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The Waitaki District Council is seeking feedback on where and how the growth and change could happen, with the release of its draft spatial plan for public consultation.
The plan was developed by the council, in collaboration with mana whenua, stakeholders, and community members, to provide a long-term framework for managing growth to 2051. The focus is on how development, infrastructure and activities will be spatially managed in a sustainable way.
‘‘Our growth story matters, as it means change in our communities and if it is not managed well, growth can lead to long-lasting issues and tensions with the unique characteristics of Oamaru, Weston and Kakanui,’’ Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said.
‘‘We need to actively protect what makes our places special and unique. At the same time, central government is increasing expectations on council in how we manage our towns and rural areas relating to issues including urban development, water quality, climate change and productive land.
‘‘The spatial plan provides the blueprint for how we as a community want Oamaru, Weston and Kakanui to look and feel in the future, where development should occur including what type and how much, existing issues that should be improved, and what features need protection and enhancement.’’
The strategy has identified about 200ha of new residential growth areas, west and southwest of Oamaru, as well as a further 100ha of land suitable for medium density residential development. These areas would allow for between 3290 and 5680 new dwellings across Oamaru and Weston.
The plan also identifies areas of ‘‘under-utilised’’ council reserve and non-reserve land, such as Glen Warren Reserve, for residential development, but says ‘‘more detailed analysis around the potential for this will be required’’.
A business capacity assessment for Oamaru undertaken last year has identified there may be demand for an additional 21ha of industrial land in or around Oamaru over the next 30 years.
Other opportunities identified include upgrades to the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and new safe walking and cycling links in Oamaru and to neighbouring towns, including Kakanui, to provide more viable transport alternatives; more commercial and community offerings in Weston to reduce the need to travel into Oamaru; collaboration with Kai Tahu and using te reo place names throughout the spatial plan area; a fixed public transport service, or some form of on-demand service; and supporting the use of historic heritage buildings.
Mr Kircher was confident the council had developed a ‘‘robust and exciting plan’’ which would be reviewed and updated to respond to changing needs.
Public engagement started on Monday and will run until November 19. The plan is available on the council’s website, and open days will be held in Oamaru, Weston and Kakanui next month.