From our Chair: Focusing on the next Long-Term Plan

Environment Canterbury has hopes and dreams like the rest of us, says Chair Jenny Hughey.

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey

Overseeing a region as large and complex as Canterbury requires a lot of time, the skills and experiences of many people, and effective organisation to achieve the best for everyone.

Environment Canterbury’s sprawling responsibilities from north of Kaikōura to the Waitaki River could easily become overwhelming. Which is why this gigantic workload has been carved into manageable “chunks”, with plans and projects developed for each of our workstreams and portfolio areas.

The regional council last month approved the 2020/21 Annual Plan, the set of documents which determine our direction and our emphases, and allow us to strike our rates, for the current financial year.

Sitting above the Annual Plan is the Long-Term Plan, a much broader, rolling 10-year planning tool which morphs every three years to reflect changes in the council’s priorities.

In the coming weeks and months you will hear more about the next 10-year plan, for the period 2021-2031. This is now under way and there will soon be plenty of opportunities for your input into what you would like to see your council doing, and where you would like to see your region at, by the start of the next decade.

Identifying priorities

Talking about opportunities, it’s a good time to share some of the recent thinking Environment Canterbury staff and councillors have compiled about what we would like to achieve in the coming decade.

As part of the council’s strategic direction for the next few years, we have identified our “enduring priorities” and our “transformational opportunities”. These latter, in much simpler words, are key areas in which the council really wants to make a difference for the long-term.

Environment Canterbury’s enduring priorities include looking after freshwater, land and coastal ecosystems, and helping communities be well-prepared for changes in the natural environment.

It will be through the long-term planning process that councillors determine how the council is going to pursue those extra far-sighted opportunities.

There are five areas in which we believe we can make a longer-term difference to the region.

We can help:

  • accelerate the regeneration of the natural environment,
  • facilitate diversification of land use;
  • build community engagement and action;
  • champion new multi-modal transport;
  • and lead climate-change resilience.

These are big asks. Environment Canterbury cannot do this without your help and without robust, considered discussions around the council table.

But it is vital for us to keep scanning the horizon at what may be coming our way in the next decade and to anticipate the arrival of what might seem unthinkable to us now.

Find out about plans that are in consultation and have your say on the management of Canterbury's environment and resources.

*Cr Jenny Hughey is the chair of Environment Canterbury. Find out more about our councillors.