Ratepayers spend more than $1.6m on seawall consent

The final costs to Auckland’s ratepayers of seeking resource consent for the proposed Orewa seawall are in, and total more than $1.6 million - $1,678.604.

This final figure, obtained by Hibiscus Matters under the Official Information Act (OIA), covers Auckland Council’s resource consent application for the wall between Kohu Street and Marine View and its subsequent appeal to the Environment Court when the application was declined.

The court heard the appeal two months ago (HM May 22) and is currently considering its verdict.
The bulk of the cost is for expert advice, provided separately to two departments of Council so they could oppose each other in court. This cost of this advice totals $1,121,766.

The remainder is legal fees, as two departments retained separate legal services. Total legal fees provided under the OIA are just over half a million – $556,838. That figure could actually be considerably higher. The Ombudsman cannot provide specific costs for legal services provided by DLA Piper, as this company has a fixed contract with Council for legal support on all regulatory matters and it is not possible to separate out the seawall appeal costs.

The numbers
• Expert advice
Pre-hearing - $584,085; Court hearing - $537,681. Total $1,121,766

• Legal fees
Pre-hearing  $270,703; Court hearing $286,135. Total $556,838

Meanwhile, Auckland Council has moved on to begin studying what can be done on the Orewa Reserve section of the beach. Finding erosion control measures for this part of the beach is Council’s second priority after the Kohu-Marine View section.

Auckland Council Manager Community Parks and Places Martin van Jaarsveld says Council has started assessing this next section of the reserve and beach and options will be developed over the coming year.

These will be presented to the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board for consideration. “At this early stage, we do not have a timeframe for public consultation yet,” Mr van Jaarsveld says.

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