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Plan for the region’s coast opens for public input

Plan for the region’s coast opens for public input

For immediate release: 13 May 2013

Bay of Plenty Regional Council wants to know what Bay residents want for the future of their coastline.

A draft Plan to manage water quality, natural character, infrastructure and other activities along the region’s coastline is now open for public input. The draft Regional Coastal Environment Plan outlines issues, objectives and policies for the coastal environment, including rules governing activities in the coastal marine area.

Regional Council staff consulted local district and city council staff, Department of Conservation, coastal iwi and hapu, Port of Tauranga, Opotiki Marine Advisory Group, Regional Aquaculture Organisation, Estuary Care Groups and Forest and Bird representatives during development of the draft Plan.

Changes to the existing Plan include a new Integrated Management section that updates information on water quality, natural heritage and coastal hazards where effects cross the land and water, new policies and rules for managing mangroves and aquaculture, updated biodiversity assessments and clearer guidance on how to manage natural heritage.

Revised harbour development zone provisions include specific policies for Tauranga, Whakatane and Opotiki, and an expanded zone at Opotiki to reflect consented harbour entrance redevelopment and facilities needed for the offshore marine farm.

The Plan also identifies regionally-significant surf breaks and historic heritage sites in the coastal marine area, revises Maori cultural values and introduces new policies about tsunami.

Chair of the Regional Council’s Strategy, Policy and Planning Committee Raewyn Bennett said the new Plan would enable the Regional Council to continue to promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources along the coast.

“The draft new RCEP contains policies to guide decision-making on resource consent applications for the coastal marine area, as well as on land next to the coast. While our existing Plan has worked well, there’s room for improvement,” she said.

“For example we could improve water quality in some of our estuaries and harbours, and we need to recognise and provide for cultural values and matauranga Māori. We need to manage our coastal margins, which include important habitats such as dune lands, wetlands and coastal forest that are vulnerable to damage.”

The Draft Plan opens for public feedback on 13 May until 28 June, 2013. Amendments will be made using the feedback received and a proposed Plan notified by the end of 2013. Copies are available on the Regional Council’s website www.boprc.govt.nz/coastalplan, or by visiting our offices, your local library or district/city council or calling 0800 884 880.

ENDS


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