Review advises dropping coastal hazard section in plan

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 05:00 03/04/2014

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Kapiti should dump the coastal hazard section from its proposed District Plan, a review has found.

The rules, creating a no-building zone along the coast, and affecting the values of about 1800 properties, should be replaced with a "placeholder" of existing controls while more work is done.

Reviewers Sylvia Allan and barrister Richard Fowler recommended Kapiti Coast District Council keep the overall plan but spend about a year bringing it up to scratch before further hearings.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of future property and business development on the Kapiti Coast are controlled by rules in the plan.

The opposition group that resisted the coastal hazard lines said the reviewers' decision was everything they fought for. Coastal Ratepayers United chairman Christopher Ruthe said the council should follow the recommendations, or there would be a "revolution on the streets".

The group would seek compensation for its costs of about $80,000, spent fighting the council after it announced the findings of a report by scientist Roger Shand. The report included hazard lines showing 1000 beachfront properties were at risk from erosion and floods within 50 years and another 800 within a century.

It was immediately inserted into property owners' Lim reports and used for development controls in the proposed District Plan.

Last month a scientific panel commissioned by the council found the Shand report was not sufficiently robust to be used for the District Plan.

Dumping the coastal hazard rules would be part of a raft of changes and withdrawals from the plan that would be overseen by a team of council staff. Allan said the review recommendations would take about two years to complete.

As it stood, the plan did not represent good practice, she said, but was not "unacceptable practice" and could be substantially improved.

Mayor Ross Church said staff would report the findings to councillors, who would make the final call on the recommendations.

Councillor K Gurunathan, a critic of the way staff handled the coastal information, said the recommendation to dump the rules was a "salvage job".

"The moment the science panel said it was not fit for purpose, I don't see what else could be done except withdraw it."

At the briefing, senior manager Stephen McArthur said it was too early to tell how much the additional work might cost. 

 

DISTRICT PLAN TIMELINE

The council received about 1000 submissions to its proposed District Plan, including strong opposition to coastal hazard lines affecting 1800 properties, and tighter regulations for rural property.

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May 2013: The council decided to seek further scientific information on the hazard lines.

October 2013: It appointed Richard Fowler and Leigh Auton to review the proposed District Plan.

November 2013: It replaced Auton with senior planner Sylvia Allan, after staff realised he was an employment referee for the manager in charge of reviewing the plan.

March 2014: An expert scientific panel published its review of Roger Shand's report on predicted coastal erosion, on which the hazard lines were based. It concluded they were not robust enough to be included in the plan

- The Dominion Post

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