Serena Williams flew by helicopter to Waiheke. Photo / Supplied
Individuals requesting helipads across Auckland have been a controversial issue of late, following action taken by Briscoe boss Rod Duke. Where are all the latest apps – and who is behind them? Anne Gibson
Auckland’s wealthy have obtained consent for nearly two dozen private helipads over the past six years, including 20 on Waiheke Island alone.
New data from Auckland Council reveals how the wealthy are increasingly heading to their island hiding places; move away from public transport in favor of a much faster and more private mode of transport.
These lucky folks were able to add the ultimate transportation accessory to their seaside playgrounds and while Auckland Transport encourages us to ride a bike, bus, boat or train between home and work, the the rich are increasingly taking to the air to escape the city.
Since the end of 2013, the council has received 25 requests for a helipad on private property, all but two of which have been accepted: the request from Briscoes boss Rod Duke, on Sarsfield Street in Herne Bay, is underway. “processing” and another, on Nick Johnstone Drive in Waiheke, is listed as “pending”.
You will not necessarily know that none of these heliport consents have been granted because, in each case, the requests were processed on an unreported basis. No one had the opportunity to object because the requests were found to be compliant or largely compliant.
The board disclosed to the Herald the precise location and nature of each application, who applied and the outcome.
We’ve mapped each heliport consent so you can see the details of who requested, the status of the request, the address, and a description of what was requested.
Helicopters are popular at the upscale wineries of Cable Bay, Man O ‘War Winery, and Te Whau. Guests at weddings, corporate events and parties often come from operators from Onehunga, Albany or Mechanics Bay.
Three years ago, tennis star Serena Williams traveled to the island on New Years Eve to explore a private beach.
David Parkinson’s $ 24 million house – which was recently auctioned off – at Te Rere Cove has an outdoor bar that sits on a helipad on the large lawn overlooking the ocean. It is on wheels, so when a helicopter lands it can be moved.
But with the last 25 helipad requests to the council, all is not quite what it seems. For example, one platform is granted but not built, while another was built over 20 years ago.
Simon Rowntree, who along with James Brown founded Tournament Parking, says he has yet to use his valid consent.
He and his partner Joanna are listed as owners of a property on Cowes Bay Rd on the island and they obtained consent in August 2017.
âWe haven’t used it. We could do it in the future, but we don’t have immediate plans. We have to activate it in five years,â Rowntree said.
Not too far away, at Connells Bay Sculpture Park in Cowes Bay Road, owners John and Joanna Gow obtained their consent on September 28 of last year. Gow said it was looking back.
âThe previous owner built the helipad 25 years ago, but never had resource consent for it. If we hadn’t applied, someone could potentially have said âoi, what are you doing? “
âThe reason we have it is that we run the property like a sculpture park and we have had guests who then became our clients through receptive travel operators who are keen to bring in their customers here. “
Things don’t always go smoothly in the air over the island.
Four years ago, Auckland Council won a lawsuit against Motukaha Investments, owner of Cable Bay Vineyard, and fined $ 9,000 for excessive helicopter flights after residents of Waiheke complained and provided information.
The vineyard was limited to 10 thefts in 30 days, but 36 thefts were recorded in one month and 42 in another, the council said.
New Zealand’s richest private real estate investor Ted Manson owns a helicopter landing pad just a garden from the front door of Waiheke’s house he bought from ex-All Black Marc Ellis.
The sale was reported in 2018, but the helipad application for the Alan Murray Lane property was granted a year earlier, in July 2017.
Boulgaris Realty advertises the property for sale as “one of the most glamorous on the island”.
By mid-April, Briscoes boss Rod Duke had failed to fit a helicopter boathouse into Herne Bay’s Sentinel Beach system at the bottom of his new home in Sarsfield St, in finishing course.
Although the council agreed to the seaside disembarkation structure, opponents had it overturned in court just before Christmas and Duke’s attorney, Richard Brabant, filed two new requests for certificates of compliance. and existing rights of use.
