Coastal plan review would come at a cost

A Canterbury regional councillor has called for tougher measures to protect the region’s...
A Canterbury regional councillor has called for tougher measures to protect the region’s coastline. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
Speeding up a review of the rules protecting Canterbury’s coastline could cost ratepayers up to $3.6 million more than planned.

Environment Canterbury staff presented three options for the timing of a review of the Canterbury Regional Coastal Environment Plan, which will now be decided as part of the regional council’s Long Term Plan deliberations.

The report followed a notice of motion put forward by ECan councillor Genevieve Robinson in February for staff to advise what would be involved in bringing forward the review of the plan, which is currently on track to be considered in 2028.

The plan was adopted in 2005 and aims to promote the sustainable management of Canterbury’s coastline.

Staff advised bringing the date forward would carry extra costs and the timings could clash with consultation on the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement and the Integrated Plan.

In a report to Tuesday’s meeting, land and water planning team leader Lisa Jenkins said the review could be fast-tracked to notify a new plan in August 2025.

But this would cost an additional $2.5 million over 3.5 years and the council would undertake targeted engagement with affected communities.

A second option to notify the new plan in June 2026 would cost an additional $3.6 million over four years.

Jenkins said the council had budgeted $45.2 million in the draft 2024/34 Long Term Plan to develop an Integrated Plan for Canterbury, which would include the coastal plan.

It would be notified in December 2028.

But Robinson said the coastal plan was an important document which had been neglected for too long and it did not reflect Government policy changes over the last two decades.

‘‘We have many plans to work through, but the coast is the one which always gets pushed aside.’’

She said there had already seen 18 dolphin deaths along Canterbury’s coastline this year.

‘‘What will it be in three to four years?

‘‘If we keep pushing aside funding from year to year we are looking at the extinction of a species.’’

Councillor Tutehounuku Korako said he preferred to stick with the existing timeframe, which would ensure Papatipu Rūnanga were fully engaged in the process.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.