Media Release:  Roskill Community Voice

8th October 2011, for immediate release

“Community members are calling on The Warehouse to  meet with them to discuss their concerns about the new store being  constructed on Pah Rd,” says Julie Fairey, Roskill Community Voice  member on the Puketapapa Local Board.

As legal channels to stop or change the “big box”  retail development on Pah Rd have been exhausted, the community is now  writing to the CEO of The Warehouse.  “Locals want to know how The  Warehouse intends to address their concerns around  noise, traffic, parking, flooding, and construction, as well as the  impact of the store on the Royal Oak Town Centre and nearby parks,” says  Michael Wood, Roskill Community Voice member on the Puketapapa Local  Board.

“As a company committed to New Zealand communities  we are hoping that The Warehouse will be open to public dialogue on this  issue, and that we can find some ways to mitigate the negatives of this  development,” says Wood.

A community letter was sent yesterday by 12  community members, including two Members of Parliament, to The  Warehouse’s CEO, Mark Powell.  The letter outlines the concerns and  questions of the community, and seeks a response from The Warehouse  by way of a community meeting to discuss the development.  Further  groups and individuals are being approached to support the community  letter, including the Maungakiekie-Tamaki and Puketapapa Local Boards.    A copy of the letter is appended below, after the  background information on the issue.

“We look forward to a positive response from The  Warehouse, and are hopeful that there are some steps they can take to  ease the concerns of the community.  Perhaps with some inventive  thinking The Warehouse can make sure this development  is a bargain for the local community too,” said Fairey.

ENDS

Julie FaireyContact: Julie Fairey, Julie.fairey@aucklandcity.govt.nz, 021 287 9900

Background:  The proposal to build a “The Warehouse” retail  store, with associated carparking and additional retail tenancies and  road changes, has been undertaken by Eldamos Investments.  The sites the  development would cover are 100 Pah Rd (formerly  the site of the Holeproof factory), 677, 677A and 679 Mount Albert Rd.   The total retail floor area would be 7500m2, with carparking less than  the minimum required under current regulations.

The resource consent notification for this proposal was notified on November 5th 2010.  It did not go in City Scene, as past notifications of this  nature would have, because City Scene was no longer being published as a  result  of the Auckland Council amalgamation which took effect on November 1st 2010.  Roskill Community Voice leafleted approximately 500 local  households in early December 2010 to encourage public submissions,  whether for, against or neutral. We were surprised  to discover that many locals did not know about the resource consent at  all, or The Warehouse’s plans.  This was only a matter of a few days  before submissions closed on December 10th.  With the assistance of  Councillor Cathy Casey, we sought an extension  to the submission deadline, however this was declined by the CEO of  Auckland Council.  Given the high level of contact we received from  locals on this issue we organised a public meeting in the area to gain  broader community feedback on the proposal. In mid  December 2010 over 70 people attended this public meeting about the  proposal and voted unanimously to oppose it.  In late January 2011   Roskill Community Voice began circulating a petition  amongst local  residents, opposing the development.

Of the 23 submissions made on the resource consent  application, 21 opposed the application, while the remaining 2 were  neutral.  Those submitting against included the James Wallace Arts  Trust, the Onehunga Business Association, and the  Parks, Sport and Recreation department of the Auckland Council.  All  local residents who submitted on the proposal indicated they opposed  it.  Carol Beaumont MP submitted against the proposal as well,  presenting a 300-signature strong petition to the commissioners.

The decision of the three independent commissioners was released on April 13th. A community meeting was held on 8th May to discuss  next steps, and from that efforts were undertaken by the community to  pursue an Environment Court appeal, but this was unable to proceed.   Since then an informal organising group of locals  has been established, and determined that the next step was to send a  letter from the community to The Warehouse raising the key issues and  seeking a response by way of a community meeting.  The letter was sent  by email on 7th October, and by post  on 8th October.

Community letter:

7th October 2011

Mark Powell Group Chief Executive Officer The Warehouse Group Limited 26 The Warehouse Way Northcote AUCKLAND 0627 Also sent by email via: redonline@thewarehouse.co.nz

Dear Mr Powell,

RE:  Pah Rd Warehouse development, Royal Oak

We, the undersigned, are writing to raise the  extensive community concerns about the development of a “The Warehouse”  store on Pah Rd in Royal Oak.  We want you to understand our concerns,  and to take on board our suggestions for mitigating  the effect of the development on our community. We hope that now that  the legal process around resource consents is complete, The Warehouse  will be open to a productive conversation with the community.  For the  store, and accompanying tenancies, to succeed,  it would be helpful to work with the community as much as possible.  We  write in hope of beginning that dialogue.

This letter will outline the key concerns and questions that the community has communicated to date.

