What’s happening now

Sunday 22 September, 4pm – The Vic Cinema in association with Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society presents a special screening of Frederick Wiseman’s film opus, Ex Libris – The New York Public Library. The film goes behind the scenes of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world and reveals it as a place of welcome, cultural exchange and learning. It exemplifies the deeply rooted belief in the individual’s right to know and be informed. It is one of the most democratic institutions – everyone is welcome.

We are in a transformation from the wonderful but passive repositories and spaces to Education Centres

The library is not about books, it’s about people

“The way Wiseman structures Ex Libris to reveal the inner workings and outward value of the New York Public Library exemplifies that [novelistic] approach perfectly, capturing the massive scale of the institution, but also, in its most beautiful and compelling moments, the one-on-one connections made with the people who walk through its doors.” –Corey Atad, Vice

The screening is listed as part of the Festival of Architecture, 22 – 29 September, 2019 with events across Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Nelson, New Plymouth, Queenstown, Tauranga and Wellington.

One Special Screening only, 4pm Sunday 22nd September at The Vic Cinema Devonport
  • What: Ex Libris – The New York Public Library
  • Where: The Vic Cinema, 48-56 Victoria Road, Devonport
  • When: 4pm, Sunday 22 September
  • Tickets: $20
  • Runtime: 197 mins, Rated E, Documentary
  • Book Direct Here (opens in new window)

25 July 2019 – At its 2019 Annual General Meeting for shareholders, Ryman Healthcare’s Chairman, Dr David Kerr assures the Society it has made changes to the way it consults in the early stages of proposed development, and that the experience gained by the ‘Devonport planning process’ was valuable. CEO Gordon MacLeod assures the Society that those changes are being applied at a proposed new development in Karori, Wellington. The Society is pleased to confirm to the Board and Company’s shareholders that in Devonport, ‘new residents to the William Sanders Retirment Village are being welcomed by the community with open arms’. The resolutions were documented by The New Zealand Herald the following day.

Video accompanying The New Zealand Herald’s report of the Ryman Healthcare 2019 Annual General (Shareholders) Meeting.

14 June 2019 – Talks between The Department of Conservation, Ryman Healthcare and Ngāti Whātua to re-open Polly’s Park/Wakakura Marginal Strip walking track to the public are reported to be productive. “Work will probably not commence until the site dries out in spring”.

Eastern end of track through Polly’s Park in 2016

22 March 2019 – The Department of Conservation is reported to be in talks with Ryman Healthcare about re-opening the 20-metre marginal coastal strip known as Polly’s Park to the public.

17 November 2017 – Following a successful movie-night event, the Society announces is has achieved its fund-raising goal of covering all legal, planning, and design costs associated with the successful Environment Court Appeal. The Society thanks all those who have contributed, with time, skills, goods, and donations.

2 October 2017 – Construction of the Devonport retirement village at Wakakura Precinct commences and the survey of resident’s expectations closes. While the survey’s final results are worked through it shows an immediate need for general information about the effects of construction and how they are managed. The Society publishes a limited-run flyer for directly effected neighbours.

DPPS Community Construction Flyer (PDF version)

5 September 2017 – A short, anonymous survey commenced to investigate resident’s needs and knowledge around the Wakakura Precinct development. The aim is to discover information gaps,  vulnerable residents, and preferred communication channels. Can you help? Take the short 3-5 minute survey by clicking this link here.

28 July 2017 – A Fizz Quiz fundraiser at Vauxhall School Hall, Narrowneck raises just under $6K towards the legal, planning and design costs of the successful Environment Court appeal. The Society announces it has just $3K left to raise to conclude this positive community action.

7 June 2017 – The Environment Court orders the appeal settled, putting into effect the agreement reached at mediation. This was one of the first planning decisions under Auckland’s Unitary Plan and it has been put right by sustained community engagement.

27 May 2017 – To cover the cost of the legal, planning and design expertise in the successful appeal, the sell-out fundraising screening of The Viceroy’s House at The Vic Cinema Devonport raised over two thousand dollars! Thanks to everyone who donated prizes and attended this great night out.

12 May 2017 – A joint statement by Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society, Ryman Healthcare, Urban Auckland and The New Zealand Institute of Architects (Auckland Branch) announces a five week mediation process is complete. Pending Court approval the appeal is over and issues satisfactorily addressed. Fundraising efforts continue to cover the costs of legal, planning and design expertise engaged for the mediation process on the community’s behalf.

