ORC freshwater management consultation closing this week

Public consultation to help shape the Otago Regional Council’s freshwater management will close this week.

It is a chance for communities and tangata whenua to have their say on what they value most about their local lake, river, groundwater, stream or wetland.

The council has been conducting meetings in communities from Owaka to Oamaru since late October as part of the preparation for its upcoming regional policy statement.

The regional policy statement (RPS) is due for notification in June next year, and will set the environmental management direction for Otago.

The online consultation, which had received 138 responses by yesterday morning, closes on Friday.

RPS air and coast team leader Lisa Hawkins said the turnout at the community meetings had been good, and people were eager to engage.

"This consultation is really packing a huge campaign into a short window, so we are really grateful to everyone who has joined in to have their say on the future of freshwater in Otago," she said.

The consultation comes in the wake of new national freshwater management rules requiring councils to work with communities and tangata whenua to find out their vision for the future of their waterways in areas called freshwater management units (FMUs) or rohe.

Otago has five FMUs, which are geographic areas for managing freshwater and land use.

The boundaries proposed by the regional council allow for a tailored approach rather than a one-size-fits-all method.

Two meetings will be held today at the Lake Wanaka Centre, from 12.30pm to 2pm, and 6pm to 7.30pm. The final meeting will be held at the Arrowtown Bowling Club tomorrow, from 12.30pm to 2pm.


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