there will be others who'll step in, so the mission to preserve Ocean Beach continues.

  5. Well done to the community of Hawkes Bay and beyond. Ocean beach has been saved from a reckless and poorly thought out development.

    Shame the developers did not have the grace to pull out with a degree of dignity instead they levied criticism at everyone else except them selves. It gives an insight into the delusional state that they were in throughout the whole process.

    Well done to all involved!!

  6. Can't make it out there this weekend

    but I trust the dark cloud which has been over Ocean for 3 years will be cleared and lifted.

    Well done the democratic process, Future Ocean Beach and particularly those ( relatively few) who lead us.

    As Chris suggests it probably is a reprieve, not a final resolution………………..??

    Is there more we need to do

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