Eleven areas of outstanding natural character on the Waikato region’s coasts have been identified in a new report prepared by consultants Boffa Miskell for Waikato Regional Council.
The assessment of whether an area is outstanding is based on physical characteristics, the life it contains and how people experience that environment.
The report lists eight outstanding areas on the east coast and three on the west.
The east coast ones are:
- Miranda chenier plains and wetlands
- Motukawao Island group
- The coast between Fletchers Bay and Kennedy Bay
- Cathedral Cove and marine reserve
- Tapuaetahi Bay
- Alderman islands
- Combined areas of Red Mercury, Stanley and Ohinau islands
- Cuvier Island
The three west coast areas are:
- Aotea Harbour and margins
- Karewa Island (Gannet Rock)
- Kawhia Harbour and margins.
Council senior policy advisor Graeme Silver said the report is the first time Waikato Regional Council has done such a stock take.
“The 2010 NZ Coastal Policy Statement requires that regional councils identify and protect these sorts of areas. That requirement and a specific requirement in the Regional Policy Statement to identify natural character areas have led to this report.
“How we protect such areas in future will be part of a review of the Regional Coastal Plan over the next three years. This will involve discussion with iwi, stakeholders and the wider community through public consultation.”
The areas that have been identified as outstanding are mostly in the publicly owned coastal marine area or publicly owned land.
Inclusion of these areas in any future local government plans could potentially see additional controls on activities within them, said Mr Silver.
“Ultimately, it’s about protecting the best of the remaining areas of natural coastal environment on both the sea coasts in our region.”
The full report is available at http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/tr201605/