Kircher defends harbour master plan process

Gary Kircher.
Gary Kircher.
A step has already been missed in the creation of a master plan for Oamaru Harbour - and the $200,000 process may also be behind schedule.

However, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he stood by the work under way to develop the 30-year spatial plan for the harbour.

The Waitaki District Council's harbour area committee is due to identify its "preferred option" for consultation on the master plan on Tuesday, according to the "Oamaru Harbour Space Master Plan Establishment Report" approved in February.

However, the council failed to confirm a shortlist of options at its April 30 meeting as indicated in the report.

"Some things have changed along the way, and I haven't got my head around some of the terms, sorry, but ... if we've missed a date it's just because we may have modified how we're dealing with it overall," Mr Kircher said.

"We're trying to get the right compromise between flexibility and timeliness along this structured process that is as inclusive as possible and still not costing a fortune like some of these things can. It's costing quite enough.

"The main priority is to have an approved master plan that has good acceptance with the community. We've been doing that. We'd rather take a slightly longer time to get it right than to cut corners which we're then going to regret later on."

Mr Kircher said a workshop on Monday from 1pm to 8pm would allow the consultants to take "everything they've come up with" and run it past the harbour area committee before the following day's committee meeting.

When asked whether the process was on track, a council spokeswoman said work was "still full steam ahead" and a draft master plan was due for council endorsement at the June 25 council meeting, after which consultation with the community would begin.

The proposed process and schedule in the establishment report shows a public announcement on consultation and the committee's preferred option was originally planned to follow next week's meeting.

Last week, Mr Kircher said it would be "definitely neater" to have an approved master plan for the harbour before the October local body elections, but he did not believe the council was at risk of missing that target.

"I'd love to have it done sooner and actually get on with some of the actual projects which might be identified in the plan. But time will tell whether the timing works out for that."

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