First Cut of Draft District Plan Released

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Published: 08 Oct 2020

Timaru District Plan has released its blueprint for the future of the district, and it’s asking everyone to have their say on it.

The first cut of the Draft Timaru District Plan - He Po. He Ao. Ka Awatea. was today published by Council and is now open for public comment until 30 November at Timaru.govt.nz/draftplan

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen said that this is an incredibly important document, and it’s vital that people take the time to learn more about it and have their say on the provisions in the document.

“The District Plan is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important documents that council publishes as it manages how we use and develop land and protects what we love about our district,” he said.

“It controls what you can build on your property, what your neighbours can build on theirs, and what your neighbourhood is going to look like in the future. It also protects all of the things such as heritage, landscapes and the coastal environment that we value as a community.

“It sets a blueprint for the future development of the district in the decades to come.

The council has moved away from having a print copy of the district plan to now hosting it online through a new interactive tool.

This tool enables you click on a site and see what provisions of the plan specifically apply to that to that site.

Feedback can be provided on any of these provisions straight from the online tool.

“We’ve made it easier and quicker than ever to give us feedback with a new interactive tool. It enables you to comment on every part of the plan, or drill down into the parts of the plan relevant to your property and give us your feedback on them,” said the Mayor.

“The plan affects everyone and it’s really important that everyone takes a little time to learn about the plan and tell us what you think about it.

“If you’re not so savvy with computer you can request a meeting to talk to one of our planning staff or consultants, who can discuss the issues with you and they can make a note of what was said and put it into the submission system for you.”

District Planning Manager Mark Geddes said that although individual issues have been consulted on over the past few years, today’s publication is the first time that the plan has been released for comment.

“We’re really interested in what the public and stakeholders have to say about this. Making any major policy document is hard to get right, you rely on the different perspectives that are out there to test the provisions and make the document better.

“One area we’re particularly interested in getting feedback is on the new Medium Density Zones, where we’re looking to slightly increase residential densities, and we’re very keen to know whether people think we’ve got that concept right.

This plan is the first one to account for significant issues such as the risks of climate change, enabling people to make more informed decisions around development in coastal areas.

“There’s a lot of aspects to climate change, one of the key ones affecting this district are coastal hazards caused by sea level rise,

“We recently commissioned with Environment Canterbury an assessment which takes into account sea level rise, inundation and coastal erosion, so we now have an up to date model for what that’s  might look like over the next 30 years. We can then incorporate this into the district plan enable people to consider the effects more closely.”

The Mana Whenua Kati Huirapa, have been our partners in this process and have played an important part in the creation of this plan.

“Previously the operative district plan didn’t have much in the way of provisions in relation to Maori, and this draft plan seeks to remedy the situation. We consulted with Tangata Whenua from the outset on this process about how they wanted to be engaged,” said Mark.

“We made sure that Maori values are integrated through the whole plan, it’s been very much a partnership with the local Runanga.

“Tangata whenua take a long-term view and are focused on long term sustainable management and providing for future generations, which aligns really well with the provisions of the RMA and provides really good insight for the plan as a whole.”

The first cut of the Draft District Plan is available now at Timaru.govt.nz/draftplan submissions are welcomed until November 30.

Last updated: 08 Oct 2020