Great news re no more dolphins for Marineland!

I can’t believe an issue has come along where BayBuzz agrees with HB Today’s Louis Pierard! One of us might have to re-consider our position. Our common theme … it’s just a shame the Napier City Council didn’t show political courage and bite the bullet on this much sooner.

It’s pretty clear the NCC will need the help of BayBuzz readers now … what are your suggestions for alternative uses of Marineland, and/or the precious space the facility occupies?

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And at Hastings Council, the progressing resumed this week on Plan Change 38, with a hui a hapu at Waimarama Marae. The bottomline is that adoption of this change will make it more difficult for developers to exploit rural coastal areas.

Andy Lowe’s Hill Country took legal action — why does this not surprise us!? — to block the plan change, arguing — speciously, in the view of many — that insufficient consultation with Maori had occurred.

The hui on Wednesday night unlocked the process, further Maori submissions have been encouraged, and now the public interest can be advanced.

In a classic case of a picture being worth a thousand words, Mayor Yule displayed a map showing how one local developer had successfully evaded the spirit of current regulations by devising a ridiculous, but legal, boundary configuration. Under the current District Plan, the Council’s hands were tied and the sub-division could not be challenged … and has since proceeded.

Plan Change 38, assuming it passes the remaining consultation hurdles, will at least require significant coastal sub-dividing (rural only) to be notified, opening the door to challenges from HDC and affected persons.

Maori speakers at the hui were not thrilled with the Council’s consultations to date, and Mayor Yule, while explaining some legitimate context for HDC’s handling of the matter, was apologetic. But overall, it appeared that most participants were satisfied that the proposed change would address a real threat to the coastal environment and protect tangata whenua values.

We hope Plan Change 38 is a winner!

Tom

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