NRC surprised by public response to 10-year plan
More than 2200 submissions have been received on the Northland Regional Council’s ‘ambitious’ Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-2028.
A month-long period for public submissions closed at 4pm on April 17, with the council impressed by the level of community interest in its proposals.
Council chairman Bill Shepherd says he is delighted by the response.
“We have some big decisions to make and we rely on community feedback like this to help us make them,” Chairman Shepherd says. “It’s great to get such a large amount of feedback and council will now be very carefully reading the reasoning people have provided when making their submissions; in a nutshell, we want to know why you think what you think.”
When the official public submission period began last month, chairman Shepherd described the LTP as ‘ambitious’, saying it reflected community calls for the council to do more to clean up waters, protect native species and provide better flood protection.
While rates would have to rise to cover the costs of this work, initial indications are that there’s strong support for the ‘big three’ region wide consultation topics of water, pests and flood infrastructure funding.
“Obviously with more than 2200 submissions to process – and the formal submission period only ending very recently – it will take another few days to accurately log and collate all these responses in detail.”
During the formal submission period, the council had last month also held a series of ‘Have Your Say’ events around the region enabling people to give feedback direct to councillors.
“These March events were held instead of a more formal hearing process and again we received some really useful feedback on our plans covering the entire spectrum of opinions.”
The Have Your Say events were held at Whangarei, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Dargaville and Mangawhai, with attendance varying from just a single person at Mangawhai, through to more than 60 at Kaitaia.
Chairman Shepherd says once all submissions have been formally logged and recorded, staff would begin compiling a detailed deliberations report for councillors, who would also be provided with copies of all 2200-plus submissions.
Councillors would formally deliberate the LTP proposals – including all public feedback – in Whangarei on Wednesday May 16.
Chairman Shepherd says the meeting will be open to the public and people are very welcome to attend and observe the deliberation process.
“However, during the deliberations, members of the public will not be able to actively take part, including commenting or asking questions.”
“We have some big decisions to make and we rely on community feedback like this to help us make them.”
Bill Shepherd, NRC chairman