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Boost to improve Rotorua lake water quality

Boost to improve Rotorua lake water quality
For immediate release: Monday 26 March 2012
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is planning to spend $45.5 million during the next eight years on changing land use around four of Rotorua’s lakes to improve water quality.

The Regional Council has included the proposal in its draft Ten Year Plan 2012 - 2022, and is seeking submissions on it. To ensure the community is better informed about this planned move, the Regional Council has released parts of the proposed Regional Policy Statement (RPS) relating to water quality and land use.

The RPS provides high-level direction for regional, district and city plans across the region. The draft Ten Year Plan is being released on Tuesday 27 March for consultation with the community and stakeholders.
Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor Neil Oppatt, who was a member of the proposed RPS Hearing Committee, said the water quality and land use decisions were particularly important for the Rotorua community, given the work being undertaken on the lakes.

The $144 million Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme partnership between the Regional Council, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Rotorua District Council and the Ministry for the Environment focuses on four lakes – Rotorua, Rotoiti, Ōkāreka and Rotoehu.

Councillor Oppatt, who represents the Rotorua constituency, said all the Rotorua Lakes were a priority for restoring water quality.

“The decisions for water quality show the direction the Regional Council is taking for nutrient management in Rotorua lakes,” Councillor Oppatt said.

“It is important that key stakeholders, iwi and agencies are able to consider in parallel the regulatory and non-regulatory approaches the Regional Council is taking under both the Resource Management Act 1991 (which drives the creation of the RPS) and Local Government Act 2002 (which drives the creation of the Ten Year Plan),” he said.
Included in the RPS water quality and land use proposals are stronger references to the importance of soil as a resource, and that water quality is to be enhanced to meet the values associated with the water’s use and protection.

Council’s decisions require a reduction in the levels of nutrients entering the region’s water bodies. For Lake Rotorua, the RPS states that no nitrogen losses into the lake in excess of sustainable limits are permitted beyond 2022, a three year extension, and that land use change will be necessary.

Councillor Oppatt said all of these recent decisions consolidated a substantial amount of research and analysis that’s been undertaken during the past few years.
“We encourage feedback through the Ten Year Plan, as we genuinely want to know what our community thinks about this proposal,” he said.

“We will continue to inform communities of future Council decisions and how these are implemented.”

The draft Ten Year Plan and Proposed RPS are available on the Regional Council website www.boprc.govt.nz. Ten Year Plan submissions open on Tuesday, 27 March and close at 4pm on Friday, 27 April.

Ends

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