Councillors moved a step closer to the review of the Regional Coastal Plan for Southland, when they approved the start of a project to set the strategic direction at the Strategy and Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday 26 April.
The Coastal Plan requires review under the Resource Management Act, as it is now 10 years old. In addition, anticipated new directions from the Government may impact on its content.
Policy and planning team leader Fleur Matthews said in preparation for the review of the Coastal Plan, Environment Southland commissioned a scoping report which provided an outline on the changes which may be required to the plan and how that process could work.
Ms Matthews said the next step is to set the strategic direction for how the coast is managed, which is a critical phase before embarking on a detailed review of the plan.
Discussions are already underway with many interested parties including other councils, Department of Conservation, Fiordland Marine Guardians and Te Ao Marama. Representatives from the Otago Regional Council are also involved, as some work may be done in conjunction with them given they are also reviewing their Coastal Plan.
There will be significant opportunity for public input, both in determining the strategic direction and through the formal statutory consultation process once the plan is redrafted.
“The scoping report suggests the whole process will take at least two years, which is a conservative estimate and there will be many chances for the community to become involved,” Ms Matthews said.