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Looking ahead ... Gore District Council staff who will be preparing a review of the district plan are (clockwise from left) regulatory and planning general manager Ian Davidson-Watts, plan ning technical officer Lynley Hocking, principal planner consultant Keith Hovell and planner Fran Davies. PHOTO:SANDY.EGGLESTON

The review of the Gore district plan is under way.

The current district plan had been due for review in 2016 but this was put on hold because at the time the Government was planning significant changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA).

The last district plan was created in 2006, after a seven-year-long process.

Gore District Council principal planner consultant Keith Hovell said the district plan set out what people could and could not do on a piece of land and changes to the RMA since 2006 would substantially alter what the new district plan would look like.

“The changes that have happened to the RMA stress far more than what is in our plan – issues such as identifying important landscapes, identifying important biodiversity, nature areas and bush areas and recognising them in the district plan,” Mr Hovell said.

There were several aspects involving the landscape the council would have to consider.

“The whole process will look at should there be controls applying to the removal of bush areas? Should there be controls applying to what people can do on the important landscapes in the district?

“It’s all up for grabs – there is no agenda from council at this stage.

“It needs to work out what approach it wants to adopt on all of these things.”

A special planning team involving council staff and independent consultants had been put together to prepare the draft of the plan.

“This task is so immense.”

The RMA also required more public consultation especially with iwi.

“Since the last plan was prepared the role of iwi in plan preparation has gone up a notch to recognise the Crown’s responsibility under the Treaty of Waitangi.

“It requires us to be more structured in that consultation.”

Another change brought in by the RMA was a standard template for all new plans including the use of a set of definitions and presentation of planning documents in an ePlan format. Starting in May, councillors would attend workshops every four weeks to discuss various issues to do with the review.