Whangarei District Council is calling on all people with an interest in things rural to comment on a draft strategy that will set the direction for rural development in the District well into the 21st century.
The Draft Rural Development Strategy has been developed following consultation with people, businesses, industries and organisations that have rural interests, and after speaking to about 300 people who have taken part in 15 meetings held across the District.
It is an important document because it will guide the direction for a number of changes to the District Plan, the ‘rulebook’ for land use in the District. Each one of the future District Plan Changes will involve a public consultation process, ensuring that people will have further opportunities for input.
Before those take place, Council is seeking feedback on the Draft Strategy by 6 November 2012.
During consultation on development of the strategy, key themes for consideration came through. They included:
Choice - creating new zones to provide a wider range of living choices for people in rural areas.
Diversity - recognising the diverse and changing rural environment through catchments and policy areas.
Production - protecting the productivity of the rural environment and creating a Rural Production Environment (zone).
Consolidation - to avoiding conflicts between living and industrial activities by creating new zones.
Confidence - providing communities with information and certainty throughout the changes so they will continue to survive.
Identity - recognising the sense of place of different communities through policy areas.
The consultation identified some District-wide issues to be managed including hazards and contaminated sites, biodiversity, infrastructure, network utilities, cultural values, landscape, heritage and water.
District Plan Changes expected to flow out of and be guided by the strategy will include a new section that will define how rural areas relate to urban and coastal areas and recognise how land use within a catchment can affect its waterways.
Policy areas will be established to identify and manage issues that affect multiple zones, similar to the way that the Coastal Management Strategy identifies areas where a common factor can be identified and managed.
The existing Coastal and Countryside Environments (zones) will be replaced with all new (zones):
Rural Production - rural environments for rural production activities like farming
Rural Living - for the hobby farmer who enjoys the lifestyle
Rural Village - stronger communities through mixed use opportunities
Rural Industry - to protect activities of strategic importance like Kauri Dairy Factory and Portland Cement Works.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the draft strategy can contact Council or go to www.wdc.govt.nz and search for rural development.
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