Coastal Raterpayers Worried About KCDC’s Planning For Coastal Dangers

Salima Padamsey, chair of Coastal Ratepayers United (CRU), warns the Kāpiti Council is moving a snail’s pace on planning for coastal hazards.

She says CRU continues to have misgivings regarding the credibility of Council to deliver its legal obligations as promised — and this at a time when the NZ Government has declared a Climate Emergency.

The issue came up at the latest Kāpiti Coast District Council meeting, when councillors considered recommendations from officers on the proposed Community Assessment Panel (CAP).

Councillors reminded of their duties

Coastal Ratepayers’ United reminded Councillors about Council’s statutory obligations to complete the coastal hazards provisions for the District Plan.

In 2016, KCDC had assured the Environment Court that the plan changes associated with coastal hazard provisions in the District Plan would require a further 4 years to complete – yet to date, a plan change is nowhere in sight.

Ms Padamsey says: “While CRU endorses planning for climate change adaptation, it needs to be based on clear objectives, good science and technical detail – in other words, coastal hazard assessment for our district. This was the purpose of the Coastal Advisory Group (CAG), endorsed by Council Resolutions on 24 July 2014, only to be abandoned by Council.

CAG then CAP

“Instead, after six years, CAG has morphed into the Community Assessment Panel (CAP), whose purpose seemingly is to develop a coastal adaptation plan which doesn’t meet the Council’s statutory obligations.

“The focus of CAG was on coastal hazard risk assessment and district plan rules as required under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the RMA, — whereas CAP is developing a coastal adaptation plan, a non-statutory plan.

Community representation vital

“It is now up to Council to ensure that the political optics will not be the determinant of community representation on CAP and that it is working towards a CAP which has a genuine community mandate.

“The risk that KCDC takes is that it will not have learned the lessons of similar community panel processes in Hawke’s Bay and Makara where there was an unwillingness to fund the recommended actions, and at the same time it does not fulfil its statutory obligations.”

CRU Chair Padamsey correctly points out that KCDC continues to avoid finalising the Coastal Provisions of the District Plan. The Council has gone off in tangents. It has confused its legal obligations to complete a district plan with its political agenda on climate change. KCDC needs to finalise its legal requirements.
The importance of that is shown in the $5.6 million Gateway Building Council wants to erect on land it says will be washed away in 30 years. At the moment there are no rules. Because of this KCDC thinks it can build on open space. It does not want to have any planning law stopping it from doing so.McLean Park is open space under the current District Plan. AS open space it should not be built on.Therefore the current district plan has no rules on what can be built. It is prohibited.
KCDC, following its own interpretation of what is legal is using what it sees as the loophole provided by not having coastal provisions to push through a significant expensive project.

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