Lianne Dalziel: Residents group wrong, I can’t get involved

CONTROVERSIAL: Avonhead residents are unhappy they weren't notified about the resource consent decision for the new Summerset retirement village in the area.

The Avonhead Community Group has criticised Mayor Lianne Dalziel over the Summerset retirement village development.

Chairman Somnath Sarkar Bagchi says Ms Dalziel should have been more proactive when the group approached her for help over the non-notified resource consent process of the rest home.

Resource consent for the 267-unit retirement village on a 9.59ha site in Hawthornden Rd, Avonhead, was granted on a non-notified basis by the city council on June 22.

Professor Bagchi emailed Ms Dalziel in August last year and asked her to try and have the consent process publicly notified.

Ms Dalziel passed on the emails to the office of the city council chief executive Karleen Edwards.

Ms Dalziel told Western News yesterday the group was incorrect in thinking she could get involved.

“I cannot influence resource consent applications, as it is a statutory process. This is not in the interests of community engagement, but it is the law,” she said.

“The residents weren’t told about the [resource consent] hearings panel meeting because it isn’t normal practice to invite other parties at this stage of the process as that is the decision the panel needs to make,” she said.

But Professor Bagchi took issue with that response.

He claims city council staff had misinterpreted section 95D of the Resource Management Act, which requires the consenting authorities to decide if a development has a “minor” or “more than minor” impact on the environment.

Professor Bagchi said given the size of the project, it was “hard to believe” the project had a minor impact on the environment.

The resource consent decision stated the effects on neighbouring properties would be “less than minor”.

Professor Bagchi believed the intent of section 95D was to protect the interest of the local and surrounding areas of a development and the people who live in the area.

“The blatant disregard for this protection by a breach of the intent of the act is a serious matter and one that continues to go unchecked by councillors,” he said.

Christchurch Airport also unsuccessfully requested public notification of the Summerset Retirement Village in Avonhead.