Council to take position into mediation
From Auckland Council
Support for Cultural Impact Assessments re-stated
Auckland Council has confirmed its support for the Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) requirements in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
Some amendments agreed by the Auckland Development Committee (24 March, 2015) will ensure the requirements only apply in situations where there is the potential for a resource consent to have an adverse impact on the cultural values of Auckland’s Mana Whenua.
“This will be the council’s position going into mediation with Aucklanders who have made submissions on this aspect of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan,” said chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakeley. “The council remains open to discussing the views of submitters and exploring ways of reaching a common ground.”
When the CIA requirements came into effect in September 2013, concerns were raised about the difficulty applicants might have engaging directly with Mana Whenua to confirm whether or not a CIA is required, and if so, how one might be prepared.
To address these concerns, the council set up a facilitation service in March last year which has dealt with almost 300 applications in that time. Of those, 36 resulted in Mana Whenua confirming a CIA is required. This is from a total of over 10,000 resource consent applications in roughly the same period.
“The council has received a considerable amount of positive feedback about the CIA facilitation service and intends to continue it into the foreseeable future,” Dr Blakeley added.
“Protecting Auckland’s rich cultural heritage is fundamentally important as our city grows. Maori cultural heritage is a key component of this,” he said.
“The council’s Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan takes a step forward from the work a number of Auckland’s former councils had undertaken in addressing this issue. The CIA requirements do not provide Mana Whenua with a ‘right of veto’ over development in Auckland.
“They are a critical tool that ensures the council is in an informed position when it comes to assessing the impacts of development on cultural heritage and the values held by Mana Whenua, but ultimately decisions still rest with the council.”
Mediation on submissions starts next week, with the hearings scheduled in May.