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Regional policy statement (RPS) air and coast team leader Lisa Hawkins said Covid-19 restrictions had interrupted the community input and consultation programme and it was not able to be completed.
Instead, last month, councillors voted for an alternative option of creating 11 reference groups made up of 10 experts each to give input and feedback on each topic of the RPS.
Ms Hawkins believed it was the first time the council had ever had input from the public on the RPS as it was drafting it.
Chairwoman Marian Hobbs said the RPS was the region’s most significant policy document, under which all other plans and policies sat.
"We know our community is filled with people who are passionate and knowledgeable about Otago’s natural and physical resources, and we want to hear from them.”
"This is a rare opportunity to shape Otago’s future," she said.
The ORC is seeking people with expertise, experience and insight on 11 topics ranging from urban design, hydrology, public health, cultural heritage tourism, ecology, water quality, and farming, to climate change.
Ms Hawkins said the successful applicants would be required to join ORC staff on a half-day online workshop on either June 22 or July 20 and provide written feedback over the following two weeks.
Applications for the reference groups close on Wednesday.