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Change of venue . . . The Waimakariri District Council met in the Rangiora Town Hall on Tuesday, August 4, due to the restrictions imposed on the Rangiora service centre building following a recent engineering report. Photo: David Hill

By David Hill

Community feedback is to be sought on natural hazards, climate change and cemeteries.

The Waimakariri District Council approved draft policies on natural hazards, climate change and cemeteries to go out for consultation, at its council meeting on Tuesday, August 4.

The meeting was held in the Rangiora Town Hall function room, due to the restrictions imposed on the Rangiora service centre building following a recent engineering report.

Council staff plan to consult with the community on a new natural hazards policy in October to update residents and local businesses on the latest district wide modelling of risks such as coastal inundation, flooding, coastal erosion and earthquakes.

Senior engineering advisor Don Young says while modelling “is always based on assumptions, this is what we have now”.

“In terms of the risk we are in the role of putting together the best information and we and our community are entitled to rely on that information.”

The information is used to allow the council set regulations around where to build and building requirements and Mr Young acknowledged some property owners and developers will seek third party reviews specific to their property, which can lead to changes.

Strategy and engagement manager Simon Markham said council staff intend to seek community views later in the year on the draft climate change policy, before developing a more comprehensive policy alongside next year’s 2021/31 Long Term Plan.

“It’s an initial statement of intent for the council on the significance of this issue and it provides a suite of actions for the council to follow.”

In moving the motion to accept the draft policy, Cr Niki Mealings acknowledged there were “a lot of unanswered questions” around climate change.

“Councils are at the forefront of this. We are the frontline so it’s important that we demonstrate leadership and this draft policy does that.

“Climate change needs to be embedded into council and not just be an add on and we need to show our community that we are taking it seriously.”

The council will be consulting on its draft cemetery policy until August 31 and a moratorium will remain in place on the reservation of plots until the new policy is adopted.

An update on Kaiapoi’s regeneration programme was also presented by district regeneration manager Duncan Roxborough, showing work has fallen behind slightly due to Covid-19.