WDC allocates more funds to harbour plan

Gary Kircher.
Gary Kircher.
The Oamaru Harbour master plan will get an additional $150,000 and include one more round of community consultation.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has also successfully argued for the inclusion of four stakeholder groups to be represented alongside the Waitaki District Council's harbour area committee in the development of the plan, which will guide development of the North Otago town's Heritage New Zealand-listed historic area.

Mr Kircher nominated the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust and the North Otago Yacht And Powerboat Club plus two more stakeholders, yet to be determined.

He said on Tuesday four stakeholders involved in the process would be ''sufficient'' - he wanted to have an inclusive process ''without having a committee of hundreds''.

The preferred option would then be presented to the community-at-large for feedback.

The council last year budgeted $50,000 for the master plan and enlisted Arrowtown consultants Rationale to develop it.

The council initially planned to update a 2011 harbour plan and bring it to the community for consultation, but late last year opened the process up and developed a survey to attract public feedback on a 30-year vision for the harbour.

It received about 900 responses and more than 40 written submissions.

The majority of the initial budget for the plan, $43,000, was used in the first public engagement, a report to the council yesterday showed.

Cr Jan Wheeler took issue with the contents of the draft Oamaru Harbour Space Masterplan Establishment Report, approved with amendments yesterday.

She questioned a so-called ''shareholder matrix'', included in the report, where ''potential developers'' were said to have a high influence on the process.

She said if the potential developers listed represented specific individuals, they should be named, and if they were hypothetical developers of the harbour, as such they should not have more influence than Forest & Bird or the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony - which were both listed as having a high interest but low influence on the process.

Cr Peter Garvan said he wanted to give ''10 or 12'' stakeholders with a long-standing relationship with the harbour a ''real opportunity to contribute''.

Councillors baulked on a recommended additional $180,000 in spending for a dual round of community consultation yesterday.

Councillors also chose not to add only an additional $70,000 to the process and simply update the council's current 2011 harbour plan.

Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the 2011 master plan was not a ''spatial plan'', and when the council was presented with projects like the zipline and the floating hotel ''that's where the strategy didn't really assist''.

Crs Wheeler and Guy Percival voted against the decision yesterday - Cr Hugh Perkins sent apologies.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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