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District Plan Review (2)

This is today's PP column word for word:

Sandra Goudie’s advertisement in the Hauraki Herald seeking ‘concerned’ recipients of TCDC’s SNA/LNC letter will have sent a few shivers around TCDC.

It may just be the opening shot in a new election campaign (watch out Glenn!), or an indication of real concern arising from the opaque content of the two, two page letters sent to some 5,000 (nearly 22%) ratepayers). A Press Release issued last week indicating that Council had had some 500 calls from what can only have been anxious recipients shows that the letters have raised considerable concern, and I suspect Sandra’s phone will be ringing off the hook as I write this.

Talk about putting a cat amongst the pigeons – these letters must rank right up there. Even if based on the best of intentions, it shows what can happen when bureaucrats endeavour to over explain every aspect of an issue – in this case “management and protection of landscapes” and the “natural character” of the Coromandel; all very laudable and timed to fit with the District Planning process currently under way. For some obscure reason, the two almost identical letters sent in the same envelope may well have created total confusion. And the Press Release that followed states “People should not be alarmed if parts of their property have been wrongly highlighted because there is always an error band with GIS work and we expected that”, along with a number of other belated re-assurances.   

Oh dear, I have the terrible feeling that this worthy project is about to sail on to shoals reminiscent of the Astrolabe Reef, as 5,000 mainly well-resourced citizens take umbrage at a) the utter obfuscation of the letters, and b) resulting changes to the District Plan that may affect their property values, and rights. Why on earth set about stirring up this particular pot in this manner? Most readers will have binned them before reaching the end of the first page. What needed to be said could have been said in one paragraph, though justifying all this effort and expense may have taken a little longer.

Our TCDC Planning Department has been under pressure ever since the election regarding its performance, and apparent desire rightly or wrongly, to inhibit development at every turn. These letters will not assist those who support rational planning to defend their work. On the contrary SNA could quickly morph into SNAFU. 


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