Zone plan adopted, but not unanimously

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Zone plan . . . Waimakariri District Council decision on adopting the Waimakariri's sub-regional zone did not get unanimous support. Photo: David Hill

By David Hill

The Waimakariri District Council has thrown its weight behind the Waimakariri Zone’s sub-regional plan, but the decision was far from unanimous.

Councillors voted seven to three, with one abstention, to adopt the Waimakariri Zone Implementation Plan Addendum to Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan at Tuesday afternoon’s council meeting, but three of the four Kaiapoi-Woodend ward councillors voted against it.

Neville Atkinson, Sandra Stewart and John Meyer made “protest votes” against adopting the plan, but agreed to back its implementation, saying it did not go “far enough or fast enough” citing the 10 year wait to 2028 for raising minimum flows in Silverstream and the Kaiapoi River.

“I don’t think this goes far enough or quick enough and 10 years to look at minimum flows is just too long,” Cr Atkinson said.

Cr Stewart, the council’s appointee to the zone committee, said the plan “does not deliver for the environment” and she noted the Ngai Tuahuriri runanga has stated it “does not endorse it” as it “doesn’t deliver on their cultural objectives”.

She also noted there is “no mechanism or funding” accounted for in the plan for its implementation.

Mayor David Ayers said it would take time to turn back the damage from decades and centuries of human activity and to address issues arising from climate change.

“We’ve had 800 years of human activity in this district and 160 years of intensive human activity, so if we can see progress in 10 years that will be a tremendous achievement.

“Climate change is the huge elephant in the room, but we can only work with what we’ve got now and there will be changes as international markets and climate change impact on us.”

The plan will be presented to Environment Canterbury on Thursday, December 13, and if adopted it will be made available online from Friday, December 21.

The plan is due to come into effect in 2022.

Zone committee chairman Dave Ashby said it was now up to the two councils to fund and implement the plan in their Long Term Plans.

“But we can’t afford to wait until 2022. We need to get people on board now and we need the buy-in of landowners, the community, schools and everybody needs to take responsibility.”

A motion to investigate options for banning the sale and use of fireworks was also considered, but regulation manager Nick Harrison said the sale of fireworks was permitted by act of parliament, which councils cannot override.

Council staff will investigate a district option for controlling the sale and use of fireworks.