New ORC team to focus on localities

Leading a newly formed Otago Regional Council team is environmental implementation manager Andrea...
Leading a newly formed Otago Regional Council team is environmental implementation manager Andrea Howard. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A newly formed team at the Otago Regional Council will take a more integrated and holistic approach to addressing environmental issues in both urban and rural catchments.

The environmental implementation team, which was formed about three weeks ago, combines community-facing biodiversity, biosecurity and freshwater focused staff.

It aims to move away from the council’s traditional structure, by organising the team’s efforts around local geography, rather than by subject.

Environmental implementation manager Andrea Howard, who was formerly the council’s biosecurity and rural liaison manager, said a major focus for the team would be putting more "boots on the ground".

“We will be increasing our partnerships with mana whenua, and with local communities and landowners.

"People really value somebody driving up their driveway to chat to them on an individual basis."

The plan was to assign a dedicated staff member to a specific area, so that each community had a "go to" person from the council, she said.

That staff member would also then be able to create a stronger connection to the local people and place.

Ms Howard said the more "integrated and holistic" approach would also allow the council to give itself greater spread across the region.

This year, the team would consist of 26 staff members, which would grow to 33 next year and 36 the following year.

So far, the team had been focused on progressing management plans to improve water quality and wider biodiversity in areas including Lake Hayes and Tomahawk Lagoon.

The team would also work to ensure Otago was best positioned to for funding opportunities from national programmes, such as the Wallaby Programme and the Wilding Conifer Programme, she said.

Biosecurity work was set to increase, with a greater focus on monitoring and surveillance of pest species, collaboration with others, and a stronger focus on regulatory enforcement in that area.

Ms Howard said the council recognised that there was "a lot of things happening" which were having an impact on communities.

"People have aspirations for this beautiful region ... we are very much looking forward to playing a much stronger role in trying to achieve those goals with our community."

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

Comments

Worried about the environment? I have great news! NZ is the best place in the world to be when the inevitable world societal collapse begins.
https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/15/8161/htm

"People really value somebody driving up their driveway to chat to them on an individual basis."

No.
People want results for their rates, charges, fees and levies. It's been well over a decade that people here have been trying to get the ORC to get their act together. All we get is a talk fest, a promise of action, a feel good bit in the ODT and then nothing..... Until we start the whole cycle again.
Replace Howard with three people in gumboots, that know what a spade looks like.

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Charlton Ogburn (1957)

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