The smartly appointed consultants based in Waiheke, Isle Land, are the only planner busiest in securing consents, according to council records.
Isle Land has hosted 13 of the 25 heliports in the system over the six years, each on the island.
When asked why so many helipad requests are being made for Waiheke properties, Wendy Baverstock from Isle Land said: “Obviously people want to access their relatively remote coastal property by helicopter.”
But not all were intended for individuals, she said.
âSome of the requests were for wineries,â Baverstock said.
âMy clients are mostly on Waiheke and I tend to work with acoustic engineers,â she said, referring to sound engineer Peter Ibbotson of specialists Marshall Day Acoustics.
âIt’s a relatively specialized field.
When asked how many flights per week were allowed on average from her recent requests, she replied, âIt all depends on the distance from the property, the typography, [numbers of] other heliports in the area and the type of helicopter using the platform. For example, twin-engine aircraft are noisier than single-engine helicopters. “
Most recent heliport resource consent activity:
â¢ Donald Bruce Rd, Waiheke, owned by Earl and Jo Meek, formerly of La Bonne Cuisine: granted October 31, 2018
â¢ Cowes Bay Rd, Waiheke, John and Joanna Gow: granted November 12, 2018
â¢ Nick Johnstone Dr, Waiheke, owned by businessman Andrew Cullen: still pending.
â¢ Cowes Bay Rd, Waiheke: new request being processed
â¢ Sarsfield St, Herne Bay, at the home of Briscoe boss Rod Duke, subject to High Court review.
We ask the expert
Peter Ibbotson of Marshall Day Acoustics is involved in numerous requests for consent for heliport resources.
Q: How do you play this role?
A: We do the helicopter noise assessment and provide advice in the form of a report or expert testimony for a hearing. We can work for helicopter operators, potentially affected residents, public institutions such as rescue helicopter landing areas, or in a review role for the board. We are independent technical experts and our advice is impartial.
Q: How do you do it?
For a new heliport application, we are performing calculations to determine the noise level that would be generated by arrivals and departures. These assessments are carried out using our expert knowledge of the noise emissions of various helicopter models that has been gained over the years of project work. For some new projects, we are performing acoustic modeling using computer applications that calculate noise levels over a large area. Sometimes in-service helicopter measurements are required and these are performed using specialized instruments to accurately measure the noise of helicopter arrivals and departures.
Assessments are carried out to ensure that the noise from helicopter flights will be reasonable and appropriate for the area in which they are offered. Noise from helicopters in New Zealand is regulated by district plans and these often contain rules regarding the amount of noise that can be generated by helicopters. Our role is to advise whether helicopter operations can comply with noise regulations and, if so, what operational restrictions are necessary.
Q: How many apps have you been involved with over the past decade?
I have advised on around 60 helicopter related projects over the past 10 years and a helicopter search in our corporate project list reveals 120 projects over the past 10 years. This included advice to helicopter transport companies on proposed operations, rescue helicopter landing zones in urban areas, advice on civic events involving multiple helicopter flights, vineyard developments, operations of tourism charter, industrial lifting operations and private helicopter landing zones.
Q: How many years have you worked in the field of helipad applications?
A: The majority of projects I have personally been involved with date back to 2011. Our company has been providing expert advice on aviation noise issues for over 30 years.
Q: Have you seen any applications fail and if so, why?
A: Applications are sometimes refused through the resource consent process. The reasons vary, but most of the time it is very tight residential situations where the operator cannot get immediate approval from the neighbors. However, if a specialized noise assessment has been prepared that clearly shows that the noise rules can be followed, I would expect the application to be accepted.
Q: Why so much for Waiheke since 2013?
A: Maybe due to the gentrification of Waiheke and maybe due to changes in town planning rules.
Q: What do you say to people who dislike helicopters and object to negative effects like noise?
A: It is important that the environmental effects of helicopter noise are well managed and regulated. I encourage those interested in helicopter noise to participate in the process and make relevant submissions to council, as part of any district plan reviews or specific requests.