Millwater developer hears community’s voice

A plan to develop a piece of land in central Millwater, opposite Silverdale School, which was first made public in mid-August by TVNZ, resulted in a flurry of activity in the community – and what seems, on the face of it, to be a speedy resolution.

The land was purchased recently by the Orient Victory Travel Group of Hong Kong, which owns shares in China Comfort Travel Group. The company’s proposed development included accommodation for Chinese tour groups.

The previous owners of the site, Horncastle Homes, gained resource consent to subdivide the land into 46 lots.

When news of the land sale and proposed development spread, the Silverdale Community Action Group was formed, a Facebook page created, draft petition prepared and a public meeting called, which took place last night, September 5.

Attended by around 100 people, the meeting also brought out the big guns – Rodney MP (and Defence Minister) Mark Mitchell, both the area’s Auckland Councillors and two local board members. The focus was objections to the inclusion of tourist units – something that is permitted under the land’s Single House zoning but which residents feel is inappropriate in a residential area and would cause safety issues for children travelling to and from nearby schools. Other issues raised were pressure on infrastructure and the environment, and lack of contribution by tourists to the community.

Unexpectedly, the meeting was also attended by Millwater resident and Orient Victory NZ director Stefanie Zhang. She told the meeting that the company has heard the voice of community and as a result, the tourism component to the proposed development would not go ahead.

The sudden announcement drew applause, but Silverdale Community Action Group spokesperson Brian Mullan sounded a note of caution.

Speaking after the meeting, he said it was important that the developers take up Mr Mitchell’s offer to meet with the group so that there could be no doubt the tourist units are off the table.

Stefanie Zhang says she was able to make the announcement because there had been “many discussions back in the company and management understands the local situation”.

She says the company will now be no different from any other builders in Millwater and is focused on following the rules as they develop the land.


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