‘The largest petition ever presented’

CHALLENGE: Gayleen Mackereth, chair of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association, on Thursday presented a petition and power point presentation to Auckland Council in relation to intensive development which would block views from Stockade Hill and Crawford Reserve. Times photo Wayne Martin

Howickians packed the public gallery of the Reception Lounge of the Auckland Town Hall last Wednesday to hear Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Gayleen Mackereth present a petition  calling for council to stop high-rise developments blocking our iconic views from Stockade Hill and Crawford Reserve.

This was the largest petition ever to come from this area and was signed by an impressive 6700 people. It was only possible to present this petition once the Court process was exhausted.

“This place, and this view, is Waahi Tapu for Howickians. It is our memorial to our war dead and the birthplace of our combined history. So many present-day Howickians can trace their ancestors to the early settlers who sheltered here on Stockade Hill. Our people came by sea – Howick Beach is our Waka landing place, Stockade Hill is our Site of Significance to all citizens, and the views of the Gulf are our Taonga, said Mrs Mackereth.

By the petition HRRA also claimed that as the views from Stockade Hill and Crawford Reserve comprise an outstanding natural landscape and feature of Howick, the Authorities have a statutory duty (under Section 6 (b)) of the Resource Management Act (1991) to protect these from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.

“We will await the council’s response to this challenge,” Mrs Mackereth said.

“We are demanding that a new viewshaft be put in place immediately to protect these views and that a Plan change occur to remedy the situation permanently.

“The next step in our campaign is to ask all our supporters to email the mayor and councillors urging them to do the right thing and stop the proposed intensive developments blocking the iconic views in perpetuity and to return the area to former height limits of 8 metres in keeping with the rest of the Cockle Bay zone.”

Mrs Mackereth wish to offer “a huge thank you to all the readers who have contributed to our fundraising and supported us by signing our petition”.

“None of this could have been done without your support. No more donations for the court case are required,” she said.

“The good news is that our fundraising total today of $31,457 means that we have reached our goal to raise sufficient money to pay our legal costs.

“Any further donations will be used to put Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association back on our feet then to re-establish the depleted legacy “High-rise fighting fund”.