Proposed Invercargill City district plan: Seaport Zone Plan
- Invercargill City Council
- Publisher / Organisation
- Invercargill City Council
- The district-wide biodiversity provisions of the Proposed District Plan attracted a good deal of interest from submitters. The number of submission points (151) is significantly greater than for other district-wide provisions. Another feature is that attitudes tend to be more polarised, the submitter appearing either to be in strong support or in reasonably vigorous opposition. In summary, the key issues and my recommendations with respect to them are as follows: 1. Whether the focus should be all biodiversity, or indigenous biodiversity, or identified areas of significant indigenous biodiversity. The policy focus of the District Plan is on indigenous biodiversity. The regulatory provisions focus on areas of significant indigenous biodiversity. In my view the Proposed District Plan is right in focusing on indigenous biodiversity in its policies and non-regulatory methods, and narrowing that to areas of significant indigenous biodiversity in the rules. 2. Whether policy should apply to areas identified by criteria, or to areas identified by criteria AND shown on the Planning Maps. I am recommending that biodiversity policy should continue to apply to areas identified by criteria including those shown on the Planning Maps, but rules should apply only to areas of significant indigenous biodiversity shown on the planning maps. 3. Whether the information base used by the Council in drafting this section was adequate. I have concluded that the 1999 Amber Bill study was a reasonable base on which to build policy in reviewing the District Plan. But I have also concluded that there also needs to be commitment to improving this information over time. I am strongly recommending that a collaborative approach with Environment Southland to develop knowledge of and planning for significant indigenous biodiversity be signalled in the District Plan and developed. 4. Several submitters commented on the provisions in the Proposed District Plan regarding public access, and the need (in their view) for it to be at the absolute discretion of the landowner. My recommendations to submissions acknowledge the need for access arrangements to be satisfactory to landowners, whilst giving effect to national and regional policy that places a high priority on public access. 5. A theme of the Proposed District Plan on biodiversity is that while the scope would cover biodiversity as a whole, the focus would be on indigenous biodiversity. Further, non-regulatory methods could be applied to all indigenous biodiversity but regulatory methods should apply only to areas of significant indigenous biodiversity identified on the Planning Maps. Several submissions either supported, or opposed, this. My recommendations support this approach. 6. Concerns about farming practices in and around areas of significant indigenous biodiversity were raised by several submitters, on several aspects of the issue. Perhaps the most significant of these was the concept of "buffer strips" and whether they are needed around areas of significant indigenous biodiversity. I have taken the view that if the area requires a buffer strip to secure its viability, that buffer strip should be included with the area identified as significant indigenous biodiversity. 7. Several submitters raised matters concerning the relationship between infrastructure in general and the National Environmental Standard on Electricity Transmission in particular, and the District Plan when such services fall within identified areas of Section 42A Report Biodiversity September 2014 2 significant indigenous vegetation. The particular concern was trimming and removing. In general in my recommendations I have taken the line that "trimming" should be permitted but "felling or removing" requires greater consideration and should be subject to resource consent. 8. In relation to biodiversity offsets I am recommending that the initiative for any biodiversity offsets should come from the applicant, but that they remain a matter which will be taken into account by the Council in determining resource consent applications. In this report: ? Part 2 considers several key procedural issues. ? Part 3 provides background information on the Biodiversity provisions. ? Part 4 summarises the various statutory provisions that apply to the consideration of the Proposed District Plan. ? Part 5 assesses the relevant issues raised by the submitters. ? Part 6 provides a discussion on the Section 32 matters. ? Part 7 sets out the overall conclusions. ? Appendix 1 sets out the recommendations on each of the submission points. ? Appendix 2 sets out the recommended changes to the text of the Proposed District Plan. ? Appendix 3 sets out the consent categories under the National Environmental Standard on Electricity Transmission Activities.