Council to address SNA concerns via live online forum

Published on 02 June 2021


Far North District Council will hold a live, online forum next week to address concerns and questions landowners have about Significant Natural Areas and their role in the draft District Plan.

The forum will be broadcast live on the Council’s YouTube channel and will include Māori landowners, and farming and community representatives.

Darren Edwards General Manager – Strategic Planning and Policy says the aim of the forum is to reach as many people as possible before the landowner feedback period on Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) closes on 11 June. Te Hiku Media will also cover the event to ensure it is distributed across multiple channels and reaches audiences beyond the Far North.

“Many people have concerns and questions about SNAs, and our staff have already attended several public meetings to address these. Community meetings are important, but audience numbers will always be limited. Our goal for the online forum is to give as many people as possible an opportunity to learn more about why Council is introducing SNAs, to listen to a range of views and to ask their own questions.”

He says that at least half of the two-hour event due to air from 1.30pm on 8 June will respond to questions from the online audience. These will be answered by the forum panel of planning and ecology experts, Councillors and Council staff, as well as community leaders who have expressed strong views about SNAs. The final line-up of participants is still being confirmed and will be announced soon.

“The forum will be open and honest. We want to provide answers and to dispel misconceptions some people have. We want to listen to landowner concerns as these will influence the shape that the new plan takes.”

He says that following the online forum, staff attendance at community-initiated meetings will continue on a case-by-case basis only. “I recognise the importance of talking directly to communities, so we will continue targeted public engagements to address specific concerns raised through the feedback we are getting, particularly from mana whenua and farmers.”

He says property owners will still have an opportunity to make formal submissions on the Proposed District Plan – and SNAs – when the Plan is publicly notified later this year.