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Committee has eye on plan

A new Waiohine River Plan Advisory Committee is set to oversee the implementation of the Waiohine River Plan.

Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] adopted the recommendation to establish the new committee in a meeting yesterday.

Members of the committee will include the GWRC councillor for Wairarapa [currently Adrienne Staples] and one elected member from South Wairarapa and Carterton District Councils.

Three urban ratepayers, six rural landowners, a member nominated by Rangitane o Wairarapa, and a member nominated by Kahungunu ki Wairarapa will also sit on the committee.

However, to be eligible for appointment, each non-councillor must either have river expertise, be a resident or ratepayer in the Waiohine catchment, be a Friend of Waiohine, or be a sustainability advocate.

In its report, GWRC said the cost of establishing and operating the advisory committee was included in the council’s long term plan 2021–31, with the annual running cost estimated at $13,500. It was also proposed that the chair of the committee, should they be a non-councillor, be paid an annual taxable honorarium of $5000 in addition to GWRC’s standard daily meeting attendance allowances and expenses.

The Waiohine River Plan was released in draft form in June 2021, outlining the Greytown community’s vision for better flood and erosion risk management, and improving and restoring the “living river corridor”.

GWRC said the plan was the result of years of investigations and planning by the regional council and the community.

The initial Waiohine Floodplain Management Plan was developed to a draft stage before Greater Wellington discontinued it in October 2016 due to public feedback.

“Following this, a project team was established to deliver a community-led plan for flood and erosion risk management for the Waiohine River.”

In August last year, the Waiohine Action Group and the Waiohine River Community were consolidated into the Waiohine Action Group Advisory Committee, and a vote was taken on who would be best to join the new advisory committee.

“These names, along with other nominees, will be presented to council for approval at a later date.”

The lifespan of the Waiohine River Plan is 80 years, so the proposed advisory committee will continue for that period.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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