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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Auckland / Cappadocia, Turkey

    Default NSCC - old aerial photos online show horticulture land usage


    Shore residents and business owners worried about past use of their land can now check online.

    The North Shore City Council has published old aerial photographs of the city on its website so people can see whether their land was used for horticulture before 1975.

    City senior environmental policy adviser Phill Reid says the council will test the soil of its properties, mostly parks, identified as having a horticultural history.

    Sixty-seven parks are involved, but the areas under scrutiny on the majority of them are as small as two square metres, he says.

    Testing will take place over summer and they are not expecting to find "mass contamination".

    "We're working with the Auckland Regional Council to develop a methodology before we test all council-owned properties, and we'll keep the public posted."

    The city council recently completed the lengthy task of trawling through archive photos and files to identify commercial market gardens, orchards and glasshouses which had spread north after the opening of Auckland Harbour Bridge.

    It has also worked closely with other councils, environmental agencies and public health authorities.

    "The time-consuming mapping and cross-checking exercise has been critical to ensuring the reliability of the information," Mr Reid says.

    The relationship of historical horticultural activities to potential soil contamination was first raised in a 2001 report by the regional council and Auckland District Health Board.

    It aimed to identify whether regular horticulture activity left a chemical build-up in the soil.

    "We're using agreed regional guidelines as the basis for our council's approach," Mr Reid says.

    Earlier this year the council voted to add a note to all Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports, alerting owners to previous uses of their land.

    Several councillors abstained from voting.

    They were concerned some LIM notifications would not be appropriate for areas where soil had long since been moved away and redeposited around Auckland.

    Mr Reid says people wanting to know if chemical residues are in their soil will need to have their property tested.

    "We won't be telling private property owners to carry out soil testing unless there is further building or development proposed for the site.

    "In these situations we may require, as part of the consent application, that a soil test be carried out in accordance with ARC procedures.

    "Applicants must then address any adverse effects identified, and this could require removing any contaminated soil."


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