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Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said after councillors met with Arrowtown consultants Rationale on Tuesday, the Waitaki District Council had engaged the company to assist in the process.
''We had a discussion around what we are wanting to achieve out of this and there was really good unanimity about having a process that gave everyone an opportunity to have input, that it was inclusive, that it covered the geographic area well, and that it gave us a masterplan which is going to help direct what happens in the overall area into the future,'' Mr Kircher said.
''We have every confidence that they've got some good experience and that will help us - it's all very easy to gather a heap of ideas, it's making sure you've got processes in to allow different people to have input there and then how you take all those ideas and then put them into a cohesive masterplan.''
The council-led process would include public meetings, drop-in sessions, a public survey and disseminating information through both social and traditional media channels.
Several major developments for the area have proven controversial in Oamaru recently, including proposals for a zipline and a floating hotel.
Some in the community, including the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, have called for a halt to major developments in the harbour area until a masterplan is developed.
A newly established interest group, Friends of Oamaru Harbour, called in a letter to the mayor and councillors for the council to comply with at least five principles of its 2011 plan for the area, including preserving sight lines, public access, and the natural and historical environment.
Friends of Oamaru Harbour co-ordinator Vicki Jayne said the group of roughly 50 signatories, representing a variety of user groups, wanted to make sure a consultation process was ''robust and inclusive ... not a tick the box public relation-type exercise''.
''We actually see that there is a growing tidal wave of concern about the nature of some recent proposals for the harbour,'' she said.
''And we saw that while a lot of developments have been family-oriented, and community-oriented, some of the recent proposals had not been.''
Fellow co-ordinator Katrina Hazelhurst said the group wanted to ensure ''any development will have an understanding of the current user groups in the harbour and on Cape Wanbrow and respond to those user groups and their needs accordingly''.