Council may pause progress on Nelson plan

Staff shortages and upcoming legislation changes may put Nelson’s biggest plan on pause.

Staff shortages and upcoming legislation changes may put Nelson’s biggest plan on pause.

The council may have to hit pause on one of its biggest and most complicated plans, by now more than seven years in the making, thanks to upcoming RMA amendments.

The Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan, meant to be the guiding resource management planning document for the Nelson region, was originally meant to be publicly notified early next year, but staffing shortages meant that could not happen until late 2022 or early 2023.

Council manager of environmental planning Maxine Day told the environment and climate committee meeting on Thursday the delay in public notification meant the council needed to either extend the timeframe of the plan, or “pause” the programme “while we anticipate the new legislative reforms that are coming through”.

The Government has proposed legislation to replace the RMA which Day said caused a lot of uncertainty about the future of the Nelson Plan.

* Back to the drawing board for Nelson/Tasman’s future development strategy
* Potential for ‘significant collateral damage’ to Nelson in Government plans to scrap RMA
* ‘Most critical’ council plan for Nelson almost ready for public consultation

However, Day acknowledged it would be a “significant” decision to pause the plan entirely, and said staff proposed an alternative way to progress.

She said the council could take parts of what had been developed for the Nelson Plan and insert that as a plan change in to the Nelson Regional Management Plan.

She said this would enable the council to achieve some of its goals for housing in the city and to carry on work in other areas like freshwater planning development.

The committee ultimately voted to have the recommendations go to the next full council meeting, in two weeks, for further consideration, in part because four councillors (Yvonne Bowater, Judene Edgar, Gaile Noonan and Pete Rainey) were not able to attend the meeting due to illness.

Councillor Tim Skinner tried to have planning for air quality and air shed boundaries included in the recommendation “subject to resourcing”, but the amendment was lost in a tie vote, five to five.

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