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After more than seven years of behind-the-scenes work, the Waitaki District Council’s draft district plan is ready to be released for public feedback.
At a council meeting yesterday, councillors approved the 1124-page draft Waitaki district plan for community engagement, which will start on June 1 and run until the end of August.
The district plan sets out the rules for the district, and is being reviewed in line with the Resource Management Act 1991.
The draft is an informal document, and is being released for the community to review and provide feedback. The feedback will be incorporated into the proposed district plan, which the community will then be able to make formal submissions on.
Council heritage and planning manager David Campbell said the draft was very much a ‘‘first cut’’ and had been a culmination of many years consulting with the community and information gathering.
At yesterday’s council meeting, Mayor Gary Kircher raised some concerns about the ‘‘very, very long’’ three-month engagement period, and questioned whether a shorter timeframe would be more beneficial.
Cr Melanie Tavendale shared some of Mr Kircher’s concerns, but did not believe cutting the timeframe back was the answer. The draft plan was a large document, and it was important to give people time to understand it and provide meaningful feedback, she said.
Cr Jim Hopkins believed district plans were the most important documents councils produced. While the council had invested a ‘‘huge amount of time’’ on the document — the public had not, Cr Hopkins said.
Mr Campbell said the draft district plan was a ‘‘substantial document to work through’’ and the council wanted to give people enough time to digest it and not rush their feedback.
‘‘We’re trying to be generous and accommodating.’’
The council will be engaging in several ways over the coming months to gather feedback from communities, mana whenua and stakeholders.