Stevenson Group, proponent of the Drury South Project, anticipates its private plan change application lodged with Auckland Council in May 2011 to be notified for public submissions later this year and a hearing will follow thereafter.
Stevenson Group chief executive Mark Franklin says the project will convert 362 hectares of raw land adjacent to one of Auckland’s largest quarries into a hub for Group 1 industries, comprising construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and distribution activities.
Papakura District Council identified the need for a local construction cluster and a logistics and distribution hub as early as 2007, after Auckland’s population was forecast to grow to 2.0 million within the next 25 years.
With some 34 percent of Auckland’s workforce employed in Group 1 industries, such a growth will require more than 300,000 additional jobs to be established in the region on top of the 240,000 that were recorded in the 2006 census.
Assuming all known land supply options are fully developed and occupied in the next 20 years - Auckland will still not have sufficient capacity for an estimated 27,250 Group 1 jobs by 2031.
This under-supply represents almost half of the forecast growth in Group 1 employment to 2031. In the southern sector, it is estimated to represent a lack of capacity for 17,574 jobs. This equates to a 1,010ha shortfall in suitably zoned and serviced business land within the southern corridor.
Regional fragmentation and competing priorities before Auckland region was amalgamated has meant this structural under-supply remained unresolved over the last 10-15 years.
Left unaddressed, the problem is likely to represent one of the region’s largest impediments to business and employment growth.
Without an adequate supply of business land, Auckland’s population growth and employment objectives cannot be achieved - people and businesses will have to leave the region.
Stevenson, which had been concerned for some time about reverse sensitivity on its quarry and its haul routes, initiated discussions with PDC in 2008 to explore the potential for the Drury South area to fulfil their collective objectives.
“As would be expected with a project of this scale there are a range of views and opinions - many are supportive, and some are not,” Mr Franklin says.
Among the project’s expected benefits include the direct provision of close to 7,000 jobs, and space for an additional 12,000 jobs in the region.
It is anticipated to contribute about $780m to the local GDP yearly, and with multiplier effect, some $2.3b to Auckland’s GDP.
One-off impacts from construction activities is expected to contribute between $600m and $800m in regional GDP and from 8,700 to 11,500 jobs.
It will also allow for comprehensive planning of ecological and public access corridors along project boundaries and water courses.
Mr Franklin is confident the project will be accepted and committed to the planning process: “If you look at the Auckland Plan, the area where that quarry is and the area where the project is have been identified as suitable for development.”
Stevenson’s quarry in Drury is the largest closest to Auckland. It has been in operation for over 70 years, with some 150 years worth of resource remaining.
The Drury South project is located alongside SH1 between the Drury and Ramarama interchanges. It is traversed by three high-voltage power corridors and contains a major Transpower substation. It is also traversed by the main gas line to Auckland and Telecom’s main fibre optic cable connecting Auckland to the south.
After allowances for riparian corridors, public open space, stormwater treatment and roads, it produces a net business land area of approximately 223ha.
The Drury South initiative is the product of a three year public/private undertaking designed to assess the potential to deliver upon identified infrastructure and employment objectives.
The initial concept plans were completed mid 2009, and the non-statutory public consultation, including with the Papakura Kaitiaki Roopu which represents the interests of local iwis Ngati Tai, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamaoho, Ngati Te Ata and Pukaki Te Akitai, commenced in October 2009.
It took until mid 2010 to revise the plans to reflect public feedback and further project analysis.
Some 110 people attended the landowner information days and a further 100 people attended the wider community information days. More than 35 subsequent one-on-one meetings and 108 people provided written feedback.
More than 2,600 unique visitors have logged into the project’s website and 80 people are on the subscriber service.