The Recycling/Greenwaste Facility is towards the centre bottom.
A 3-d view of the area involved from Google Earth, the satellite pic was obviously taken about 6 years ago.
The intended Summerset Waikanae plan.
The intended main entrance was at 32 Park Avenue in the above pic, but has been shifted to 28 Park Avenue with the purchase of that property for demolition.
How this entrance will look, according to Summerset’s submission.
The north end of Alexander Street with the Summerset land in the background.
This area just east of the Expressway in Te Moana Road could be an entrance drive to the Summerset Complex, but would present its own problems.

by Geoffrey Churchman

In February 2019 the announcement was made in the Kapiti News (together with a picture of the mayor) of Summerset Retirement Villages having bought 25.5 hectares of land next to the Expressway on the east side and bordered by properties on the northeast side of Alexander Street, the north side of Park Avenue and west side of Ferndale.

The Resource Consent application for it all was then submitted to KCDC who in the ordinary scheme of things would have almost certainly put it out for either limited or full public notification. But before that could happen, the project was taken away from the Council and put into the new fast-tracking process set up by the government to mitigate covid-lockdown economic disruption last year, controlled by the Environment Protection Authority (see earlier post).

This pdf submitted to the EPA as part of Summerset’s application states: “approximately 8 ha to be used for the proposed village to be located centrally within the site.

“The village is proposed to total 293 retirement units, consisting of villas, cottages and townhouses, as well as 76 assisted living suites and 20 memory care suites housed in the main building. There are also 43 care beds. There will also be village amenities (such as a bowling green and hobbies shed) as well as roading. [The current application states there will be 217 “Independent Living Units”, plus accommodation for another 184: “Assisted Living Suites” (56), “Memory Care Suites” (20), “Care beds” (43), “guests” (45) and staff (40)].”

“The remaining 17.5 ha of balance land will be partly used for associated amenities and infrastructure. The balance land could also potentially be used to accommodate future residential lots. Any possible further subdivision would be applied for as a separate future consent.”

The application also states: “This application for Earthworks & Land-Use Resource Consent includes earthworks to construct the Village and approach road from Park Avenue. It includes earthworks and construction for an exit-only road which extends into the northern area of the Site, linking into Ferndale Drive.

That, according to Summerset is the extent of the Resource Consent application “at this time”, but it’s certainly not the end of their intentions – 17.5 hectares is plenty of space for a lot more housing.

Great, you might think, much of the country has a housing crisis including the Wellington Region.  But there is a big downside for those in the neighbouring streets.

Part of a letter written two years ago, distributed to local residents and to KCDC Resource Consent, raised issues but these were ignored by Council and Summerset was allowed to continue to plan their development with questionable challenges by Council regarding the project’s impact on local residents according to a spokesperson, Elaine Engman. She says no consultation was ever taken, because of Summerset’s request for no public notification, not even with those who would be most affected. 

“For the sake of window dressing the following comment was made”: (An excerpt from an article the Dominion Post of 27 August 2020):

Summerset development general manager Aaron Smail said regardless of what process was used for the consent, they would consult neighbours.

There was also this article in the Kapiti News.

Elaine says the above quote was in reference to Ferndale.  Summerset did not approach Ferndale until after Ferndale residents complained about the proposed construction traffic that was slated to be routed along Ferndale Drive.  “It seems Park Avenue/Alexander Street, residents who will be more impacted by this enormous project, don’t matter.  It looks like that the council is planning to close the Greenwaste site in about a year — just when Summerset would like to have an additional construction road.  So Park Avenue, with all of its current traffic and a principal bicycle route, will see traffic increase from approximately 3,000 to 4,000 vehicle movements per day, including 5 to 7 years of construction vehicles.”

She says the proposed main entrance road from 28 Park Avenue will go within just a few metres of 14 properties that currently have heavily vegetated gardens with Waimeha Stream flowing through a number of them.  Many more properties will be effected by noise and dust if 12 to 18 metres of the protecting sand dune is removed and a road built over and through part of it to access the Summerset complex. Some 300,000 cubic metres of earth are to be moved. The sandhill gives that part of Park Avenue a micro-climate and would somewhat protect residents from construction noise and dust.  

There is a curve on Park Avenue very near the planned entrance at 28 Park Avenue on the south side which will make it difficult for construction traffic, and elderly residents of the village when built, to turn safely onto Park Avenue.  

KCDC has been asked to make a submission to the EPA and it is the Council’s duty to decide what is best for all of the residents of Waikanae. 

The project appears to be almost a quarter smaller than originally proposed — maybe thanks to KCDC?   But most of the information still applies and for the reasons mentioned above, Elaine says the proposed impact on Park Avenue/Alexander St has only worsened.  “We are about to make what we think is a very strong submissions at the invitation of the EPA.” {The deadline is this coming Thursday.)

The EPA will then give the submissions to Summerset.  They (and all their experts) have 5 days to respond to the points raised and to submit their responses to the EPA.  Fortunately, the EPA is already going over Summerset’s submission, consisting of lengthy 28 pdfs, which can be examined here.  

From 15 July, the EPA has 25 days to come up with a verdict.  No more information can be submitted unless requested by the EPA.  Unlike at a normal EPA hearing, none of the group can volunteer to speak.  However, if the EPA is still undecided, then they can spend up to another 25 days to deliberate or request more information.  

As regards the views of elected Waikanae members of the Council, the Community Board has been presented with the issue on multiple occasions. Member Tonchi Begovich, who lives in Ferndale, declines to discuss it with us, but fellow board member Richard Mansell says that KCDC have now become just one of the submitters, albeit with a fairly big weighting as the new process relies on them for advice. 

Richard says: “As a concept I think this [village] is a good idea as the economic activity that is generated by a large development such as this will benefit the whole district – and taking large projects with high values out of the day to day running and slowness of a council run consenting process and speeds it up. But the access issues and traffic generation during construction are going to be huge. Hopefully, KCDC as part of their submissions point this out quite strongly.

“The problem of access for the site is unavoidable and probably made worse by the Expressway cutting off the site from the main Ngarara development. It now has a narrow strip next to the Expressway it could go over but a stream to cross, the narrow legal access off Park Ave, and a narrow access through Ferndale. To me it makes sense for an alternative access to go through the old tip entrance and over the tip area to their boundary. However, this is a reserve and comes with a whole lot of baggage. It has to be the best way to enter the site and while it still puts a lot of traffic on Park Avenue it does not go right next to the houses alongside the current entrance way. Park Avenue is probably the best option for entry because it is so wide in comparison to other streets, particularly Ferndale.”

The EPA has already made this request to Summerset Retirement Villages for extra information.