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Deadline for Comment Extended

June 30, 2006

MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)

Deadline for Comment Extended

The deadline for public comments on a proposed change to Waitakere City Council’s district plan has been extended.

The draft change includes a new “Whenuapai Airport Special Area” within the District Plan, which could enable the existing Whenuapai Airforce Base to be used for commercial flights.

Submissions closed earlier this week, but after requests from many submitters the Council has agreed to push the consultation period out a further a 2 weeks.

Comments will now be received up until July 12 (5pm).

Some 300 comments on the draft plan change have been received so far.

Vanessa Neeson, chairman of the Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee says the extension is to enable views to be canvassed as widely as possible.

“We want people to have as much opportunity as possible to have their say. A two week extension doesn’t affect our (the Council’s) timeline at all and it means people have more of a chance to be heard,” she says.

People will have yet another opportunity to make formal submissions when the plan change is publicly notified under the Resource Management Act, in late August.

For that phase of consultation the Council has also decided to canvas views for a longer period than it is legally required to. Rather than the minimum 4 week submission period, people will have 8 weeks in which to make their views known.
“We know this is a very emotional issue, especially for those living close to the Base, and we want to hear from each and every one of them,” says Councillor Neeson.

Any change to the District Plan, if agreed, does not necessarily mean that Whenuapai will become an airport.

“It just creates a planning structure to enable that sort of activity if that is what is decided in the future,” says Councillor Neeson.
Information on the draft plan change and how to make a submission is available on the Council’s website (www.waitakere.govt.nz).


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