How it all went - Coastal Engineering Challenges in a Changing World

The Coastal Society event held last Thursday night in the 4Sight Offices was a great success. Thanks to Dr Steven Hughes from Colorado, who is visiting New Zealand as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, in conjunction with the University of Auckland and NZ Coastal Society.

It was good to discuss the challenges around present-day coastal engineering, with other passionate professionals in the region. Dr Steven Hughes talk was videoed and live streamed, we will be adding a link a little later on.

Water quality in Coromandel streams

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During the summer 2017, 4Sight investigated the water quality in four Coromandel catchments for the Waikato Regional Council (WRC), to identify potential causes of contamination. The results of the study have helped WRC to better understand contaminant sources in the area, improving responses to coastal water quality issues and highlighting opportunities to reduce contamination in these streams. The full investigation has just been published. You can find it here

A relic of the Jurassic period - Spotlight on the Kahikatea

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Our Ecology Consultant Dr. Arie Spyksma shines the spotlight on New Zealands tallest forest tree this week.

Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) grows in excess of 60 metres on occasion. Amazingly, these trees are a relic of the Jurassic period, with pollen and leaves being discovered in Jurassic rocks (160 – 180 million years old) where they were likely pollinated by pterosaurs, not birds.

Historically there were widespread kahikatea forests through New Zealand’s low lying areas, with these trees thriving in frequently damp areas such as floodplains and swamps. Unfortunately, the expansion of New Zealand’s agricultural interests and the conversion of many low lying boggy areas into uniform expanses of pasture lead to the demise of much of our kahikatea forest. The best place to still see these forests in their prime today are the extensive freshwater swamp forests in Westland.

These kahikatea made up part of a small remnant grove in South Auckland, near Pukekohe. At the time of taking this photo (March) many of the fleshy seed receptacles had ripened (changing from green to orange/red) and were being engulfed by a litany of tui and kereru, a highly effective dispersal mechanism. 

Arie’s field of expertise is extremely wide. He works largely in ecological impact assessment, which involves environmental monitoring, marine monitoring, fauna survey, report writing, scientific research, field research, conservation and ecological restoration. 

For more information on Arie view his profile here.

 

National Environmental Standard for Telecommunication Facilities 2016

An updated and expanded National Environmental Standard for Telecommunication Facilities (NESTF) was gazetted on the 24 November 2016, and will come into effect on 1 January 2017. 4Sight has been working closely with the Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) to develop and refine the new regulations. 4Sight's ongoing involvement in this project is based on our proven experience in central government policy development, practical planning experience and knowledge of the telecommunication industry through our resource consent acquisition work for 2degrees across New Zealand. 

The process for developing the 2016 NESTF has taken a number of years, and responds to increasing demands for greater mobile services and technologies and modern forms of telecommunication facilities. The 2016 NESTF will support the development of a wider range of telecommunications infrastructure, particularly Ultra-Fast Broadband, the Rural Broadband Initiative and fourth generation mobile infrastructure, through permitting a wider range of telecommunication facilities in locations inside and outside road reserves. 

A key focus of 4Sight’s role in this project has been to ensure the NESTF achieves its objective of ‘providing greater national consistency for a wider range of telecommunications infrastructure and locations’ while ensure environmental effects are appropriately managed through appropriate conditions and allowing for local control to be retained in areas with particular significance or value. This process has benefited from an exposure draft process which involved working with a Technical Advisory Group comprised of industry and local government representatives to test and refine the regulations. 

The focus of 4Sight is now on developing a comprehensive user guide for the NESTF to help explain the technical regulations in a more concise and understandable manner and to facilitate the efficient and effective roll out of the NESTF early next year.

Here is the press release for more information or you are welcome to get in touch with Jerome Wyeth for more information.

'Sink or Swim' - South Auckland Secondary School Awards for a sustainable future

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Despite the crutches, Alice was thrilled to be a Judge in the inaugural Tiaki - 'Sink Or Swim' Awards, South Auckland Secondary Schools Environmental Competition. ‘Sink or Swim’ (SOS) currently in its first year culminated in an expo and awards ceremony on 2 August at the new Sir Noel Robinson Conference Centre (Vodafone Events Centre). The pilot has been a resounding success, with students from four South Auckland schools partnering with local businesses to conceptualise and develop environmental solutions to solve real world problems. The projects contributed to Tiaki’s vision 'A future where youth protect, enhance and beautify the South Auckland environment through innovative actions that support a sustainable future. The judges included 4Sight’s Alice Andrew, Anne Gibbon from Callaghan Innovation, Michael Grobelny from AUT – Faculty of Design and Creative technologies, and Sir Noel Robinson himself. After some intense presenting from the students and judging the students then took to the new Wero White water park. Alice is looking forward seeing the awards gain momentum and can’t wait to see what amazing entrants there will be next year. 

