Regional Council celebrates 25 years
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is celebrating 25 years this month.
Regional Councils were set up in November 1989, replacing more than 700 ad-hoc bodies that had been formed in the previous century, such as roads, catchment, drainage, pest control, harbour, domain and reserve boards.
Chairman Doug Leeder said it had been gratifying to look back over the Regional Council’s history and see what it had achieved.
Its work included managing the cleanup of Rotorua’s lakes, and protection and enhancement of both Tauranga and Ohiwa Harbours. Over the years it had fenced off many kilometres of streams and rivers to protect fresh water resources, eradicated many plant and animal pests and managed navigation safety and civil defence for the region. It provided public transport in Tauranga, Rotorua and eastern Bay of Plenty, and was investing heavily in river schemes to protect communities from flooding, he said.
“We have a lot to thank those early councillors and staff for in leading the way 25 years ago. Our population has exploded during that time, particularly in the western Bay, and the issues that we face become more challenging each year.”
“Our role has also moved from solely managing the environment into economic development in the Bay, because of our unique ability to take a Bay-wide approach to analysing our region’s economic issues,” he said.
“The people and the environment have been central to what we have been doing for 25 years, and that won’t change.”
About Bay of Plenty Regional Council:
- The Regional Council was formed from 25 boards and services to manage the region’s environmental and physical resources.
- Regional boundaries were based largely on drainage basins, and included the district and city councils in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, western Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Whakatane, Kawerau and Opotiki.
- The region covers more than 21,800 square kilometres of land and sea, three mountains, 18 offshore islands, eight major rivers, two harbours and five estuaries, with a population of 268,000. It started with 95 full-time staff, spread around five buildings based at first in Whakatane.
- In 1994 it was the first local body to elect dedicated Maori representatives.