How high up?
The Hastings District Council is asking those questions with respect to the east face of Te Mata Peak.
Scarred (and scared) by its flirtation and dodgy process with the infamous and short-lived zig-zag track up the same iconic landscape, the Council has now launched a pre-consultation on possible district plan changes that would set boundaries on potential house-building at the site.
The aim: “Balancing the need to protect the cultural significance of the natural landscape of the eastern face of Te Mata Peak with the rights of landowners in the area.”
Currently the building prohibition line sits on the 240m contour of the maunga, which takes it from the ridgeline to just below the rocky outcrop on the eastern face.
A Cultural Aspirations Report recommended that the prohibition line be lowered to the 200m contour line. But now some have suggested that this prohibition did not go far enough, and the option to extend the line further, down to Waimārama Road, has been put forward as a means to provide even greater cultural protection.
In addition, the Council has agreed that wāhi tapu sites identified in the Cultural Aspirations report should be included as part of this plan change.
These options will be now be discussed with affected landowners. The outcome of those discussions will be reported back to appropriate council committees. Ultimately the Council will need to decide what changes to make to the current prohibition, if any, and put those out for formal public consultation as required by the Resource Management Act.