Regional policy launched by ORC

Otago Regional Council policy analysts Sarah Valk (left) and Sylvie Leduc (right) join senior policy analyst Ralph Henderson in Queenstown on Tuesday, as the council launched its regional policy statement and held its first public meeting seeking feedback on issues facing the district. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Otago Regional Council policy analysts Sarah Valk (left) and Sylvie Leduc (right) join senior policy analyst Ralph Henderson in Queenstown on Tuesday, as the council launched its regional policy statement and held its first public meeting seeking feedback on issues facing the district. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
A small number attended the launch, in Queenstown on Monday night, of the Otago Regional Council's regional policy statement, aimed at shaping the region's future.

ORC senior policy analyst Ralph Henderson said about 15 people, including representatives from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, attended the public meeting to share their views on issues facing the Queenstown Lakes District.

Mr Henderson said while the attendance was ''smaller than we would have liked'' it was difficult to engage people in ''high level discussions''. Their contribution was vital, nevertheless.

''Part of the process we're going through is to gather as much feedback as possible about what peoples' issues are.

''That's really our push at the moment, rather than trying to tell people what we think the issues are.

''Each district has its own perceptions on what the key issues they face are; we're trying to bring that together in a document that will have better direction for the district.''

The regional policy statement was reviewed every 10 years and covered a broad range of topics, including heritage, transport, energy, water, air, land, social and economic issues.

It also sought to address climate change, dealing with natural hazards and responding to fuel and energy pressures.

Mr Henderson said the council was trying to ''integrate it all'', along with district plans and regional plans.

Issues raised in Queenstown included biodiversity, compact urban development and transport, as well as encouraging local food production and manufacture in the district, which would also diversify the economy.

The ORC held an information evening in Alexandra on Tuesday night, and morning

public ''drop-in'' sessions on Tuesday and yesterday.

It will gather feedback in Dunedin today at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, followed by a drop-in session there from 9am until noon tomorrow.

It will also hold meetings in Oamaru on Monday, at the Brydone Kingsgate Hotel, and at the Town and Country Club in Balclutha on Wednesday, Drop-in sessions will be held at those venues from 9am until noon the day after the public meetings.

The draft statement will be notified for public consultation this year and a confirmed document will be released by mid-2015.