Seeking input for major Spatial Plan

Mayoral candidate: Rehette Stoltz. File picture

COLUMN

We have had a busy three weeks at council travelling around the region talking to our communities and catching up over a cuppa. All up we have had 15 meetings and the feedback was varied but with a constant theme at most meetings raising concerns about the state of our roading network.

We were in the fortunate position to share plans to get our roading network back up to standard using the massive capital injection from the Provincial Growth Fund. We have a large backlog of maintenance work going back to Cyclone Cook, and hopefully we will be able to play catch up with the Government’s financial backing.

We are acutely aware that this is one-off funding for the next three years, and we are in the process of studying the impact of heavy vehicles on our roading network and re-examining how we rate for that. How we currently rate is not working and a refreshed, informed approach is needed.

This week we start public workshops on our Spatial Plan. The Spatial Plan is our opportunity to think about what we value as a region, how we protect it, and how we plan for growth.

Tairawhiti is growing and we need to be ready with plans that allow and encourage development where we see it fit, and to avoid a situation where we need to be reactive and let development “happen to us” without us being prepared. Our first public workshop is on Tuesday at 5.30pm and we will be brainstorming on how we ensure that our communities are resilient. Your thoughts on this topic are valuable, so please come along and help us shape this very important plan.

On Wednesday at 5.30pm, workshop No.2 will be looking at what we value in our place and how we protect it. It is a broad topic that will include issues like our fertile soils, our water quality and quantity, as well as protecting our community from the effects of global warming.

The Spatial Plan is probably our most important document going forward, as we will pull together several plans into one and make sure we plan appropriately for growth — and have a plan that supports growth, while protecting our natural environment and our residents.

Four more workshops will occur at the end of the month.

On Thursday morning, councillors and staff have a site visit to inspect the Waipaoa stopbanks. The Waipaoa River Flood Control Scheme involves upgrading the existing Waipaoa stopbanks to cater for a 100-year rain event allowing for climate change effects out to 2090. At this stage, the project will happen over the next 15 years, but we have applied for external funding to hopefully finish this very important work in a much shorter time frame.

The Navigations work schedule is on track to be ready for the sestercentennial commemorations in early October. I was privileged to attend the Tupapa walking trail opening on Saturday. It is a 4km walking tour from Waikanae Beach to Kaiti Hill with 10 pou where you can look, listen and read about traditional stories of voyaging and arrival in the place where iwi connect through shared history and ancestry.

The Cook memorial area is a busy worksite with the upgrade, additions and landscaping in full swing — another piece of our Navigations plan falling into place.

The completed elements will reflect the traditional stories of iwi along with the legacy of Cook and the significance of these landmarks in our region’s history.

We have had a busy three weeks at council travelling around the region talking to our communities and catching up over a cuppa. All up we have had 15 meetings and the feedback was varied but with a constant theme at most meetings raising concerns about the state of our roading network.

We were in the fortunate position to share plans to get our roading network back up to standard using the massive capital injection from the Provincial Growth Fund. We have a large backlog of maintenance work going back to Cyclone Cook, and hopefully we will be able to play catch up with the Government’s financial backing.

We are acutely aware that this is one-off funding for the next three years, and we are in the process of studying the impact of heavy vehicles on our roading network and re-examining how we rate for that. How we currently rate is not working and a refreshed, informed approach is needed.

This week we start public workshops on our Spatial Plan. The Spatial Plan is our opportunity to think about what we value as a region, how we protect it, and how we plan for growth.

Tairawhiti is growing and we need to be ready with plans that allow and encourage development where we see it fit, and to avoid a situation where we need to be reactive and let development “happen to us” without us being prepared. Our first public workshop is on Tuesday at 5.30pm and we will be brainstorming on how we ensure that our communities are resilient. Your thoughts on this topic are valuable, so please come along and help us shape this very important plan.

On Wednesday at 5.30pm, workshop No.2 will be looking at what we value in our place and how we protect it. It is a broad topic that will include issues like our fertile soils, our water quality and quantity, as well as protecting our community from the effects of global warming.

The Spatial Plan is probably our most important document going forward, as we will pull together several plans into one and make sure we plan appropriately for growth — and have a plan that supports growth, while protecting our natural environment and our residents.

Four more workshops will occur at the end of the month.

On Thursday morning, councillors and staff have a site visit to inspect the Waipaoa stopbanks. The Waipaoa River Flood Control Scheme involves upgrading the existing Waipaoa stopbanks to cater for a 100-year rain event allowing for climate change effects out to 2090. At this stage, the project will happen over the next 15 years, but we have applied for external funding to hopefully finish this very important work in a much shorter time frame.

The Navigations work schedule is on track to be ready for the sestercentennial commemorations in early October. I was privileged to attend the Tupapa walking trail opening on Saturday. It is a 4km walking tour from Waikanae Beach to Kaiti Hill with 10 pou where you can look, listen and read about traditional stories of voyaging and arrival in the place where iwi connect through shared history and ancestry.

The Cook memorial area is a busy worksite with the upgrade, additions and landscaping in full swing — another piece of our Navigations plan falling into place.

The completed elements will reflect the traditional stories of iwi along with the legacy of Cook and the significance of these landmarks in our region’s history.

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