12 April 2017 – Organisers of The Great Lake Road Yard Sale were overwhelmed with the community’s response,  clearly pointing to a ground swell of support along the Devonport peninsula. The event raised $19k for the community’s Environment Court appeal. 

17 March 2017 – Lake Road’s largest ever garage sale in aid of appeal – April 8th and 9th  2017. Check https://www.facebook.com/lakerdyardsale/.

6 March 2017 – Media Release: The New Zealand Institute of Architects and Urban Auckland join the DPPS’s Environment Court Appeal

28 February 2017 – DPPS launches its fundraising appeal to raise the $75k needed to fund the Environment Court appeal. A Give a Little Page raises $3000 in its first week. A raft or fundraising activities are planned.

9 February 2017 – Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society (DPPS) appeals the Auckland Council decision to the Environment Court

January 2017 – Ryman Healthcare receives results of Auckland Council Commissioners Hearing – consent approved.

The Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society (Incorporated) has lodged an appeal with The Environment Court against a resource consent granted to Ryman Healthcare to build a large retirement village at Ngatargina Bay, Devonport. The site is known as the Wakakura Precinct in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

 Detail from Ryman Healthcare’s consented application 

Details of the appeal

The significant adverse effects of building bulk, scale and overall dominant character of the development, in particular:

  • The Village as a collective design is not cohesive and the overall scale, bulk and wider dominance effects create a visual wall of buildings detached from the background context;
  • The approved design will not integrate well within the Ngataringa Road streetscape or its Waitemata Harbour coastal context;
  • The bulk, scale and overall dominant character of the development will be clearly visible from the southern side of Ngataringa Bay, including Ngataringa Park, which creates adverse visual and dominance effects;
  • The approved design will not protect neighbourhood amenity;
  • The approved design fails to carry through the street pattern between Ngataringa Peninsula and Devonport which results in a lack of restraint, proportion, connectivity and integration with the wider environment and neighbourhood;
  • The existing and proposed planting is insufficient to screen the significant adverse visual and dominance effects of the Village;
  • The approved design creates a separation of the Village from the street and neighbourhood resulting in dominating building walls and inappropriate outdoor spaces; and
  • The buildings individually and cumulatively create wider dominance and visual effects that are more than minor.
    The proposal is contrary to objectives and policies of the Auckland Unitary Plan.

The proposal is contrary to policies and assessment criteria of the Devonport Peninsula Precinct Plan (DPP). In particular:

  • Every building proposed, with the exception of one will exceed the Devonport Peninsula Precinct height limits;
  • The building design does not ensure an appropriate building height transition to the residential built form of the locality;
  • The development as proposed does not ensure a mix of building height as viewed from streets, public open spaces and external boundaries of the site;
Detail from Ryman Healthcare’s consented application

The first of six

Best Practice example of terraced apartments, evidence of Richard Reid to Hearing Panel; Newton apartments, Olympic Park, Sydney – Architect: Bruce Eeeles

The community’s desire for design standards

In evidence to the hearing panel, a number of Devonport architects showed there are other design scenarios that could achieve more positive outcomes; greater diversity of form and scale, greater site porosity and pedestrian accessibility, enhanced view-shafts and more efficient use of the land …..it’s all about a well-managed design process to achieve goals that satisfy a properly motivated developer and the community.

Concept drawing of Alternative Retirement Village for Devonport by Ken Davis Architects and Herriot plus Melhuish Architecture

As commissioner Serjeant notes in the summary of his dissenting decision

.. the RPS provisions of the Unitary Plan envisage both increased intensity and a high quality built environment, the two goals are not mutually exclusive, as set out in the Auckland Plan.

Evidence diagram submitted by Geoff Richards Architects to demonstrate increased visual porosity

In a nut-shell, whether a development occurs on the Wakakura Precinct at Ngataringa Bay, Devonport comes down to the importance of good quality design and having a robust regulatory process to ensure that this occurs. Neither has yet been discovered as a result of the Ryman proposal.

Best Practise

At the hearing Chris Butler, Principal Urban Designer for Auckland Council submitted a graphic of the best practice example of four storey development; The Issac in Grey Lynn, Auckland.

  • recessed ground floor facade
  • material banding to add interest and break down the scale of the facade
  • unique but complimentary buildings.