Residents concerned over radical conservation plan

Published: Wed 16 Sep 2015 02:33 PM
Residents concerned over radical conservation plan
Today’s vote by Thames Coromandel District Council to continue investigating a “Coromandel Heritage Region” proposal is disappointing, Coromandel Property Owners Alliance (CPOA) spokesperson Chris Vickerman says.
However we are pleased that the Councillors have listened to our concerns, and have sent a strong message they will genuinely consult with the communities.
“For a plan with such far reaching consequences for everyone in this District, it is concerning that, up to now, the public have been left completely out of the loop”.
“The only consultation so far has been in secret, by our Mayor and Councillors with other politicians from regional and central government.
Ms Vickerman says CPOA has serious concerns about the costs of the plan, particularly extra layers of bureaucracy and extra controls on use of resources.
Recently, backers of a plan to make Stewart Island pest-free admitted costs for the project could go as high as $30 million.
Ms Vickerman says Thames Coromandel District Council has already spent $20,000 on a ‘feasibility report’ for the heritage proposal which contained no real analysis of potential costs and impacts and appeared to be little more than a marketing exercise by Florida-based tourism promoter Miles Media.
The report focused only on the merits of aligning with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global conservation group based in Switzerland, and recommended Council seek “Category 5’ status for the Thames-Coromandel region under IUCN rules.
“Overseas experience has shown that this type of national park structure can have significant disadvantages for local people including unaffordable housing, a low-wage economy and young people leaving to find work elsewhere,” Ms Vickerman says.
“We believe the vision and goals of protecting and promoting the natural and cultural values of the Coromandel can be achieved through good governance under the existing regulatory system and in meaningful consultation with Coromandel communities.”

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