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Source: Hutt City

Council also voted to introduce a plan to protect and enhance significant areas of biodiversity on public land.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says last night’s announcement is a step towards a more collaborative approach to protect Lower Hutt’s biodiversity.

“With the involvement of mana whenua, land owners and other groups, we will be able to lift the profile of this issue and it will give us the opportunity to understand even more about, and the importance of, biodiversity to our community, as well as what we can do as a community to protect and enhance it.”

Mayor Wallace acknowledged the distress that had been caused by the process to-date and apologised for that.

“Hopefully the decision last night goes some way to restoring and healing the hurt that has affected the community. This has been an extremely emotional issue and we unreservedly apologise for that. Council appreciates members of the community who attended the meeting last night to share their concerns and express their feelings on what was a very emotive issue for many.”

Mayor Wallace acknowledges that there is still more work to do but is committed to working on solutions in partnership with the community.

“A lot of hard work has been put in to this by Council officers and we’ll keep working to find a way forward. What we want to do is have the community come together and work on a strategy with us together, so as a community we can highlight and lift awareness of protecting areas of significant biodiversity and work on finding ways to protect those areas that are appropriate.”

Council officers are now working through the next steps.

Published: 30 November 2018