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SmartGrowth put to final test

MEDIA RELEASE


SmartGrowth put to final test

For immediate release: Friday 23 September 2005

The practical realities of SmartGrowth will soon be put to the public test.

Tauranga and western Bay of Plenty residents have already made it clear they support SmartGrowth, a strategy for managing growth in the area over the next 50 years. Now they will be formally asked whether they are willing to pin the strategy’s concepts down in law.

At a council meeting yesterday (Thursday), Environment Bay of Plenty put the final stamp on a proposal to change its paramount planning document, the Regional Policy Statement, to reflect SmartGrowth’s vision. Next week, it will publicly notify the proposed change so people and groups can make submissions on it.

The change involves adding a new chapter, called Growth Management, to the Regional Policy Statement. One of the more controversial aspects is a set of high-level map setting future limits for urban growth. The regional council has the full support of its local authority partners, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council, for the changes.

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman John Cronin says that, because the document is a regulatory tool, the inclusion of SmartGrowth concepts will bind territorial authorities to them. “It really is the crunch time now. We received a lot of feedback from our earlier period of more informal consultation, and we made a number of alterations from that. Now, we are taking the final draft through into the formal phase.”

Environment Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council signed off the SmartGrowth strategy last year. Since then, an implementation committee, which includes council and tangata whenua representatives, has met regularly to ensure it does not lose momentum, Mr Cronin says.

“This has been a huge endeavour and we are proud to be part of it. It will shape the future of the sub-region – and make a real difference to the people living here.”

For more information, call 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or go to www.envbop.govt.nz and click “in consultation”. Submissions open on Tuesday 27 September and close on Friday 11 November. Copies of the proposed change are available from Environment Bay of Plenty offices in Rotorua, Mount Maunganui and Whakatane, from district and city council offices, and in libraries.

ENDS

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