24 April 2018

Climate change, the management of pests and targeted rates affordability were key themes shared by submitters at Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Long Term Plan hearings, held last week.

More than 70 people presented their submissions to the Council, with Regional Council Chair Doug Leeder saying it was valuable for the Council to hear the public's views and see the passion that people had about the region in person.

"It's always incredibly important to hear the issues, ideas and thoughts that the community has about our work and across the four days we've gained some important insight into how the community feels about the work we've proposed.

"It's clear from what we've heard and what we've been reading in all the submissions that we've got some work to do around Climate Change in setting the direction the Council has to take.

"We also heard from many people that we should be upping our work in the biosecurity space - especially in relation to the discovery of catfish in Lake Rotoiti and to controlling the spread of wallabies and woolly nightshade - and so we'll be looking at how we do this while keeping rates at a level that the community can afford."

Mr Leeder said he thanked everyone who took the time to present, but assured people that the written submissions were just as valuable to the deliberations process.

"We'll spend three days next month from the 22nd to 24th of May going through all of them and making decisions on what we should be doing. The final plan, which sets our work for the next three years will then be adopted late June."

In addition he said Council heard presentations from a number of organisations seeking funding from its Community Initiatives Fund.

"Again, we've got some tough decisions ahead of us as the amount of funding sought has far exceeded the amount we have to give."

The Regional Council has budgeted approximately $500,000 for community funding each year for the next three years, made up of $200,000 for the Community Initiatives Fund and $300,000 for Environmental Enhancement Funding. $2.7 million has been sought by groups for the Community Initiatives Funding over this period