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SmartGrowth implementation reaches milestone

SmartGrowth implementation reaches milestone

An important milestone has been reached in the implementation of SmartGrowth, the 50-year plan for managing growth in the western Bay of Plenty.

In September 2005, Environment Bay of Plenty adopted a proposed change to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement to formalise aspects of SmartGrowth. Environment Bay of Plenty has now released its decisions on submissions on that proposal. The proposed change, which establishes urban limits around Tauranga and other urban areas in the western Bay of Plenty, has been amended in accordance with the Council’s decisions from 7 November 2006.

John Mandemaker, Environment Bay of Plenty’s Group Manager Strategic Policy, says the western Bay of Plenty’s projected population growth will mostly be accommodated by residential development associated with existing urban areas.

“This approach will stop the spread of urban Tauranga around the whole Tauranga Harbour, and help to protect the special qualities of the harbour,” says Mr Mandemaker. “The proposed change also provides for Maori to establish housing in the areas they have a special connection to, helps protect the region’s rural values and allows the area’s versatile soils to be available for food production.”

After earlier drafts had been prepared with its SmartGrowth partners, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and tangata whenua representatives, Environment Bay of Plenty adopted the proposed change and called for submissions. The submissions were heard by a panel of hearing commissioners in June and July and their recommendations were adopted by Environment Bay of Plenty on 26 October 2006.

“This formal step has given the community the opportunity to express its views on the approach that’s being taken. While some amendments have been made as a result of submissions, the regional council has confirmed its intention to establish urban limits.”

Submitters now have the opportunity to appeal the Council’s decisions on their submissions to the Environment Court. When any appeals are resolved and Environment Bay of Plenty finally approves the Proposed Change, it will be fully incorporated into the Operative Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement. The three councils will then give effect to the change through their regional and district plans.

ends

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