How we look after our environment

bush, landscapes, trees, development, harbour, character, significant natural areas

What’s it all about

This is about how we allow the city to grow while balancing the value our communities place on Porirua’s natural environment and harbour. 

To do this we need to clearly identify our most significant areas of bush, trees and landscapes, and apply levels of protection relative to their degree of significance. 

We also need to ensure sediment and pollutants are prevented from entering Te-Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour from land use activities. 

Issues

We want to ensure the significance of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and the wider Porirua coast is recognised in future development and planning decisions. Ngāti Toa and Greater Wellington Regional Council have already started doing this. 

We also need to work with the Regional Council to reduce sediment and other contaminants entering the harbour and to implement land use practices that enable the restoration of its natural processes. Plus, growth around the coast should complement the natural environment and allow for continued public access. 

To achieve this we propose to:

  • amend earthworks standards to improve sediment control
  • require all new developments to be stormwater neutral so there is no increased demand on the city’s stormwater system
  • encourage water sensitive urban design features in new developments, such as the creation of swales, rain gardens and wetlands and the use of better building materials.  
  • encourage water sensitive urban design in developed areas where upgrade work is taking place
  • manage zoning so that industrial and other potentially polluting activities are not located close to waterways to avoid any risk from accidental discharge
  • enable existing infrastructure (roads and pipes) to be upgraded to reduce discharge of contaminants into the harbour
  • enable the restoration of natural systems and ecological sites within the harbour catchment such as wetlands
  • require esplanade strips or reserves to be created when sites bordering the harbour are subdivided
  • consider planting as an incentive in rural areas to mitigate the impacts of sediment run-off when lot size is being reduced

Porirua City used to be covered in forests, 85 per cent of which has been removed. Some of the remaining forest cover is considered regionally significant and we have a responsibility to protect these sites, known as Significant Natural Areas. We are required to identify and protect these areas based on their levels of significance, while allowing people to carry out reasonable maintanence and works on private properties. Our approach needs to be regionally consistent.

To do this we propose to:

  • identify Significant Natural Areas and where appropriate restrict development within these areas to prevent further loss of valued biodiversity
  • investigate and identify Significant Natural Areas on public land that can be enhanced
  • allow for reasonable maintenance and works to be done on private properties in or alongside Significant Natural Areas without the need for resource consent

Porirua has many tree groups that are not Significant Natural Areas but may still have important visual and ecological value. We would like to identify and maintain the values associated with them, while allowing people to carry out reasonable maintenance and works on private properties.

To do this we propose to:

  • identify tree groups and maintain their value where appropriate 
  • allow for reasonable maintenance and work to be done on private properties containing identified tree groups without the need for resource consent
  • allow for pruning and vegetation removal to ensure clearance requirements for infrastructure standards can be met, such as for power lines

Natural landscapes contribute to the identity of Porirua. Some are more widely valued and significant than others and can be classified as Outstanding Natural Landscapes or Features. Examples could include coastal escarpments and significant ridgelines, such as Rangituhi / Colonial Knob. The Council has a legal responsibility to protect these areas from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.

To do this we propose to:

  • identify and protect Outstanding Natural Landscapes and Features. This would involve restricting development within these areas
  • ensure development within an Outstanding Natural Landscape or Feature is of a scale and form that protects or enhances the values of the identified areas
  • allow for a limited range of appropriate activities and works to be undertaken on private properties in identified Outstanding Natural Landscapes or Features without the need for resource consent