De­vel­op­ers: We will leave space for bats

Waikato Times - - News - EL­TON SMALLMAN el­ton.smallman@stuff.co.nz

Plans to build 800 houses on the out­skirts of Hamil­ton will take bat wel­fare into ac­count, the devel­oper says.

The pro­posed Am­ber­field devel­op­ment, south­west of the city, is sit­u­ated on a 105-hectare plot in the Pea­cocke area.

Houses will in­clude ter­raced, dou­ble­storey dwellings to stand­alone houses on 700sqm sec­tions.

But the plan has drawn con­cern from the River­lea Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety, on the op­po­site side of the Waikato River, whose 118 sig­na­to­ries in a sub­mis­sion to the Hamil­ton City Coun­cil con­sents process say the na­tive long-tailed bat will be put at risk.

Am­ber­field devel­op­ment spokesman An­drew Dun­can said in a state­ment that great care is be­ing taken to con­sider pro­pos­als that treat the nat­u­ral, eco­log­i­cal, and cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment of the site care­fully and ap­pro­pri­ately.

‘‘We cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of the long-tailed bat pop­u­la­tion and have taken lead­er­ship on the mat­ter by en­gag­ing sev­eral ecol­o­gists in­clud­ing a bat ex­pert who have un­der­taken ex­ten­sive sur­vey work towards un­der­stand­ing how long-tailed bats are in­ter­act­ing with the site and de­ter­min­ing key habi­tats both on-site and in the wider Hamil­ton-south area,’’ Dun­can said.

The pro­posal will avoid ef­fects on bat habi­tat out­side of the devel­op­ment area in­clud­ing the Waikato River cor­ri­dor and Ham­mond Park, he said.

Ar­eas within the devel­op­ment area that can­not be avoided will be mit­i­gated in line with the in­tent of the Hamil­ton District Plan.

‘‘We are com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether with the statu­tory agen­cies and other stake­hold­ers to achieve ben­e­fi­cial eco­log­i­cal out­comes from the devel­op­ment.’’

A con­cern of the River­lea Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety was the ef­fects of new light­ing on bat be­hav­iour.

Dun­can said new LED tech­nol­ogy which pre­vents light-spill is be­ing looked at.

A gully travers­ing the site would also be re­stored.

In fact, he said, work un­der­taken for the project has been rec­om­mended to Hamil­ton City Coun­cil and pro­tec­tion and restora­tion ini­tia­tives will be con­sid­ered.

‘‘We strongly be­lieve that the pro­tec­tion of nat­u­ral habi­tats – like those of the long­tailed bat – can go hand in hand with ur­ban devel­op­ment needed to meet hous­ing de­mand,’’ Dun­can said.

‘‘Our team is cur­rently work­ing on a mit­i­ga­tion pack­age that will com­ple­ment the coun­cil’s work and will con­tribute to a ma­trix of re­stored ar­eas for the ben­e­fit of not only long-tailed bats but also other na­tive flora and fauna.’’

Pub­lic sub­mis­sions to the con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion closed in Septem­ber.

‘‘We are com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether with the statu­tory agen­cies and other stake­hold­ers to achieve ben­e­fi­cial eco­log­i­cal out­comes from the devel­op­ment.’’ Am­ber­field devel­op­ment spokesman An­drew Dun­can

COLIN O’DON­NELL HAMIL­TON CITY COUN­CIL

The long-tailed bat, a na­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble species, in­hab­its Hamil­ton’s Ham­mond Park, over the river from the pro­posed devel­op­ment. The pro­posal for the Am­ber­field sub­di­vi­sion in Pea­cocke, south of Hamil­ton, spans about 105 hectares on the western bank of the Waikato River.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.