Waiheke marina opponents ponder appeal after $200,000+ Environment Court decisions

Opponents of Waiheke Island’s first marina are considering whether to take an appeal against being ordered to pay more than $200,000 in court costs.

Sebastian Cassie, Save Kennedy Point (SKP) Inc chief executive, said today he was disappointed with Environment Court decisions against the group.

Asked how SKP would pay, Cassie said the group would “consider the judgment, get legal advice and we’ve already found grounds for appeal”.

The rulings sent messages to environmental and community groups and the wider public, he said.

“Councils are failing in their duties so environmental and community groups like ours have to act but then get punished for stepping into the shoes of the council and holding developers to account.

“It’s oppressive, wrong and doesn’t give confidence to anyone with a genuine environmental concern,” Cassie said.

But the developers say they spent more than $600,000 and the award fell far short of the real financial cost.

The Environment Court has issued two court cost decisions which favoured Auckland Council and Kennedy Point Boatharbour and were against marina opponents Save Kennedy Point Inc.

In the first decision, Judge Laurie Newhook granted Kennedy Point’s application that SKP pay it $102,420 and made an award for the council for $71,176. In a second decision, the same judge ruled SKP must pay the developers $42,579 and the council $26,424.

But a spokesperson for Kennedy Point Boatharbour said the award was only a fraction of what had been spent.

“For legal and experts, not including any of the other costs associated, [we spent] $177,593.98 and $409,707.06,” said a spokesperson for the developer today.

The developer also complained to the police about damage to equipment at the site and forwarded a statement from Inspector Beth Houliston, the district operations manager for Auckland City District.

“An investigation is underway into the reported damage,” that statement said.

“Our role as police is to keep people safe and feeling safe. This behaviour is of significant concern as it’s reckless nature puts people’s safety at risk,” that said.

The Herald has already reported how Bruce Plested, Mainfreight’s founder and chairman, backs SKP and has given it money.

“It’s a disgrace, a kind of madness, quite extreme. It’s grotesque if you see what they’re trying to do,” Plested said of Mair’s 186-berth marina proposal for Putiki Bay, Kennedy Point.

Ngāti Pāoa iwi members have also been camping at the site where Mair’s business began development in early March. Those iwi members are also vowing to stop the scheme, citing the kaupapa of the moana.

Plested said last month he had given opponents around $40,000 to pay for legal fees.

“I just give SKP money so it’s more of an even fight. We did a concert which raised about $40,000 for lawyers and I gave them an amount of money very similar to that three to six months ago,” Plested said.

He has a home on Waiheke and said the marina was not in the locals’ interests.

Meanwhile, Kennedy Point Boatharbour said today it would strengthen security “in response to serious concerns regarding the health and safety of the public, staff, contractors and protesters.

“On-site construction is currently paused pending the outcome of an application for interim orders led by opposition group SKP. Activity taking place at the site this week will be associated with implementing new security measures,” Kennedy Point Boatharbour said.

These security measures were designed to clearly identify the construction site footprint and include increased onsite signage and security fencing on land and on the water.

The site fencing was designed to allow access to the breakwater rocks by any penguins who may use crevices in the rocks for burrows, the developer said.

Scott Fickling, marina project manager said: “Our priority continues to be ensuring the safety of members of the public, our staff and the construction crew as well as the protesters. We continue to respect the rights of people to protest as long as they do so safely. The existing infrared penguin monitoring surveillance cameras are also being moved this week from their current position on the barge to a new platform.”

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