Community input critical in shaping region’s future
We are encouraging the community to take part in an extended engagement process that will help shape the region’s future.
Our Chair Peter Scott said the information collected from the community and stakeholders during the consultation is critical, as the Council works to update a number of long-term and strategic plans that will dictate how Cantabrians interact with the environment.
"As the regional regulator, we have a number of plans that need to be written, or updated, to reflect the directions set by Government, meet the expectations of mana whenua and the wider community, and to respond to the impacts and challenges of climate change.
"This includes updating the Regional Policy Statement, which is a powerful tool that sets the direction for all other district and regional plans. We are also developing a new climate action plan and updating regional transport plans."
Engaging the community
Scott said the Council had a lot of ground to cover to ensure that the whole community was represented and heard as part of the engagement process.
"We’re asking everyone to complete an initial survey that asks you to share your experiences, opinions, aspirations, and visions for different aspects of our environment.
"For example, freshwater ecosystems and the natural character of waterbodies are dependent on sufficient surface water flows and groundwater levels. Many waterbodies in Waitaha/Canterbury have reduced flows, levels, or modified natural characteristics due to human activities. What areas in Waitaha do you value for their natural characteristics, and what is it about them that you value most?
"We need as many people as possible to take part, to ensure that the information we collect represents the whole of Canterbury. This isn’t just a once-only opportunity – after this initial visioning work we will reflect back what we have heard and test some potential solutions with our community."
Feedback to inform policy development
Scott said the information collected through the survey would be used to develop actions and outcomes and these would be further tested with the community. Once that was done, they would feed into draft policy statements, standards and work programmes.
"We need to change the way we use and enjoy the environment, to safeguard it for the future. This impacts everyone in Canterbury.
"Everyone has the right to enjoy the environment, and in turn, I think everyone has a responsibility to protect it. That’s why it’s important that the community helps us write the changes that are needed, we can’t, and don’t want to do it alone."