Policy 1: Enable Low Impact Structures
Enable through permitted activity rules the use, erection, reconstruction, placement, alteration, extension, removal or demolition of structures, in, on, under or over the beds of rivers or lakes which:
Policy 2: Management of Structures
Control through resource consents the use, erection, reconstruction, placement, alteration, extension, removal and demolition of those structures in, on, under or over river and lake beds that:
Policy Three: Existing Lawfully Established Structures
Enable, through permitted activity and controlled activity rules, the use or alteration of existing structures that were lawfully established prior to the notification date of this Plan, where the significant adverse effects of these activities are avoided, remedied or mitigated.
Policy 4: Removal of Structures
Seek the removal of any derelict, unlawful or non-functional structure in, on, under or over the bed of a river or lake which:
unless the effects can be remedied or mitigated or its removal will create more adverse effects on the environment than its non-removal, or it is an historically, culturally or recreationally important structure.
Policy 5: Natural Character
Recognise and, where relevant, provide for the following characteristics when considering the preservation of the natural character of river and lake beds and their margins and the protection of them from the inappropriate use, erection, reconstruction, placement, extension, removal or demolition of structures in, on, under or over river and lake beds:
Policy 6: Positive Benefits of Resource Use
Recognise the positive benefits that can arise from the use, development and protection of river and lake beds whilst ensuring that any adverse effects are controlled in accordance with Policy 2 of this Chapter.
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
The approach adopted in the policies in Section 4.2.3 is to permit activities whose effects are minor or not inconsistent with Objective 4.2.2. Those structures that have the potential to have the significant adverse effects identified in Issue 4.2.1 (Policy 2) will be controlled through resource consents.
There are a number of structures that have minor or no adverse environmental effects on the beds of rivers and lakes. Policy 1 enables the use, erection, reconstruction, placement alteration, extension, removal or demolition of these structures provided they do not result in the adverse effects noted.
The requirement of s13(1) of the RMA is that structures in, on, over or under a river or lake bed must be allowed by a rule in regional plan and any relevant proposed regional plan, or need a resource consent. By providing regional rules that reflect the levels of environmental effects caused by a structure, Waikato Regional Council will improve the efficiency of resource use decision-making and decrease the bureaucracy that individuals must go through, while ensuring that activities with the potential to cause significant adverse effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated.
Some streams, caves and lakes in the Waikato Region have outstanding aquatic fauna and wildlife values. The purpose of Policy 2 is to protect the values of those rivers and lakes while recognising that it may be desirable to allow some structures, such as foot bridges, that enhance human use of these areas, without causing adverse effects.
The purpose of Policy 3 is to provide for existing lawfully established structures. These structures are already in place and in most cases performing important functions with minor or no adverse effects. For some existing structures, those people managing them have taken steps to mitigate adverse effects. In some cases the adverse effects of existing structures cannot be changed and are generally accepted by the community as the cost of having a particular structure. To require consents for those structures would impose unnecessary transaction costs on resource users that may be passed on to the wider community. This policy implements objectives in Chapter 1 Approaches to Resource Management.
Policy 4 recognises that it is desirable to remove structures from the beds of rivers and lakes in situations where they may result in significant adverse effects that are inconsistent with Objective 4.2.2. However, in some instances it may not be practical or possible to remove a lawfully established structure due to size or other constraints, such as, for example, when the structure is buried. There may be other circumstances where the removal of a structure may cause more adverse effects than if it were to be left, such as habitat loss or disturbance, release of sediment or other adverse effects, which might be significant. This may warrant leaving the structure. In these circumstances structures will not be removed or required to be removed. In cases involving the possible removal of a structure, Waikato Regional Council will consult with the owner (where they can be identified) to see if the effects of that structure can be resolved.
Natural character is a set of interdependent qualities that together give an area its recognisable character, and this will vary widely throughout the Region. Policy 5 sets out the key aspects of natural character of a water body that will be considered in the First Schedule process of regional and district plan preparation and changes, as well as in the consideration of any relevant consent application that affects water bodies and their margins.
Policy 6 recognises that structures in, on, under or over the beds of rivers or lakes can and do have benefits for the community’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing. This policy is necessary to achieve the direction in Section 1.2.3 Objective 3.