The Environment Court has refused consent for a marina in Matiatia and reserved its decision on the question of costs.
Local opposition under the banner of Direction Matiatia had raised $430,000 to fight the proposal, which Principal Environment Judge L J Newhook said had polarized “a sizeable portion of the population of Waiheke Island”.
The 130-page decision comprehensively canvassed all aspects of the case and concluded that effects of the proposal put forward by island businessman Graham Guthrie were “more than minor”.
The adverse visual, landscape and amenity effects from the proposed marina would be considerably more than minor (and in the case of the breakwaters and deck, very high), said Judge Newhook.
The applicant, Waiheke Marinas Ltd, had striven to tailor its draft conditions of consent to mitigate effects as far as possible, he said.
However, “in a way that huge effort has ironically illustrated the difficulties of mitigating large structures on water and on or near the foreshore and ultimately the inappropriateness of the proposal”, he concluded.
The Court’s consideration of kaitiakitanga had shown that adverse effects under this head also militated against a grant of consent.
The judgement was released within a working week of the Christmas deadline that Judge Newhook had promised those who had participated in the marathon court process.