Low impact design in the Long Bay Structure Plan; what happened?

Jan Heijs (North Shore City Council) and Dr David Kettle (D and B Kettle Consulting Limited). Prepared for 2008 Stormwater Conference.


The Long Bay Structure Plan has gone through a very lengthy process. The plan is located in the north of North Shore city and has a number of unique features such as the landform, the high quality Vaughans Stream and the Marine Reserve. In an Environmental Court ruling in 1996, Long Bay was allowed to be urbanised, but under strict conditions. In addition, the North Shore City Council is keen to protect and, where possible, enhance the existing natural environment. The vision of how Long Bay should be developed and how this should be expressed in the structure plan varied widely between the main landowner and the city. Last year, this case was presented at the Environment Court. This paper will summarise the key elements from the structure plan and discuss the major issues that were debated at court. Key areas that were disputed were the need to protect headwaters, the catchment wide approach versus branch-by-branch approach and to what extent low impact design should drive the footprint of the proposed development and the requirements that need to be hardwired in the structure plan.

All in all, the process - although very interesting - was frustratingly long and prohibitively expensive. This raises questions around the legal framework and possible imp;ication for other similar cases in the country.

At the conference, the court decision - hopefully available by then - will also be presented, and an updated paper including the court outcomes will be made available.

Jennifer Howe

Digital Content Manager