Congratulations to Manurewa High as overall winners for their invention to produce a cost effective solution for rental or Housing NZ homes where moisture is a problem. Manurewa High worked with Aeroqual to address the health hazards associated with excess moisture in damp, mouldy homes by 3D-printing an extractor fan with a built in timer and humidity sensor.  

Other projects included a 21st century school community garden, from Aorere College and Opus and an Alternative Energy Project from Sancta Maria College, who teamed up with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare to explore alternative ways to produce energy.  Two schools, Manurewa High School and Rongomai Primary School, worked with Aeroqual on a project to measure, map and reduce CO2 levels in the classroom through the use of simple sensors and natural organisms such as plant life. It was impressive to hear the primary school students from Rongomai explain how excess CO2 levels in the classroom contribute to lethargy and lack of concentration.  

Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan - What's coming up

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After 2 ½ years of submissions and hearings, the Independent Hearings Panel will be releasing their recommendations to the Council on 22 July 2016. The Councillors will have until 19 August 2016 to either accept or reject the recommendations of the Panel, and appeals regarding the provisions must be lodged with the Courts by 16 September 2016. 

How much will change?

Like you, we do not know what the Panel’s recommendations will be.  We expect that they will adopt the agreed positions that submitters and the Council have come to, however they are not likely to adopt all of the Council’s submissions. We also understand that the look and feel of the Plan will be different to the current version.

Appeals

Under the specific legislation for the Unitary Plan there is a reduced scope of appeal available.  In general, appeals are only able to be made on points of law (to the High Court) unless the Council does not accept the recommendations of the Panel.

What does this mean for you?

The rules are changing - there are likely to be activities that you can do now that you won’t be able to do without consent.  Equally there could be activities that are more permissive than currently.  We understand that some zoning is also likely to change, this could be upzoning of some residential areas or changes from rural to urban.

There will be uncertainty – it is likely there will be a number of appeals made on the Decisions Version of the PAUP.  It will take the Council some time to identify what appeals affect what parts of the PAUP.

There will be delays – we except that due to the new statutory planning regime the Council processing times will be extended as they work to address applications under the new rules and criteria.  It’s likely there will be higher processing costs due to the need to address both the legacy plans and the new plan.

Consenting Regime – it may be beneficial for your project to lodge prior to the Decisions Version being notified (August), or alternatively it may be beneficial to wait.  We can provide advice on this for you.

When will it all be over?

Only after all appeals have been settled will we have the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) and (apart from the Hauraki Gulf Islands) we can disregard all legacy plans.  However, it could be that aspects of the appeals are settled more quickly than others so some areas of Auckland will only be subject to the new plan.

We’re here to help

4Sight Consulting has a strong relationship with the Council and will be kept informed of how the Council, in particular the resource consents department, will be implementing the Decisions Version of the PAUP.  We can provide advice to you on when to lodge consent, and whether, as a submitter, it is worth lodging an appeal.

For help or advice, speak with one of our planning consultants

 

Sustainable 60 Awards 2014

Sustainable 60 Awards 2014

4Sight Consulting has been announced as a finalists for the 2014 Sustainable 60 Awards. There will be some stiff competition with 20 companies in the running for the title of New Zealand’s most sustainable business. The annual Sustainable 60 Awards recognise sustainable business excellence.

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Okahu Bay Mussel Reef Restoration Project Commences

Okahu Bay Mussel Reef Restoration Project Commences

100 years after the sewage pipe that introduced pollution and disease into Ōkahu Bay was constructed, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are implementing one of a suite of restoration programmes that strives to restore the mauri (life force) of Ōkahu Bay on behalf of the hapū and the Auckland community.

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Diversity Awards 2014

 Diversity Awards 2014

On Wednesday 27 August our company culture was recognised by the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust in the 2014 Diversity Awards, with the team at Andrew.Stewart Ltd taking home the Work Life Balance Award.

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