coastalpic“Coastal Ratepayers United (CRU) has led a lengthy debate around the degree to which aspects of Kapiti District Council’s proposed district plan (PDP) is based on rigorous scientific thinking.”

Salima Padamsey’s salient comment (Kapiti Independent News 29 September) around the Coastal Ratepayers United (CRU) challenge in the Environmental Court has highlighted the inconsistent manner in which the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has acquitted itself around the withdrawal of coastal hazard provisions within the PDP, the undefined nature of the provisions that were to remain within the PDP and the lack of explanation around the impact that either would have on the integrity of the PDP as a whole.

KCDC’s acting manager for Strategy and Planning, Kevin Black has subsequently explained (Kapiti Independent News 1 October) that Council has set out a plan on coastal hazards through a separate process. It is said that when the process is started there will be early engagement and involvement with the community. He also says any proposed new coastal hazard provisions will be open to a new round of public consultation and formal submissions.

The Deputy Mayor, Mike Cardiff (Waikanae Watch 4 October) has subsequently expressed his concern that Councillors have not been informed of any changes to the Independent Review Panel recommendations and that any change of direction requires, in his view, a further resolution from Council.

While it is good to have some reassurance that any new provisions will be open to public consultation and submissions, the changed status of the PDP is still far from clear — this calls into question the degree to which current KCDC process is demonstrating governance that reflects openness, transparency, and democratic accountability (section 14 of the Local Government Act refers).

Margaret Stevenson-Wright, Ratepayer