A. Development, use or subdivision affecting the natural character of the coastal environment shall have particular regard to the following:
Coastal processes and natural landforms
The area is distinctive for natural coastal processes which may also provide a defence to hazards such as beach erosion, shoreline recession, coastal entrance stability, sand drift, coastal inundation, slope and cliff instability.
Ecosystem functioning and health
The area is ecologically representative and/or by its connection to one or more significant areas, makes a major contribution to the overall functioning or value of these areas.
Indigenous vegetation and habitat
The area supports significant indigenous vegetation and/or natural habitat that is important for migratory species or for breeding, feeding or other vulnerable stages of indigenous species.
Open space and amenity values
The area contains popular areas of open space and/or significant historic, cultural, recreational or scientific values.
The area has been set aside by NZ statute or covenant for protection and preservation or is a recognised wilderness area.
The area is well protected from other human based modifying influences.
B. The adverse effects of subdivision, use or development on the natural character of the coastal environment shall be avoided or mitigated, in particular, in highly sensitive areas such as Wetlands and lagoons.
C. The maintenance and enhancement of public access and areas of open space shall be encouraged to and along the coastline where these will contribute to enjoyment of the coastal environment by the public.
D. Development, within the coastal area should take place in modified areas such as existing settlements in preference to unmodified areas.
E. Development in unmodified areas should only take place where the setting is integral to the development proposal and adverse effects can be avoided, remedied or mitigated.
a. Integrated management of the coastal environment shall be sought through liaison and co-operation with other relevant management agencies.
b. Decisions on resource consent applications will recognise and provide protection of:
- coastal processes and natural landforms
- ecologically important areas/indigenous vegetation and habitats
- popular open space/significant cultural, recreational or scientific values.
c. Existing coastal settlements are included in a special coastal settlement zone with appropriate rules and standards.
d. Rules will be included in the Plan to ensure that activities which could have an adverse effect on the coast and buildings and structures are set back a minimum distance from Mean High Water Springs.
The policies apply to activities carried out in the coastal environment.
The responsibilities of a number of different agencies meet at the sea/land interface. The Regional Council prepares policy and rules below MHWS, the District Council above MHWS and the Department of Conservation has prepared and administers the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement. The Statement provides a national framework for coastal management and is designed to provide an integrated approach recognised by local authorities. Where urban areas encroach on what might naturally have been the coastal environment, the landward boundary is taken as 40 metres inland of mean high water springs.
In Westland, the coastal environment is a significant resource, stretching for 330 kilometres and encompassing a range of seascapes, settlements and natural areas. The dominance of the coast combined with the status given to preservation of the natural character of the coast in the Act (as a Matter of National Importance) justify separate policy development within the District Plan.
The Act gives a clear indication that in the coastal environment it is the natural character that must be recognised, not dominance by human activities. In some developed areas, such an approach is no longer possible and in fact settlements may enhance or be integral to the character of a stretch of coastline. While development in the coastal environment will have least impact in areas already modified, some activities, for example tourist ventures, may depend on a relatively unmodified coastal location. Any coastal development will be required to meet strict performance criteria, in particular for landscape and visual effects. At present the coastal environment in Westland District is not under significant development pressure.
The entire coastline is considered to have value to tangata whenua primarily for the abundance of food gathering sites. Accordingly any development in the coastal environment, including areas adjacent to wetlands and estuaries, should involve consultation with tangata whenua.
Westland's extensive coastline provides numerous opportunities for the public to gain access in order to enjoy the coastal environment. The State Highway affords good access into the area, and it is recognised that extensions or shape corrections may be necessary in the future. While the provision of public access to and along the District's coast is not considered to be a major issue, development or changes in land tenure or ownership patterns may have an impact in the future. There are also instances where public access may need to be restricted for public safety, security or defence purposes.
Anticipated Environmental Outcomes
Implementation of the above policies and parent objectives is expected to achieve the following outcomes.
I Development within the coastal environment contributing to people's enjoyment of the coast and not detracting from the coast's natural character.
II Protection of kaimoana from direct and indirect effects of activities in particular those based on land.
III Maintenance and improvement of public access to and along the coastline where appropriate.