ORC could take up different 'posture'

Enabling ''development opportunities'' and ''unleashing potential to enhance prosperity'' through planning could be the new direction of the Otago Regional Council.

Rather than just following its statutory responsibilities to manage resources, as it has in the past, the plan looks at a different ''posture'' for the council, chief executive Peter Bodeker says.

''To move to a stronger `opportunities' approach would involve a significant shift from current reality,'' the proposed strategic plan said.

''For our Future'' aimed to give direction for the council over the next 10 years with an emphasis on the steady growth of the ''value of products and outputs'' of the region.

''The Otago Regional Council, with its strong balance sheet and unique regional focus, has the opportunity to look beyond what are its statutory requirements and consider additional activity which serves the region's future needs,'' he said in a report to be considered by the council tomorrow.

It would form the ''foundation'' of the long-term plan being prepared for next year and, if adopted, become a key document of the council, assisting in planning activity and organisational performance, he said.

The plan had been developed over 10 months through a combination of councillor and director workshops and had an emphasis on ''people-to-people contact and engagement'', he said.

In the plan, environmental sustainability remained, even increased, as a priority, it said, but so did the active use of natural resources ''within their capacity to renew''.

It also ''envisaged'' enabling investment rather than equity investment in opportunities.

''It acknowledges that ORC has significant financial resources that can be used for enablement.''

Its vision of a ''prosperous and sustainable future for Otago'' was expressed in four goals - active resource stewardship, active regional partnerships, realisation of new opportunities and the emergence of an ''Brand Otago'', the plan said.

Those goals would be delivered through nine proposed areas of focus covering activities around land use change, rivers, efficient water use, benefits of coastal space, biosecurity, hazards, air and transport.

Mr Bodeker recommended the council adopt the proposed plan at its additional ordinary meeting tomorrow.

The council will also consider and adopt its annual report.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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