Notice is given of an Extraordinary Meeting of Council to be held on:
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Extraordinary Council Meeting
22 June 2021
Note: This meeting may be digitally recorded by the minute-taker.
Graham Smith (Chair)
The purpose of local government:
(1) The purpose of local government is—
(a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
(b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.
(2) In this Act, good-quality, in relation to local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions, means infrastructure, services, and performance that are—
(a) efficient; and
(b) effective; and
(c) appropriate to present and anticipated future circumstances.
(Local Government Act 2002)
Author: Aaron Hakkaart, Manager - Planning
Authoriser: Tim Harty, General Manager - Operations
2. PC 18 Appendix A ⇩
3. PC 18 Appendix B ⇩
4. PC 18 Appendix C ⇩
Purpose of Report
For the Council to make a decision on provisions and matters raised in submissions on Plan Change 18 (Indigenous Biodiversity).
1. That the report be received.
2. That Council adopt the recommendations prepared by the hearing commissioners on Plan Change 18 and notify the decision pursuant to Clause 10(4)(b) of Schedule 1 of the Resource management Act 1991.
In December 2017, the Council notified proposed Plan Change 18 – Indigenous Biodiversity (PC18) to the District Plan (DP). PC18 substantially revised the provisions in the DP relating to the management of indigenous biodiversity. The reason for PC18 was the existing provisions in the DP did not recognise and provide for the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna, as required by s6(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991 and did not give effect to the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement.
A total of 21 submissions and 13 further submissions were received on PC18. The Council, acting under section 34A of the Resource Management Act 1991, appointed Mr Rob van Voorthuysen, Mr Gary Rae and Dr Ian Boothroyd, as hearing commissioners to hear and determine the submissions on PC18. The commissioners, pursuant to the powers delegated to them by the Council, have considered the submissions and have recommend rejecting or accepting the submissions as set out in Appendix A and have recommend the resultant amended District Plan text set out in Appendix B.
A summary of the hearing commissioner’s recommendations is included below. Council is required to make a decision on PC18 on or prior to 30 June 2021.
PC18 has been developed and heard under Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991. Once a decision has been notified and the appeals period has ended PC18 will become operative and will form part of the Operative Mackenzie District Plan 2004.
Significance of Decision
The proposal is not considered to be significant under Council’s Significance and Engagement Policy.
Option 1: The Council adopt the recommendations prepared by the hearing commissioners on Plan Change 18 and notify the decision pursuant to Clause 10(4)(b) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Option 2: The Council do not adopt the recommendations prepared by the hearing commissioners on Plan Change 18 and make a different determination pursuant to Clause 10(4)(b) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Council is required to make a decision on PC18 prior to 30 June 2021 for the Plan Change to meet the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Key Changes in Hearing Commissioners Recommendation
Providing additional protection for significant areas
The Recommendation seeks to address concerns of submitters who seek greater protection for significant areas by:
· Including stronger policy direction which seeks to avoid clearance of any significant indigenous vegetation and avoid adverse effects on significant habitats of indigenous fauna (except in specifically identified circumstances)
· Defining ‘significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna’ (hereafter referred to as ‘significant areas’) to include:
o existing Sites of Natural Significance (SONS) listed within the District Plan;
o any area meeting the Regional Policy Statement criteria; and
o any areas within the glacial derived or alluvial (depositional) outwash and moraine gravel ecosystems of the Mackenzie Basin (unless they are defined as ‘improved pasture’ – discussed further below)
· Making the clearance of any indigenous vegetation (except where otherwise permitted) within significant areas a non-complying activity. As noted above, outside of existing SONS or glacial derived or alluvial (depositional) outwash and moraine gravel ecosystems of the Mackenzie Basin, this will require a case-by-case assessment to be made against the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) criteria.
· As a consequence of the above, a different activity status is no longer provided for the use of a Farm Biodiversity Plan to manage vegetation clearance within significant areas.
Maintaining Indigenous Biodiversity Outside Significant Areas
The Recommendation provides greater direction on how maintenance of indigenous biodiversity outside significant areas is to be achieved. This includes:
· Applying a hierarchy to how adverse effects on non-significant indigenous vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna are to be managed (avoid first, then remedy, then mitigate, then offset);
· Continuing to provide for the use of Farm Biodiversity Plans, but as noted above, only outside significant areas and only where the clearance is up to 5000m2; and
· Clearance of more than 5000m2 of indigenous vegetation (regardless of the use of a Farm Biodiversity Plan) becomes a non-complying activity.
Reducing restrictions on landowners
The Recommendation seeks to address concerns around the provisions placing undue restrictions on carrying out farming activities by:
· Aligning the definition of improved pasture with what is used in other national planning documents. The effect of which is that ongoing clearance is permitted in areas where exotic pasture has “been deliberately sown or maintained for the purpose of pasture production, and species composition and growth has been modified and is being managed for livestock grazing”;
· Expanding permitted clearance to allow for a greater range of maintenance activities and clearance within Farm Base Areas; and
· Providing a simpler consent pathway for clearance associated with fencing of waterways.
In addition to the above, the recommendation includes more activities (artificial drainage, mob stocking, and oversowing, topdressing or overplanting on land that is not improved pasture) being included in what is considered ‘vegetation clearance’. This will result in the rules being triggered by more activities, but not within areas of improved pasture.
Reducing restrictions on key infrastructure
PC18 as notified applied a different set of rules for indigenous vegetation clearance to the Waitaki Power Scheme, but not the Opuha Power Scheme or the National Grid. The Recommendation extends the provision to include the latter two pieces of infrastructure. The Recommendation also:
· Provides more directive policy guidance about how clearance is to be managed in relation to this infrastructure;
· Permits clearance required for the operation, and maintenance or refurbishment of this infrastructure, where it is outside a significant area; and
· Requires a restricted discretionary consent for all other clearance (including that required for the operation, and maintenance or refurbishment of this infrastructure, where it is within a significant area, or for new development associated with this infrastructure).
Council has received a recommendation on PC18 from the appointed Commissioner’s. Council must now determine whether to adopt the recommendation as a decision or to make any changes prior to adoption.
RESOLUTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC
That the public be excluded from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting.
The general subject matter of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution are as follows: