Two new RMA fees set by coun­cil

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ELENA MCPHEE

Peo­ple want­ing to carry out ac­tiv­i­ties in breach of the dis­trict plan will now have to pay hun­dreds of dol­lars to ap­ply to get their ac­tiv­i­ties con­sid­ered ‘‘per­mit­ted’’.

The Ti­maru Dis­trict Coun­cil set new Re­source Con­sent Act fees on Tues­day.

Two new Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA) cat­e­gories - ‘‘per­mit­ted bound­ary ac­tiv­i­ties’’ and ‘‘per­mit­ted ac­tiv­i­ties’’ - were in­tro­duced na­tion­wide this year and will in­cur a lodge­ment fee of $525.

A ‘‘per­mit­ted ac­tiv­ity’’ is some­thing the coun­cil has de­cided to al­low af­ter car­ry­ing out an as­sess­ment.

A ‘‘per­mit­ted bound­ary ac­tiv­ity’’ re­lates to sit­u­a­tions where a build­ing breaches a bound­ary rule, but the writ­ten ap­proval of af­fected neigh­bours has been ob­tained.

A fur­ther cat­e­gory of ‘‘mon­i­tor­ing of per­mit­ted ac­tiv­ity un­der the na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards’’ has also been ap­proved, with an un­spec­i­fied charge.

The new RMA fees were in­tro­duced fol­low­ing a coun­cil by­law re­view.

They will be used to cover the cost of pro­vid­ing ser­vices which would oth­er­wise be cov­ered via gen­eral rates.

Four sub­mis­sions were made on the fees and charges, by Mc­gre­gor Simp­son, the South Can­ter­bury Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Friends of the The­atre Royal, and Well­spring Farm.

None of the sub­mit­ters elected to speak about their RMA sub­mis­sions at the coun­cil hear­ing on Tues­day.

Simp­son said in his sub­mis­sion that in his view an ac­tiv­ity was ei­ther ‘‘le­gal or not’’.

‘‘To al­low some ap­pli­cants to have the right to pay ex­or­bi­tant fees so that the case can be heard by ap­pointed lo­cal body em­ploy­ees could lead to abuse and dis­ad­van­tage an af­fected third party.’’

The coun­cil pro­vided an on­line re­sponse to his sub­mis­sion, say­ing it could not over­ride changes to the RMA and was obliged to im­ple­ment them.

The Cham­ber of Com­merce sub­mis­sion from chief ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Smith noted it would be dif­fi­cult to set a spe­cific fee for mon­i­tor­ing of an ac­tiv­ity un­der na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, be­cause costs were likely to dif­fer de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the ac­tiv­ity.

How­ever Smith said on Wed­nes­day that the cham­ber was com­fort­able with the fees be­ing put in place.

‘‘As long as they are ap­pro­pri­ate and trans­par­ent as the coun­cil is ad­vis­ing us they will be,’’ Smith said.

‘‘I don’t think neg­a­tive im­pact.’’ it will have a

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