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Emphasis on biodiversity part of proposed Long Term Plan

Media Release - 26 February 2015

A greater focus on biodiversity will be a feature of the Otago Regional Council’s proposed Long Term Plan (LTP), which sets the council’s priorities for the next 10 years.

ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker says biodiversity is taking an increasingly important place in the council’s thinking, and an LTP consultation document to be considered by councillors on March 11 will reflect this.

Submissions on the consultation document open in mid-to-late March and close on May 4.

Public hearings start on May 11.

The consultative process will be the forerunner to the council’s consideration on June 24 of the LTP, after public submissions have been considered.

Mr Bodeker said the first year of the plan will provide for a review of what council, community groups, and environmental agencies are doing on biodiversity, and consider where there may be gaps or duplication.

From there a Biodiversity Strategy for Otago will be developed to guide what council may do in this area during the life of the plan.

“We need to start at the beginning and get a better understanding of the biodiversity we have,” Mr Bodeker said.

“Biodiversity is an area in which many community groups work tirelessly and enthusiastically to enhance and protect our natural environment. We want to support, encourage, and recognise these efforts as tangibly as possible,” he said.

“There’s an incredible body of knowledge within our community about what biodiversity assets and initiatives are out there. Because as a council we don’t have that level of knowledge, we hope the public will help us fill in the gaps.”

“We want to work with the community to determine what needs to be protected or sustained, and that will include us seeking public feedback on that,” he said.

“Biodiversity protection and environmental enhancement have positive benefits, not just from a lifestyle point of view, but from an economic standpoint as well in areas like ecotourism,” Mr Bodeker said.

ORC, in conjunction with other South Island councils, is developing a South Island approach to pest management, collaboratively targeting pest animals and plants which are common throughout the island and which damage native biodiversity as well as farming.

This approach will be incorporated into a new Otago Pest Management Plan to be developed over the next couple of years.

For more information please contact

Peter Bodeker
Chief executive
ORC
Ph 0274 998 328

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