Mark your calendars … this Thursday the 14th is when Councillors from both the Hastings and Regional Councils must front up for the Bay’s environment.
In Hastings, Councillors will meet at 2p.m. in open session to sort out their position on Ocean Beach. As they begin, Friends of Ocean Beach will present the unprecedented thousands of petition signatures of individuals saying NO! to 1000 houses at Ocean Beach.
It’s time for Hastings Councillors, as our elected representatives, to take ownership of this issue. Our elected Councillors must call the shots here, not staffs and consultants with unknown agendas and stunted vision. There is a solid legal case for simply rejecting Hill Country’s proposed plan change outright. If the Council’s staff and consultants cannot, or will not, craft that case, others are standing by to do it for them.
The Ocean Beach decision is about which values will determine the future of this irreplaceable natural treasure. As such, it is a political decision … a decision for elected representatives, not one to abdicate to bureaucrats.
Thousands of people have signed the Friends of Ocean Beach petition, underscoring the value they place on keeping Ocean Beach unspoiled. On Thursday, Hastings Councillors must stand up with us … or against us.
At the Regional Council, the same Thursday at 9a.m. in open session, we’ll witness an environmental double-feature.
First, Regional Councillors will face the same Ocean Beach issue … Should the HBRC take a position in the formal RMA submission process and, if so, what should be the nature of that submission?
The HBRC position can be equally short and sweet … Councillors can simply reject the proposed plan change outright, and instruct staff to prepare the appropriate submission.
The second event at HBRC is the presentation of the staff report on water quality in the Tukituki. Surprise of surprises, the staff submits that the water is just fine, thank you, and will only get better if we patiently await new treatment facilities in 2014.
The staff report has just been released today. More in-depth analysis to come on this.
What can you do?
1) Get your Ocean Beach petitions in by WED the 13th. Get them to Linda Ryan at 59 Kopanga Road in Havelock, or call her at 877-6651 to arrange a pick-up. If you haven’t yet signed yourself, do so online here. We’ll update our petition count when the HDC meets again on the 21st, but the more we have to report this Thursday, the better.
2) Send this message to Chairman Rex McIntyre, urging more forceful attention to water quality issues.
3) Try to get your body to one or both of these critical meetings. The Councils do nothing to make meeting times convenient to citizens. So it’s a lot to ask of you to attend. But the stakes are high. If you can make it, your presence will make a difference … and you’ll witness great political theatre!