The Otago Regional Council is inviting the people of Otago to take part in a questionnaire to find out which natural and physical resources they value or have concerns about in the region.
The questionnaire is part of ORC’s new Regional Policy Statement formation, which sets direction for what people and communities can and cannot do when using natural and physical resources — including air, coasts, freshwater and land. Minister for the Environment David Parker has recommended that ORC prepare and notify a new RPS by November 2020, to be operative by April 1, 2022.
ORC Chairperson Marian Hobbs said, “Our wellbeing and economy depend on having a healthy environment. Our lives and those of our children depend on protecting and managing natural and physical resources. We want you to tell us about the resources that matter most to you and yours.”
Other topics to consider are ecosystems and biodiversity, energy and infrastructure, hazards and risks, historical and cultural values, heritage, natural character, natural features and landscapes, and urban form and development.
ORC has recently faced criticism for its management of regional water policy in Otago. Last week, their delay to new water quality provisions came under fire from Michael Laws, Deputy Chairperson for the Dunstan Ward, who said that in creating further changes to the Regional Plan, the organisation had “stuffed it up. Again”. In the same week, Mayor Boult sent a letter to Minister for the Environment David Parker on behalf of the Queenstown Lakes District Council expressing concern at ORC’s issuing of a water bottling consent in the region.
According to ORC, information gathered from the questionnaire, along with input from other stakeholders, will be used to refine a set of key issues for Otago going forward. Councillors and ORC staff will then travel around Otago during March to meet with communities to discuss these issues in more detail. With the venue still to be confirmed, a roadshow will be held in Queenstown on March 24.
In the meantime, residents can visit www.orc.govt.nz/RPS or call 0800 474 082 for a paper copy of the questionnaire to provide comment. Feedback will close at 9pm on February 25.