Environment Waikato has received about 1900 public submissions on its draft 2009-19 Long-Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP), almost half of them specifically concerned with the management of mangroves at Whangamata.
The council meeting today endorsed a hearings committee process for submitters who wish to present verbally on their submissions.
About 40 submitters from the Whangamata/Coromandel community wish to be heard in person, and about another 180 from the rest of the region.
Hearings time has been set aside in Hamilton from 12-14 May and from 18-22 May. Two days of hearings are scheduled for Thames on 21-22 May.
Of the approximately 1900 submissions, just over 900 specifically address Whangamata mangrove management.
Other key themes covered in the submissions include natural heritage issues and Maungatautari (660 mentions), pest management reductions (574), Clean Streams reductions (544), waste programme reduction (498), significant places and beach care (476), air quality reduction (448), Animal Health Board collection (447), the IRIS council controlled organization (443), bus fare increases (327), planned bus services (203) and the investment fund (19).
In the wake of the hearings, council deliberations over the final shape of the LTCCP are due to begin in the week starting 8 June.
Final adoption of the 2009-19 LTCCP is due on 25 June.
Meanwhile, council felt it was too late in the current LTCCP process for them to formally consider a Waikato-Tainui request for representation on the LTCCP hearings committee.
Councillors heard the Waikato-Tainui request was particularly relevant to issues such as the Waikato River and future co-management arrangements.
Chief executive Bob Laing said councillors were open to the idea of various iwi having representation on hearings committees in future. But this was a complex issue that needed careful study, he said.
"I look forward to holding discussions with Waikato-Tainui and other iwi about how we might involve them more in the consideration of council decisions in future, particularly as river co-management arrangements are finalised."