Flood of submissions to Regional Council’s Long Term Plan
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has received 50 percent more submissions to its Long term Plan as it did for its last Ten Year Plan.
More than 270 submissions had been made when submissions closed on Friday on the proposed Plan, which sets out key challenges for the Bay of Plenty and how they will be tackled. The Regional Council had 182 submissions to its last Ten Year Plan in 2012 and this year many more want to be heard in person.
The Council’s consultation document Thriving Together, which summarised the issues, was officially notified in February.
Chairman Doug Leeder said the number of submission points totalled more than 800.
“People showed strong support for our water policies and catchment work, and efforts to maintain or improve biodiversity and biosecurity,” he said.
“There is also strong support for future policy and planning, but mixed views on non-statutory planning. Infrastructure funding requests, particularly for Tarawera and Te Puna sewerage, are well supported, along with a fair degree of support for rebuilding our Infrastructure Fund, although many want it to happen faster.”
He said there was support for civil defence plans and climate change-related resilience and safety work. Iwi also sought support from the Regional Council’s Māori Policy team to develop Memoranda of Understanding.
Amongst the submissions were a number of non-infrastructure funding requests, but few submissions were made on the proposed general rates increase, while some disputed the fairness of targeted rates.
Mr Leeder said he was delighted with the response.
“We need residents’ input about what is most important to them, and where we should spend a limited amount of money over the next 10 years. Our five key community outcomes have been identified for our region – water quality and quantity, environmental protection, resilience and safety, regional collaboration and leadership and economic development.
“It’s important that people told us what they want for their region, and it gives us a strong basis on which to make decisions.”
Hearings will be held throughout the region in April, with more sessions required to accommodate the large number of submitters who wish to be heard. The Long Term Plan will be finalised in June this year after public submissions have been considered.