Iwi takes battle against Whakatāne petrol station plans to court

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Ngāti Awa iwi is opposing plans for a petrol station near Whakatāne, four months after battling two resource consents in the Rotorua High Court.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Lysaght Developments have each sought a judicial review of Whakatāne District Council’s decision in April to grant consent for an unmanned Mobil petrol station opposite The Hub.

The Ngāti Awa case centres around ownership of a private roadway, while Lysaght Developments’ opposition relates to a condition of the consent that prevents a right-hand turn into the site from the state highway.

Access to the petrol station site is via a private road, part owned by Ngāti Awa landowners.

The private roadway provides access to the Lysaght Developments offices on the left and the proposed petrol station on the right, the site of which is currently a paddock. It is also access for residential homes at the base of the cul-de-sac.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa chief executive Leonie Simpson said the iwi as owners of the private roadway were not notified of the application and therefore any effects on them were not considered in the decision-making process.

She said the runanga believed the council failed to undertake a proper process and failed to consider the effects of the proposal on the Ngāti Awa landowners.

The development of the petrol station is a permitted activity, but a resource consent was required because of the slightly tighter turning circle for trucks entering the site and for an oversized sign.

The consent requires a median strip to be installed along the centre of the state highway, preventing a right-hand turn into the site.

Lysaght Developments said this requirement was unnecessary and would increase the time needed to reach its offices.

The High Court hearing is scheduled for next week.

It comes four months after the High Court heard Ngāti Awa’s case against the granting of consents by Whakatāne District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for an expanded water bottling plant at Otakiri Springs. The runanga is still waiting on the outcome of this case.

Source: RNZ News – www.rnz.co.nz

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