Information evening . . . South Gore resident Donna Vincent organised a meeting last week to show her neighbours how to make a submission on the Gore District Council’s draft plan proposal to rezone the land where they live from rual to industrial. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

What started out as a gathering of a few neighbours to discuss giving feedback on a Gore District Council draft plan proposal grew as more people found out.

By the time the meeting was held at the Gore Racecourse on Wednesday, about 50 Gore South residents gathered to discuss the proposal to rezone the land where they live from rural to industrial.

The proposed change covers the area alongside State Highway 1 from Racecourse Rd to Saleyard Rd, bordered by Racecourse Lane on the west.

Earlier this year, the council sent letters to about 79 rural property owners in north and south Gore and Mataura, advising them the council was reviewing the land use.

Mataura residents opposed the rezoning and the council withdrew the proposal to include the land north of the town in the review.

Wednesday night’s meeting was organised by Donna Vincent.

The draft plan submissions were due to close on Friday, so Mrs Vincent decided to gather a few neighbours together in her home to discuss giving feedback, she said.

Some of the neighbours did not know about the rezoning proposal.

“I thought, ‘that’s not right’.”

As more and more neighbours talked among themselves, she found there were many more people wanting to ‘‘know what’s going on”, so the meeting place was changed to the racecourse.

During the meeting, residents discussed their concerns, and Mrs Vincent also explained how to make a submission.

Prior to the meeting, she had not been totally opposed to the rezoning, but now she was.

Industry had been established in pockets near the towns, and now it was as if the council wanted to rezone the land where there was space to allow large areas for industrial development to ‘‘fill in the blank spaces’’.

‘‘There’s people in those blank spaces and they’re not happy at all.’’

She lived near the Silver Fern Farms Waitane meat processing plant and was happy to do so, she said.

‘‘They’re great neighbours.’’

However, she did not want to see industry developed in the area.

In April, district council chief executive Steve Parry told The Ensignthere was a demand for industrial-zoned 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,’’ Mr Parry said.

Stephen and Jo Hook are opposed to the land being rezoned.

The couple were second-generation owners on the 3.7ha lifestyle block next door to the Gore Racecourse land, and intended to pass it on to their children.

“We are improving the land. .. putting more trees for the birds,” Mrs Hook said.

“Now it makes you question whether you actually go ahead and do that,” Mr Hook said.

“Do you actually spend money and time improving the property?” he said.

Tui, bellbirds and other native species lived in the trees planted on the property, she said.

The property was their place of “serenity”.

If businesses were built on the land the area would be lit up, which would shine into their home, she said.

Mr Hook did not think it was a good look for the town to have an industrial area on its outskirts.

“At the moment it is quite a nice vista as you drive in, having all the farming and the lifestyle blocks.”

People who drove past their house often commented to her about the black-faced sheep on the property or new trees that had been planted, she said.

“People see that and are noticing as they drive past.

“People really like it.’’

  • The council’s district plan review committee will consider all the submissions and early next year will provide a summary of the feedback.
  • The committee will also recommend if there should be any changes to the draft plan.
  • After that, a proposed district plan will be notified and then will be open for public consultation.