We would like to invite representatives from The  Warehouse to attend a community meeting in the Royal Oak area in October  or November to have a dialogue with the community, by specifically  responding to the following points:

1. Areas of concern

Many people have identified concerns relating to  the Pah Rd site being an inappropriate place for big box retail.  While  this remains the view of some of those who are signatories to this  letter, as the development is now consented and  highly likely to proceed, we are focusing on concerns that can be  addressed by how The Warehouse chooses to develop their store and  associated tenancies and facilities such as carparks.

1.1.             Traffic

Mt Albert Rd and Pah Rd are currently very busy  arterial routes.  The intersection of the two streets is already  problematic.  It was scheduled for review by Auckland Transport, however  due to the Warehouse development that has been delayed,  pending the completion of construction.  The Warehouse’s plans rely on  some changes to the road layouts of Pah and Mt Albert Rds, to allow for  dedicated turning lanes into and out of the 100 Pah Rd site.  Given the  mode of transport for the Warehouse’s customer  base is  acknowledged to be largely by private car, it seems likely  that traffic on these roads will increase once the Warehouse is open, in  addition to an increase in truck traffic during construction.

1.2.             Parking

On-street parking is already at a premium in the  area, particularly during sports events at Seymour Park.  With Auckland  Transport introducing clearways on Pah Rd this is only likely to be  exacerbated in the near future.  In addition local  residents have expressed particular concern about where staff for the  Warehouse will park once it is operational, as the number of parks the  Warehouse indicated it would put aside for staff does not seem  sufficient for the number of staff likely to be working  in the building, let alone the associated tenancies.

1.3.             Noise, dust & rubbish

These are particularly concerns during  construction.   Locals report a problem with dust at the moment, since  the site has been levelled for construction.  Additionally there are  concerns about the possibilities for unintended use of the  carpark while the shops are closed, creating noise and rubbish for the  neighbourhood.  An example of such unintended use might be for “burn  outs” or similar gatherings inappropriate to the residential surrounds.

1.4.             Impact on Royal Oak Town Centre

While the commissioners found that the 100 Pah Rd  site forms part of the town centre, there will be significant  difficulties integrating the site into the existing town centre,  especially in relation to crossing Mt Albert Rd.  It seems  likely that shoppers visiting the Warehouse will drive there, possibly  even from the Royal Oak shops, and may indeed by-pass the existing town  centre as a result.

1.5.             Impact on Seymour Park

The parking aspect has been addressed above,  however there remain concerns about the flooding impact on Seymour Park  from having a large site directly across the road effectively sealed  over.

1.6.             Visual impact

Concerns have been raised regarding the monolithic,  and often brightly coloured, appearance of Warehouse stores and  signage.  This has been a particular worry for those interested in  protecting and enhancing the view from Monte Cecilia  Park and the Pah Homestead.  The Sanitarium buildings next door are  currently painted in a colour scheme that does somewhat lessen the  visual impact of the factory on the environment.

2.       Questions:

2.1          What is the planned building timetable?

2.2          What intentions does The Warehouse have around letting the associated tenancies on the same site?

2.3          What measures, if any, will The  Warehouse undertake to encourage the use of other modes of transport,  besides private cars, by staff and customers?

2.4          How does The Warehouse intend to integrate the new development with the Royal Oak town centre?

2.5          What measures, if any, is The  Warehouse taking with the development of the site to minimise the  lifting of flooding levels in surrounding sites, in particular at  Seymour Park’s sportsgrounds?

2.6          How does The Warehouse intend to  monitor noise and dust levels, particularly during construction, and at  what levels will the Warehouse take actions to decrease the noise and  dust levels?

2.7          What will the final development look  like?  We would appreciate the community being provided with a copy of a  mock-up of what the Warehouse development could look like from the Pah  Rd frontage, the Mt Albert Rd frontage, and  looking down over it from Pah Homestead.

2.8          Will the Warehouse establish a Liaison  Group with the local community, in a similar model to the group  operated with Sanitarium and local residents, to allow an avenue to  raise future concerns and seek to have them addressed?

In closing, we would appreciate contact from The  Warehouse acknowledging receipt of this letter, and indicating when in  October or November we could arrange a community meeting to hear your  response to these concerns and questions.

Please contact Julie Fairey on 021 287 9900 or Julie.fairey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz in the first instance.

We look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Suresh Rama, Garth Houltham, Anna Kofoed, Julie  Fairey, Dr Jackie Blue MP, Mike & Glenda Williams, David  Christensen, Michael Wood, Sharon Coyle, Jenny Goddard,  and Carol  Beaumont MP.

On behalf of concerned community members

Please share:

City Vision supporter? Please spread the word :)