District Plan at final hurdle

27 September 2016​

Six years after Waipa District Council’s proposed District Plan was notified, and nine years after work first began, there’s just one hurdle left to go.

Today councillors agreed to make the long-awaited document operative in part.  The only outstanding issue involves two matters relating to the Houchens Road large lot residential structure plan area,  specifically around proposed mitigation works and stormwater disposal.

Manager planning and regulatory Wayne Allan said those two issues were still being worked through with multiple parties but the district plan was “99 per cent there”.

Today’s decision was an important one and a long-time coming, he said.

“A  District Plan is a cornerstone document for any council. It provides clear guidance and rules on development and subdivision  and protects important buildings, landscapes and natural areas.  Essentially, it frames how our district will develop.”

A draft of Waipa’s District Plan was first notified in October 2010 and a proposed plan was formally notified in May 2012.  Nearly 450 submissions were received.  The revised version was issued in May 2014 and Council received 28 appeals, including the one that remains outstanding.

“This has been a long, long process involving many people and it’s not over yet,” Allan said.  “The fact that nearly all the appeals were resolved by mediation is pleasing because it has certainly saved huge amounts of time and money.”

Today’s decision makes Waipa’s district plan “operative in part”, effective from November 1 this year.  The plan will formally be reviewed in 2026.

“The reality is though, that a district plan is a continually evolving document and may change to reflect what the community wants,” Allan said.

“Having the plan part operative means people can now lodge private plan changes – they couldn’t do that before.  So while this provides a very clear and solid framework for the district, it will evolve to meet Waipa’s changing needs.”

Mayor Jim Mylchreest said today’s decision was a “watershed moment”.  He noted that the laborious process to develop Waipa’s district plan,  demanded by the Resource Management Act, had cost Waipa ratepayers around $5.9 million.

“That sort of cost is simply unsustainable for communities.  Every time I have been with government ministers, I’ve implored them to move a lot faster to sort this issue out and get rid of some of the red tape strangling these processes,” he said.

“The team behind the plan should be congratulated for a job well done.  But boy, it’s taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears and dollars and that’s something that’s hugely frustrating.

Media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of council) 027 507 7599

Page reviewed: 27 Sep 2016 2:53pm