Consultation with harbour users assured

Neil Jorgensen.
Neil Jorgensen.
An assurance has been given by the Waitaki District Council that current Oamaru Harbour users will have their voices heard while a master plan for the harbour area is developed.

At a meeting of the council's harbour committee yesterday, councillors moved in favour of a recommendation to endorse an ''investment logic mapping'' document for the plan, that was agreed to at a council workshop held in early April.

The document identified four problems perceived to be issues in the area and each was given a weighting, a potential solution and strategic response.

The four issues were: the investment in heritage features, the lack of a shared vision for the harbour, incomplete projects and environmental concerns, such as climate change and potential impact on wildlife habitats.

North Otago Yacht and Power Boat Club commodore Kevin Murdoch, one of the stakeholders involved in the workshop, attended the meeting and questioned how recreational users fitted into the document.

He also sought an assurance they would be fully involved in the public consultation process.

Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the document formulated at the workshop was a starting point and not a reflection of what the final plan would contain.

''There is no silver bullet or anything like that. This is part of the process to develop the master plan. This is going to start as the key things people want focused on ... existing users are a key part of the harbour and they will be included.''

Cr Melanie Tavendale said the matter of inclusion was important and consultation ''went back to basics a wee bit'' so people and stakeholders ''understood exactly what we are doing here''.

Cr Jim Hopkins expressed concerns about the weighting given to the four issues and considered the lack of a shared vision the most problematic.

He said that ''would be overcome by extensive consultation''.

Cr Hopkins also expected changes to be made before the plan was adopted, but they did not have to be a ''tablet of stone''.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher asked councillors to ''have a bit of faith'' in the process.

''This is just the first half.''

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