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‘Specialness’ of Kawhia and Aotea to be preserved

The special qualities of Kawhia and Aotea harbours are now a step closer to being preserved, with a number of actions to manage change in these catchments to be implemented.

These actions are a key part of the Shore Futures Preferred Futures report, which will be publicly available at the end of the month.

Actions in the report include promoting development in existing settlements via district plans, while still allowing for development that meets certain criteria outside these areas. Research commissioned for the project has already played a part in avoiding development in an erosion prone area that could have put people’s property at risk. Otorohanga District Council recently declined an Aotea village subdivision application due to insufficient coastal setbacks, based on an erosion report produced for the project.

“Shore Futures recognises these communities’ desires for healthy economic activity, and balances these with their wishes for a healthy environment,” said Environment Waikato’s Shore Futures Governance Group representative Councillor Andra Neeley.

“To keep recommended actions on track, a group from the agencies involved will meet annually to review progress,” Councillor Neeley said.

Recommendations in the report will be incorporated into district and regional plans and the Waikato Regional Policy Statement as they are reviewed. The report contains the reasoning or background to some of the rules that will affect what people can do.

The report is the culmination of more than four years of community consultation, analysis and information gathering by a multi-agency team involving Environment Waikato, Otorohanga, Waikato and Waitomo district councils, Federated Farmers and the Department of Conservation. Shore Futures started as a result of concerns raised by member Kawhia and Aotea harbour community members over the health of their harbours.

The report will be available at www.ew.govt.nz/shorefutures(external link), and upon request from Environment Waikato and from other participating agencies.

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