Master plan urgently needed: trust

The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust will not support development of Oamaru’s historic harbour until...
The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust will not support development of Oamaru’s historic harbour until the Waitaki District Council produces its proposed ‘‘master plan’’ for the area, trust operations manager Dr Mark Smith says. Photo: Hamish MacLean
A prominent Oamaru heritage body will not support "any major developments" at Oamaru Harbour until the Waitaki District Council produces a master plan for the area.

Proponents of a zipline and a floating hotel for the Heritage New Zealand-listed historic area have recently made news in the Waitaki town. A shag viewing area at Sumpter Wharf and a new roundabout at the harbour are among harbour projects for the council to decide on before the end of the month. This week the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust issued a statement calling for the council to "prepare and publish a detailed long-term development plan urgently" — and to seek advice from "design, heritage and traffic management experts".

Trust operations manager Dr Mark Smith said the statement was issued to make "the trust’s position clear".

"The trust is not opposed to development," he said.

"This is about encouraging appropriate development in the harbour area, preserving and enhancing the existing heritage aspects and amenity values."

He would not comment further. Trust chairwoman Kate Proctor did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, who is both a trustee and the chairman of the council’s harbour area committee, said the trust made the decision after he left this week’s meeting and he "wasn’t aware of the course of action that they were going to be taking".

"I think it’s fair to say we’re disappointed that this is their first approach to us on this particular issue," he said.

He did not think a moratorium on development in the harbour area before approval of the proposed $50,000 master plan — a project in the council’s "just" adopted 2018-28 long-term plan — was feasible or reasonable.

"I don’t think so. We have a number of plans which have got us to where we’re at, and basically, people would agree the area has been rejuvenated and the development that has happened has been very beneficial. You only need to go down on the weekend to see how much people are enjoying the area," he said.

"Anything we do, as long as we’ve got in the forefront of our mind what’s going to be the long-term effect on it, then we can still proceed ... whatever we do, we want to make sure that it doesn’t unduly compromise other possibilities."

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