WDC agrees to give development trust $5000

The Waitaki District Council has reluctantly decided to help fund a trust to look at development of the upper Waitaki catchment and Mackenzie Basin.

The Mackenzie Sustainable Futures Trust is an initiative by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

Already, both the Waitaki and Mackenzie district councils have agreed their mayors - respectively Alex Familton and Claire Barlow - can be trustees.

But a contribution of $5000 from each council was sought to help fund the trust.

Mackenzie had agreed to the grant, and Waitaki last week also voted $5000.

Mr Familton moved the grant be approved, "with some reluctance".

"In a sense, the trust has been forced on us by a Government initiative and the cost we face comes from Government," he said.

However, Mr Familton acknowledged that if the trust succeeded in a collaborative approach to resolve issues, then the council would save more than $5000 over planning issues.

"We will not be going to court as much," he said.

Some sectors in the two communities have criticised the establishment of the trust, involvement of environmental groups from outside the area, and the speed with which it is being established and expected to make decisions.

Mrs Dean's proposal followed a two-day forum in Twizel last year, organised by the Environmental Defence Society, to discuss future development in the two areas.

At the forum, Minister for the Environment Nick Smith urged a collaborative approach driven by local people.

Mrs Dean then came up with a two-tier proposal - a trust which would manage the process, seek funding and then oversee the work which would be done by a working party.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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