Last week, the Environment Court slapped down a proposal, approved by the Hastings District Council and its independent hearings commissioner, to transform the Hawke’s Bay Golf Course into something more like a resort/housing complex.

This decision has huge implications for the HDC-proposed plan change that would permit construction of the regional sports park on prime horticultural land.

The Environment Court could not have been stronger in coming to the defense of the Heretaunga Plains … often citing the Hastings Council’s own policy mandates to do so.

The independent commissioner who was over-ruled in this decision is none other than Alan Watson, who has been hearing the proposed sports park plan change.

I trust Mr. Watson will be studying the Ngatarawa decision carefully! The adverse impacts of the proposed golf resort were peanuts compared to those of the sports park. Says the Environment Court re Ngatarawa: “It was the Commissioner’s view that the proposal was not contrary to the objectives and policies of the District Plan … our view is that it plainly is contrary to them.”

This is rather inconvenient timing for Mayor Yule and Sam Kelt!

I suspect Sam won’t be sharing the decision with too many potential sports park investors. Nor will its implications likely be mentioned by Mayor Yule in the public consultation documents (probably being printed as I write) furnished to Hastings ratepayers.

Interested readers, you can download the decision here.

Tom

P.S. If you’d like to send Mayor Yule a quick message on the sports park, BayBuzz has one for you here.

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1 Comment

  1. Heartening to have the E/Court upholding the integrity of the District Plan. For Council to over ride its own objectives in the Rural Resource Strategy makes a mockery of its own stated intentions, as so clearly stated in the judgement. With this precedent, hopefully HDC will stop carving up the Heretaunga Plains for development. The RSP Plan Change is not fundamentally different except it is the Council's own initiative which will get an even bigger slap if it comes to court.

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