Business, Community, Council

‘Master’ plan takes titanic effort

Council staff put in a 19-hour shift, finishing at 3am on Thursday, to get the region’s management “masterplan” finalised in time for its big release later that day.

After years in the making, the Marlborough Environment Plan was released at noon today following a pōwhiri at Blenheim’s Omaka Marae.

The plan brings three of the region’s major management plans into a single document.

Council environment policy manager Pere Hawes says council staff worked late to format the final document.

“It’s part of the job. I’ve been working so hard that I haven’t had time to pause and reflect on its release. But there’s a sense of accomplishment.”

He says the plan’s release was a “New Zealand first” as no other council had successfully combined their plans.

The new plan fused together the Marlborough Regional Policy Statement, the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the Wairau-Awatere Resource Management Plan.

It is expected the new plan will save ratepayers money, as the council would only have to review one plan, instead of three, every few years.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says Marlborough was the “first one to survive” the fusion.

More than 1300 submissions were made on the plan/

Councillor David Oddie, who sat on the plan’s panel, says the council had originally estimated hearings and deliberations would take two months.

But in the end it took more than two years, he says.

“It’s sucked up my thinking over the years. It’s made being a councillor hard to do. I always had a pile of reading to do.”

Independent commissioner Ron Crosby says he now “had [his] life back”.

“It’s been absolutely all-absorbing in terms of personal time.”

Ron says he would celebrate by taking a one-week vacation with friends.

Former councillor and panel chairman Trevor Hook says staff had spent about 10 years developing what was a “blueprint for the region”.

“Today represents something really special,” he says.

Independent commissioner Rawiri Faulker said he thought iwi and the wider community would be encouraged by the plan’s contents.

“It’s a great starting point for what sustainability will look like in the future.”

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