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Mapping project rolled out in Far North

Date: 06 August, 2012

Mapping project rolled out in Far North

A Northland-wide mapping project to meet latest government requirements for identifying outstanding natural areas and coastal land is currently being rolled out in the Far North.

Northland Regional Council is working in partnership with the three district councils, and is contacting nearly 4400 affected Far North landowners to help refine the draft maps. (Almost 3000 affected Whangarei landowners and almost 1200 from Kaipara have already been contacted over the past two months.)

While any member of the public can provide feedback on the draft maps now, a full Northland-wide public consultation period will begin later this year.

All New Zealand councils must meet new government policy to identify and protect ‘outstanding’ areas around the coast, under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS).

At the same time, existing ‘outstanding’ areas throughout the region are being reviewed to ensure they’re consistent and meet current central government requirements.

Regional councillor Ian Walker says legal requirements aside, the project has some important benefits for Northlanders.

“We want to meet Governments statutory obligations in a way that works best for Northland and its communities, and that’s why we’ve opted for one project that produces regionally consistent maps.

“The region’s four councils are in agreement that running one region-wide mapping project is much more efficient and cost-effective than each district council having to do this separately.”

“Regionally consistent maps of these areas will create more certainty in the long-run – for landowners, communities, developers and council decision-makers – and prevent potentially costly battles at the consents stage.”

Mr Walker says to date it’s been a massive undertaking and has included Northland Regional Council staff meeting affected landowners face-to-face to listen to their views and discuss whether the draft maps have identified the right land.

“We’re not going to get it all right first go and as a result of landowner feedback we are shifting lines where necessary, removing areas like forestry plantations.
“By talking to these directly-affected landowners first, we’ll end up with more robust maps to put out for wider public consultation later this year.”

To meet NZCPS criteria, the draft maps distinguish between coastal and non-coastal land, and identify ‘outstanding and high natural character’ areas within the coastal environment. At the same time, ‘outstanding natural landscapes’ and ‘outstanding natural features’ are also being reviewed (most of these areas were last mapped in 1995 and are now out of date).

Once finalised, the maps will be incorporated into district and regional plans, which contain the rules that protect the values of these areas. Clarifying the rules for these areas is a separate process that the district councils will go through later – first the areas need to be clearly identified.

For more information about the Northland mapping project visit the regional council’s website at www.nrc.govt.nz/rpsmaps


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