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Cutting edge technology is being trialled by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to make its District Plan review relevant and accessible to the wider community.
“We are acutely aware that something like a District Plan is not only intensively complex but exceedingly dry and traditionally buried in a tome of information. We’re changing that because this document is actually really important to every single resident and ratepayer,” QLDC senior policy analyst Jonathan Richards said.
New online technology, using software created by the QLDC IT team, incorporating GIS and in the form of an ‘E-plan’ meant the community could tailor their view of the plan online to only look at things relevant to themselves and their property or places of interest.
“It’s a trial so at this stage we have selected Arrowtown given the complex district plan rules, multiple Heritage features and trees, and its strong community involvement in planning issues,” Mr Richards said.
E-plan was part of a cross-departmental approach being taken to reduce costs and improve service delivery across Council. The current district plan costs users $365 to purchase its 3 printed volumes plus maps, and a further $70-$150 per printed update, which happen once or twice per year. Currently there are approximately 200 printed copies in circulation. If purchased all at once that is a $73,000 print cost, paid mostly by users. The annual updates currently cost users between $14,000 to $30,000 per year (depending on their size and frequency). Although the Council updates pdf versions of the plan to its website as soon as they are available, there can often be a lag of several months before the printed versions are collated and distributed. With E-plan, Council can update adopted revisions as they are made operative by the Court, with the amended provisions available to all users instantly. Users would only pay for their cost to print pages from E-plan, if the desire.
The trial area was limited to parts of the Arrowtown Town Centre Zone, the Residential Arrowtown Historic Management Zone, and the Low Density Residential zone in an area bounded by Ramshaw Lane, Hartford Street, Denbigh Street, Stafford Street and Berkshire Street.
“It’s as simple as going to http://eplan.qldc.govt.nz/ on the council website. Initially we want to know if this is considered a good way to look at the District Plan and eventually we will be using the technology to receive comments as part of the formal review,” Mr Richards said.
While addresses outside the trial area may still display in Eplan, not all information has been loaded yet but this was progressing on a monthly basis.
“Even so we would encourage all of our communities to check out the trial and let us know their thoughts on the technology,” Mr Richards said.
Following the trial of the concept for Arrowtown, adjustments will be made and then rollout will commence for the entire district, to coincide with the District Plan Review