Planning for future growth

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The Gore district is embarking on a growth period, attracting new business and higher tourist numbers, and there is greater demand for services, council planning consultant Keith Howell says.

At its meeting on Tuesday night, the Gore District Council decided to undertake a spatial planning process to point the way forward for future growth in the district.

Mr Hovell posed the question to the meeting of where the council wanted to be in 2050.

“What’s the vision?”

“The Mataura Valley Milk development, for example, represents a major development which will create significant numbers of new local jobs and lead to increased need for local contractors and demand for industrial and residential land,” he said in a report to councillors.

There was no readily available, suitably zoned industrial land to meet this need or to provide for any other medium-to-large-scale industries that might want to locate in the district.

“Similarly, the proposed subdivision of land in East Gore by the council will utilise the last remaining block of land zoned for residential purposes that can be easily developed in the town,” Mr Hovell said.

A recent RMA amendment required the council to ensure there was sufficient housing and business development capacity to meet expected short-, medium- and long-term demand, he said.

There was clear benefit in identifying the needs of industry that might wish to set up in the district and ensuring it was provided for, both in terms of sites and also with the regulatory framework, he said.

One of the questions posed in the report was whether future development should be consolidated in Gore and Mataura.

In the interests of integrated management and meeting the wish of the council to be ready for business, more land was required for development and it was appropriate for the council, in consultation with the community, to consider alternative futures.

The spatial plan would be predicated on the basis of estimated future population of the Gore district and its needs through various time periods through to 2050.

“It will also enable consideration of a social agenda – for example, the desirability of providing employment or continuing education for those [aged] 16-30 years who leave the district because of lack of opportunities,” he said.

“So it’s a really all-embracing document.”

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the recommendation was a significant item and he believed a spatial plan was absolutely necessary.

Chief executive Steve Parry said he got the impression, particularly in the past 12 months, the community was very keen for the council to take the lead.

It was hoped the plan would help shape the district’s future and incorporate different strands the council was working on such as a subdivision and land development bylaw, natural hazards, heritage, ecology and landscape studies.