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Closer look at Lloyd George Road planning?not before time

Opinion Piece

Gisborne District Council will be hoping that a consultant’s report it has commissioned will help it to finally resolve a long-standing problem over how much development should be allowed in the Lloyd George Road area — an issue that leads naturally into the continuing debate on reticulation for the Wainui-Okitu area.

A complex planning scenario for the area has led to what councillors described as a “higgedly-piggedly” situation, with sections allowed well below the minimum size in the district plan.

That is because of the unique zoning of the area, which is rural lifestyle but with a special allowance for subdivision of lots that existed in 1982 into two separate lots of at least 2000 square metres — compared to the minimum lot size of 5000sq m for rural lifestyle in the plan. Some have been divided even smaller.

The report from 4Sight Consulting says the ecological consequences of the development scenarios considered are unlikely to be significant on the stream and a 2000sq m lot size is feasible.

Council staff are now going back to residents and iwi to get their views before a decision is made on whether a change to the district plan is needed.

The health of the Wainui Stream has caused other problems for the council, which in effect had to fine itself $50,000 for an accidental discharge of wastewater into the stream. After discussions with residents it has decided to use this money to create a wetlands in the Heath Johnston Park area that will hopefully reduce pollution of the stream.

Present indications are that the councillors are against more intensive development in Lloyd George Road, but they could agree to a 2000sq m minimum lot size for the area to standardise it and put this long-standing problem to bed.

The issue of reticulation for Wainui-Okitu will remain as the elephant in the room.

Mayor Meng Foon is correct when he says there are many people who do not want reticulation of any sort because of the cost. That does not mean the debate is over by any means.