Locals fight development near Okura estuary

Locals fight development near Okura estuary

An Auckland community is anxiously awaiting a council decision on whether houses will be built on a site bordering a scenic reserve.

The Unitary Plan recommends allowing construction near the Okura estuary, but locals want it left alone.

It may be the last untouched estuary on Auckland's eastern coastline, home to wildlife and wanderers. But the prospect of houses being built there is upsetting to locals.

"If it goes through we lose a very special place," says Keep Okura Green chairman Peter Townend.

The land south of the Okura reserve has been fought over for 30 years.

Even the Auckland Council is opposed to the proposed construction, but the city needs houses and Todd Property Development has plans to build them. Up to 1000 homes could be built on the site.

The Unitary panel has proposed the city be allowed to spread north, bringing it right up to the south Okura estuary.

"This development will impact heavily on it and take away the wilderness feeling that it currently has," says Mr Townend.

One environmental study of a stream near the development says there's more sediment there than there should be.

However, the developer who has started building a road disagrees and says the quality of water contains less sediment now than it did previously.

On Monday locals and developers will know if it's going ahead or not.