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Council and the "Coastal Management Policy"

Yesterday's Council meeting was notable for one thing - the irascible Tony Fox making several threats regarding the papers being presented about which he had fundamental disagreement. What was otherwise notable was the fact that he failed to follow through on any of his threats by voting against the motions. This was more a display of the control and effectiveness of the Mayor than anything else - she simply and pleasantly put him in his place whenever necessary, and he sunk into his chair like a recalcitrant, but bad-tempered school-boy.

The most important matter facing Council was and remains "Engagement of Coastal Management Policy." This issue was highlighted in a Public Forum submission by Denis Tegg wherein he drew attention to the failure of our Council to deal in a timely manner with the identification of coastal hazards - particularly coastal flooding. Both Denis and I agree that it is quite unnecessary for Council to undertake further 'public engagement' as proposed before carrying out coastal flooding modelling and mapping.

The Government Coastal Policy Statement 2010 provided the entire platform necessary to undertake this work as has been undertaken by many other councils (e.g Northern, Hawke's Bay)  As Denis stated in his submission, the Council has a clear legal mandate, and indeed obligation to carry out this work with no further delay. Read Denis's submission through his blog URL on the right of this page. You may be shocked by the lack of action, and continuing prevarication that appears to be encouraged by our Council, going by yesterday's reaction to his submission.

It is imperative that our Councillors get the message that this indolence will no longer be tolerated - staff have to get on with it - never mind the unnecessary consultation - that will only stir up vested interests to defend their patch, and try to close down, or at least influence the whole exercise

Interestingly, Fox's reaction was to refuse further consultation, but for quite a different reason. Denis had pointed out the utter stupidity of proceeding with the expenditure of some $7m of rate-payers funds (including a $1.7m District contribution) on the Whitianga Town Upgrade when available information indicated that a mere 800mm sea-level rise with submerge the new Centre. Anything in the 2m range would submerge most the remainder of the town - particularly the Hopper's Waterways's Development.

Fox was adamant the the Town Centre Development had to go ahead regardless, and that any further consultation would be regarded as askance by Whitianga residents. One has to wonder whether the claimed concerns about the effects of sea-level rise in that town are simply a 'front' - one thing is for sure, the residents are generally of demographic that is less concerned about these matters. Certainly, going by Fox's irascible reaction yesterday, this would seem to be the case. 

Generally, Denis's submission yesterday was dismissed by the full Council, and the recommendation of the development of a full strategy along with widespread consultation over October was adopted. Their appeared little concern about the need to develop LIM accessibility to reports on the status of each individual property as has been adopted elsewhere. This places purchasers of property in this District at a distinct disadvantage, and our council at very likely legal jeopardy in view of the knowledge already available.




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