ORC plan draws few submissions

A ''business as usual'' Otago Regional Council annual plan has failed to grab the public's attention.

Fifty-five submissions on the council's 2014-15 annual plan were received before last week's deadline.

Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the number was not a surprise given it was a ''business as usual'' plan with few new or controversial projects to grab the public's attention.

Those new projects proposed, such as one on biodiversity and another proposing collaboration with other South Island councils on pest management, were topics most would see as positive, he said.

However, the number of submissions did not truly represent the numbers of those covered by the submissions, as many were from community groups, he said.

Also the council received much public interest on specific issues such as minimum flow setting and last year's 6A water quality process.

''At the Lindis minimum flow meeting recently, there were 50 or 60 people present.''

Of course the council would like more community participation but submission numbers were not a concern, Mr Woodhead said.

Whether the wider community understood the regional council's role

as well as the council would like was being evaluated with a survey and a new communications directorate being established.

About 33 of those who made submissions indicated they wanted to present their views at hearings to be held in Dunedin and Central Otago next week.

Otago residents have until Wednesday to take part in an online survey aimed at finding out how aware the public is of the Otago Regional Council's work and how satisfied they are with the services it provides.

The original completion date for the survey was April 28, but the date had been extended to allow time for more people to complete it.

A related telephone survey of 900 people from throughout the Otago region had been completed and the results would be available later this year.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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