Healthy Rivers open days due to start

South Waikato News - - Community Cookbook - LUKE KIRKEBY

The South Waikato District Coun­cil is cur­rently work­ing on how it will ap­proach the sub­mis­sion process for the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s Healthy Rivers Plan Change.

The plan change is aimed at boost­ing the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers dam­aged by farm­ing and will ef­fect landown­ers over two hectares within the river catch­ments.

South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock said it was a se­ri­ous is­sue for the South Waikato as 100km of the Waikato river flows through it.

‘‘We have been re­ally firm that we want eco­nomic growth but not at the ex­pense of the en­vi­ron­ment,’’ she said.

South Waikato District Coun­cil group reg­u­la­tory man­ager Sharon Robin­son said $50,000 has been set aside for the process of pay­ing for re­ports, spe­cial­ists and go­ing through the sub­mis­sion process.

She said the coun­cil has un­til March 2017 to make a sub­mis­sion.

‘‘It is na­tional leg­is­la­tion and in my view from a purely plan­ning per­spec­tive it is a prag­matic plan change,’’ she said.

‘‘It is go­ing to have a huge im­pact on our district, there is no ar­gu­ment about that, but we have al­ready made big changes in our District Plan for farm­ers and it seems to have set­tled in quite nicely.’’

She said once the coun­cil has made a sub­mis­sion it will have the op­tion of sup­port­ing or op­pos­ing oth­ers.

‘‘They have to ad­ver­tise sub­mis­sions so everyone sees everyone elses and if you are a sub­mit­ter you can sup­port or op­pose some of those sub­mis­sions and then the hear­ing com­mit­tee will make any changes and then there is the process of is­su­ing the de­ci­sion,’’ she said.

‘‘At each point we will come back to the coun­cil de­pend­ing on what our bud­get al­lows.’’

A se­ries of pub­lic open days are due to start shortly on the pro­posed change.

‘‘This is a great op­por­tu­nity for farm­ers, grow­ers, businesses and the gen­eral com­mu­nity to un­der­stand the de­tail of what’s being pro­posed,’’ Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Vaughan Payne said.

‘‘These open days will help peo­ple to make in­formed sub­mis­sions that help us reach work­able so­lu­tions to the com­plex is­sue of wa­ter qual­ity.’’

An open day will be held at the Pu­taruru Ho­tel on Mon­day, De­cem­ber 5 from 11am un­til 3pm.

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