RMLA Regional News : April 2016

Bay of Plenty – Paula Golsby

The Bay of Plenty Branch recently held the Roadshow ‘Navigating the Evolving Natural Hazards Landscape’ presented by Marje Russ and Maurice Hoban.  The session was concluded with a local perspective on natural hazards, offered by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Natural Hazard Advisor, Mark Ivamy.  The evening was well attended and the Bay of Plenty Branch would like to thank the speakers, as well as Holland Beckett Lawyers for hosting the event. 

The branch committee has recently been discussing options for future local events and is currently working on a survey for members to provide feedback on the nature and frequency of events sought. 

Many local practitioners within the Bay of Plenty have been involved in the Astrolabe Community Trust’s resource consent applications to leave the Rena on Astrolabe Reef. The Commissioners decision to grant consent to was released on 26 February 2016, which allows: 

1. The  “dumping” of the remains of the MV Rena, its equipment and cargo on Astrolabe Reef as a result of the grounding of the vessel on 5 October 2011 pursuant to Section 15A of the RMA; and

2. The “discharge” of any harmful substances or contaminants from the remains of the MV Rena, its equipment and cargo that may occur over time as a result of the degradation of the vessel pursuant to Section 15B of the RMA.

The consents are subject to a comprehensive suite of conditions and there have been approximately 7 appeals against the decision.

Taranaki – Cam Twigley

In early March the Taranaki Branch held a tour of the recently opened Novotel New Plymouth Hobson.  It was a great chance to hear from some of the practitioners involved in the design and RM process including the District Council perspective.  It was also an opportunity to have a ‘nosey’ through the hotel, catch up with colleagues and sample some fine food and beverage.  Our next event is the Natural Hazards Roadshow which is very relevant for the Taranaki region.

Wellington – Nicky McIndoe / Maia Wikaira

The Wellington RMLA branch kicked off the year by holding a panel discussion on the Resource Legislation Bill.  The seminar title (What’s hot and what’s not) must’ve sounded exciting because the event was quickly sold out and very well attended. The panel comprised Graham Spargo (Beca), Matt Patterson (The Property Council), Jo Beaglehole and Miranda Cross (Greater Wellington Regional Council), Kerry Anderson (DLA Piper) and Nicky McIndoe (Kensington Swan).  Trevor Robinson kindly kept everyone on time and in line.  Our thanks to DLA Piper for providing the venue. 

Our next event will be hosting the national roadshow on natural hazards, which will be held at Beca on 5 April 2016.  Given that Wellington is exposed to a range of natural hazards, I’m sure this will also be a popular event.

Nelson/Marlborough – Antoinette Besier

The local branch has recently held its AGM in a very convivial setting ensuring good attendance.  A new secretary (Paul Harrington) and a new member to the committee Jackie McNae were welcomed.  A series of lunch time seminars for the year is will start next month with a presentation from Dr Mike Steven: ‘Seeing the forest and the trees:  towards a robust method for the assessment of natural character, particularly in coastal environments’. Both the local branch of the RMLA and the NZPI are co-hosting the seminar and they are planned to be held every couple of months.  Conference organisation is progressing very well.

Otago / Southland – Rachel Brooking

Our branch has had a quiet start to the year with many of our members busy organising the NZPI conference that we are all looking forward to. The hazards roadshow will follow on the 20th April. An AGM and discussion on the role of the expert planning witness will be held over lunch on Thursday 19th May. Experienced Environment Court advocate Stephen Christensen and planner John Kyle will discuss the recent joint RMLA / NZPI paper with questions from Phil Page. Members are encouraged to attend the AGM and volunteer for the branch committee. 

A Young RMLA group has recently been set up in Dunedin. The primary aim is to connect young people from a range of professions (including university students) who share a passion for the environment. Events run monthly and are relatively informal, focusing on networking and information sharing. If you are interested to join, please contact louise.trevena-downing@andersonlloyd.co.nz.

Queenstown / Central Otago – Jenny Carter

The hearings on the QLDC’s District Plan Review commenced on 7 March and look set to keep us all busy for at least the next year. First up was the Strategic Directions, tangata whenua, urban development and landscape sections. With evidence pre-read it still took three weeks of hearings. The hearings on the rural section are scheduled to commence on 2 May and are likely to attract significant attention also.   

The Queenstown branch held a function to welcome Queenstown’s new CEO Mike Theelan and head of planning and infrastructure Tony Avery. Mike has moved to Queenstown from Christchurch where he previously held the position of General Manager Strategy and Planning. Tony Avery has previously worked for both ORC and Dunedin City Council in planning and infrastructure roles. We welcome both Mike and Tony to Queenstown and trust that they will be kept busy with what is shaping up to be another year of significant growth in Queenstown. With Special Housing Areas, continued growth in existing zones and the District Plan Review, 2016 is looking to be a busy time for all RM professionals.   

The Queenstown branch welcomes the natural hazards roadshow on 21 April and will look to schedule our AGM in the coming months.