Concern over possible use zone changes

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Concerned residents. . . Mataura residents (from left) Matthew Lucassen, Rachael Joostens and Mike Whale are not happy about a letter they received from the Gore District Council advising them a review of the land use zone might see the area where they live change from a rural to an industrial zone. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

“Regular streams of requests urging it to think about freeing up” rural-zoned land for industrial purposes is one reason the Gore District Council is reviewing land use zones in the district, council chief executive Steve Parry says.

About 10 days ago, some Gore and Mataura residents who live in a rural-zoned area were sent a letter advising them the council, as part of its district plan review, was considering a land use change for their properties from rural to industrial.

Mr Parry said given the recent demand for land for residential, commercial and industrial development it was obvious there was a need for land to be freed up.

“It’s a consistent message from people in the know and agents around town, so hence the council is turning its mind to looking at future needs and looking at zoning more industrial land.”

Recent market analysis indicated more land was required to provide for large to medium-scale manufacturing, heavy industry and dairy and meat processing.

“At present there is insufficient land already zoned industrial to meet the forecast demand and growth within the industrial sector.

“Rezoning land will provide for those industries, which will in turn grow the district’s economy and provide local employment opportunities.”

About 79 property owners are being consulted on the possible review in north and south Gore and Mataura.

Four couples who live in Carteret St, Mataura – Mike and Lorraine Whale, Martin and Kim Taylor and Matthew and Jacqueline Lucassen – are opposed to the possible land use change.

While he had not spoken to all those affected by the proposal, the general consensus among their neighbours was the rezoning was not welcome, Mr Joostens said.

“Who would want an industrial building next door to a family home? Our rural amenity will be lost should this go ahead.”

It was his view that if the council wanted to establish or extend any industrial zone it should first buy the land.

While the letter from the council stated rezoning to industrial would not affect the landowners’ existing rights to use the land, he did not believe this would be so.

“Should property owners wish to establish a family flat, establish home occupation , subdivide or extend their house … they will be obliged to obtain a resource consent from council, not to mention possible rate increases,” Mr Joostens said.

Mrs Joostens said she did not want to live in an area zoned as industrial.

“We could have a big stinky factory right next door to us operating 24/7.

“It could be emitting poisonous gases.”

Mr Whale said the area was a quiet rural community.

“We didn’t move here to be in an industrial zone.”

Mr and Mrs Taylor said they chose to buy their property 18 years ago because of the “isolation, peace and quiet”.

They had experience of what it was like to live close to an industrial area as there was a sawmill nearby in Cardigan Bay Rd.

In the past, the couple had complained about the “constant noise” from the sawmill.

After a “hell of a long time” most of those issues had been resolved.

He had built the house the couple lived in 15 years ago and his wife had planted trees, Mr Lucassen said.

“Now you get birds galore,” he said.

The couple had created a “beautiful living environment”, they said.

“Why would we spoil it?”

Many people walked, cycled or rode horses in the area.

“If you start changing the zone you will get a completely different atmosphere.”

Tali McLean lives in Mataura’s Main St.

Ms McLean said she was concerned the value of her home would go down if the land was rezoned.

“I’m going to lose a lot of money on my property.”

Mataura Community Board chairman Alan Taylor said he encouraged people to give feedback on the review.

“This is an opportunity for residents to have their voice heard and to have input into the town’s future.”