Submissions sought on far-reaching plan

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Recent high waves on the west coast really bring home the impacts of our increasingly unpredictable climate.

These natural events are becoming more and more common, and the recent work done by Waikato District Council as part of the Proposed District Plan looks to manage the impact these events have on people, their property and infrastructure over time.

Submissions open on Monday, July 27 for Stage 2 of the Proposed Waikato District Plan.

Waves causing erosion at Port Waikato

This latest stage of the plan review covers river flooding, flood ponding, coastal inundation and erosion, mine subsidence in Huntly East, land instability, wildfire and liquefaction.

This revised information takes a more detailed approach to managing natural hazards than what is currently in the Operative District Plan. It is based on new research, technical assessments and modelling of natural hazards in the Waikato district and will roll out a consistent approach to hazards across the Waikato and former-Franklin districts.

Everyone in the district will be affected by this part of the plan to varying degrees depending on the natural hazard risks that might be in their area.

Properties at risk of flooding, ponding, coastal inundation and erosion or mine subsidence are identified on the proposed planning maps which will be available on Monday.

The proposal is that these areas will be subject to specific policies and rules that relate to the hazard risks that are present.

High risk hazard areas are areas where it would not be sensible to allow new development and subdivision. Because of the uncertainty around natural hazard events and the changing climate, Council has also mapped land that has the potential to be impacted by natural hazards in the next 100 years.

The proposed rules don’t make land worthless or mean it can’t be developed, but they make sure that development considers the potential risks and how they can be avoided or reduced – for example, this could mean building a re-locatable house so it can be moved, in the future, if the potential hazard becomes an issue.

The council is also proposing some general rules that will apply to all properties in the district that will help manage the impacts of liquefaction, land instability and fire risk.

Waikato District Council Planning and Policy Manager Jim Ebenhoh says the council is aware that it’s not popular to put lines on a map to identify hazard areas. “We want people to remember that not only are we required to do this, but we need to. It’s the right thing to do. We need to ensure that houses are built in relatively safe places. We have examples in the district where natural hazards are affecting buildings including people’s homes, like in Port Waikato where the community is currently dealing with coastal erosion. One bach has already been removed due to the risk.

“Going forward, we need to think about the bigger picture. We need to think about the impacts of changing climate and we need to manage land use and development in order to protect people and their property from these natural hazards.

“To do this we’ve relied on the most up-to-date modelling available to create these proposed hazard areas. But this modelling doesn’t pick up the nuances, history and information that we as people have. We know our district has a history of flooding because the Waikato River runs through it. If you’ve lived in this district for long enough, you will know if your property has been prone to flooding. You will be able to imagine what a 1-in-100 year flood would look like and the impacts it would have on your property. I urge you to have a look at the maps and tell us what you think. If you don’t agree with what you see, tell us. Make sure your voice is heard,” Ebenhoh said.

Have your say

Everyone is encouraged to have their say by making a submission. Submissions are open from Monday, July 27 and close at 5pm on Wednesday,September 23.

All information, including a submission form, will be on www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/sayit from Monday. Alternatively, you can access this information at any of the council offices and libraries from next week.

You will be able to lodge a submission by:

• posting it to Waikato District Council, Private Bag 544, Ngaruawahia, 3742

• delivering it to the front counter at any of our offices or libraries

• emailing it to districtplan@waidc.govt.nz.

If you have any questions or want to arrange an appointment with a planner, call the council on 0800 492 452 or email districtplan@waidc.govt.nz. Properties which are included in a proposed hazard map area will receive a letter detailing what this means to them and their property.

Drop in session

Go along at any stage during the times below to ask questions and get help with making a submission from an independent “Friend of the Submitter”.

Tamahere: Tuesday, September 1, 3pm-6:30pm, Tamahere Community Centre, 21 Devine Rd, Tamahere.

The review of the Operative Waikato District Plan is being done in two stages. Stage 1 covered all topics other than natural hazards and the impacts of climate change and was open for submissions in 2018. Council’s independent hearings panel is currently hearing these submissions. Stage 2 completes the review of the Operative District Plan.

 

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