Natural hazards and the effects of climate change have been the focus of Stage 2 of the Waikato District Plan Review. Stage 2 has consisted of the development of a new set of draft provisions to manage the risk to people and structures on land subject to natural hazards, and also to mitigate and/or adapt to the effects of climate change. It also consists of a variation to some of the provisions in the Proposed District Plan (Stage 1) to address consistency across all sections of the district plan.
Natural hazard mapping has also been carried out based on technical assessments and modelling. The hazard maps identify areas where certain types of natural hazards are present, such as river flooding or coastal erosion and inundation. The natural hazards chapter includes policies and rules to manage the risk to new land use and development within the areas identified on the hazard maps.
The draft chapter also includes provision for development on land likely to be at risk in the future as a result of sea level rise. In this case the policies and rules focus on mitigation and, where mitigation is not possible, encourage adaptive measures, such as relocatable buildings, to ensure the risk to people and structures can be managed over time.
Existing development, both private and public, located on land vulnerable to natural hazards is also recognised within the chapter. Adaptive management planning processes are encouraged as a means to manage risk to existing development and to build community resilience.
A first draft version of the natural hazards chapter; the hazard maps and the variation to Stage 1 was completed and made available to the public at the end of September 2019. The purpose of developing a draft version was to give the community and key stakeholders the opportunity to view the documents and provide feedback. This is an important part of the development of the district plan as it provides Council staff with critical information to help inform the final drafting of the plan before it is publicly notified. The policy team have reviewed the feedback received and have used that information to developed a final draft version of the natural hazards chapter, the hazard maps and the variation. This has now been sent to Iwi Authorities to review and provide feedback.
The date for public notification of Stage 2 will be contingent on reaching at least Alert Level 2.