Maximum community input favoured for plan
CONSULTATION with the public on the spatial plan project should be as widespread as possible on topics such as what future industries should look like and where development should be, the District Council’s Future Tairawhiti committee heard.
The committee was approving a consultation and engagement plan for the Spatial Plan, with public engagement due to start next month.
Councillor Bill Burdett said there were good ideas in the plan but questioned what the cost would be.
Council transformation and relationships director Keita Kohere said the purpose of the plan was to guide investment; costs could not be anticipated now.
Shannon Dowsing said the real cost would be if the council did nothing.
Beyond council’s core activities, this was the biggest opportunity for economic development in the region.
Councillor Andy Cranston said there were huge inefficiencies in having council offices in Te Puia. He supported moving them to Ruatoria which could become a focus area in the spatial plan, and would improve what was otherwise an inefficient commercial sector.
Pat Seymour said electricity generation was one of the issues around the coast. The draft document listed government departments but not companies. Government ministers would talk about job issues but at the end of the day they were not the people who were going to make things happen.
Councillor Rehette Stoltz said the council should not go up the coast with a predetermined plan. To her this was one of the most important pieces of work for the council because it would determine where growth would happen.
“We need to make sure we hear what the public wants,” she said.
Councillor Karen Fenn said it was important to consider what youth wanted. The spatial plan was looking forward to 2050 so it was their future that was being discussed.
Josh Wharehinga said two “youth MPs” represented the council with central government. That would be a good place to start.
As well as large groups, the council should pay attention to smaller groups such as the shooting club which had to move because of the lack of robust spatial planning by the council.
Mr Burdett said exciting developments such as medicinal cannabis were happening on the Coast. He had had offers to purchase some of his freehold property. He was not about to sell but the interest was there from not only Gisborne but the Bay of Plenty.
There were five processing plants extracting metal at Waiapu River where there was only one 15 months ago.
These were exciting times for Gisborne and the Coast, he said.
Amber Dunn said this was about community engagement and how the council should go about it. The counciil wanted to be inclusive of all the community and wanted every person who wished to contribute to be involved
Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she was grateful this would be a considered process. Schools could be added to the consultation.She was looking forward to seeing people’s aspirations.
Mayor Meng Foon said he would like to include developers in the plan because they would be the ones who were actually doing things.
Larry Foster said the draft projected population growth of 4000 when there had been 2000 in 18 months.
“Our mindset is not in the right place,” he said. “While we are sitting here, people are flooding into the city.”
Clr Brian Wilson said the future of the region would not just be in the traditional industries that were already here.
Having heavy trucks running through the region was not the way to go in the long term. It was at the moment and would be for a long time but the council should be asking what industries people wanted in the future.
Amber Dunn said the council was not meant to know where where the future industries would be, its role was to make sure that people would be able to come here and establish their business.
Keita Kohere said the aspiration was about sustainable growth for the region.All the feedback would be welcomed and it would be an iterative process as they went along. The first engagement would teach the council a lot and staff would be adapting to what they were hearing.