Developing a best practice approach to deployment of an overhead utility network
Chorus needed to explore ways of providing high-speed internet throughout Auckland with some deployment of an overhead network necessary where an underground network was not possible. Boffa Miskell was appointed to develop a best practice approach for the overhead deployment, and to see that through the Resource Consent process.
The resulting Auckland ‘Consenting Rule Book’ was developed along with a detailed visual assessment of the project, and these were independently peer reviewed.
With thousands of streets involved, this was a potentially complex project requiring a methodology that would simplify the network design process. The methodology for minimising potential visual effects of this new utility network needed to be straight forward but applicable to anywhere within the consent area.
Our landscape architects talked to network architects and engineers to gain an understanding of the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, parts of the network and their visual effects. We also worked with a multidisciplinary team of arborists, heritage architects and planners established by Chorus, to identify robust methods that would manage the effects around trees and sites of significance. A number of scenarios were developed with this information and then tested to ensure potential visual effects would be ‘less than minor’.
Over 25 consent applications were lodged with the Council and all were granted, non-notified. Some deployment has since occurred and been reviewed, continuing as the programme progresses. We have since helped Chorus achieve overhead consents in Gisborne and Wellington.
Our cultural advisory team was engaged to support Chorus, Beca and Incite in developing a best practice approach to Iwi engagement in the consenting process. In conjunction with our GIS specialists who developed a Mana Whenua alert overlay map, to identify more than 3,000 sites in the project consenting area that were subject to mana whenua provisions under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, our Te Hihiri Team led the iwi engagement for Chorus to develop this approach for the consenting process. Once developed, our Te Hihiri team has continued to provide strategic advice to Chorus on matters affecting Māori with regards to the network construction, including support to the consenting team and technical advice around monitoring cultural impacts and engagement with iwi.
Landscape planning, stakeholder consultation with tangata whenua.