Infrastructure is critical to the social and economic well-being of people and communities, including providing for their health and safety. Infrastructure networks enable a community to undertake its everyday activities and functions. Infrastructure generally encompasses physical services and facilities which enable society to function, such as the Three Waters network, transport, communications, energy generation and distribution networks, and any other network utilities.
It is therefore important to enable its ongoing operation, maintenance, upgrading and establishment where possible. It is also necessary that essential infrastructure is protected, where possible, from further encroachment by incompatible activities which may be subject to reverse sensitivity.
While infrastructure can have national, regional and local benefits, it can also have adverse effects on surrounding land uses and the environment. Poorly designed or inappropriately located infrastructure can adversely affect amenity values and the district’s sensitive environments, such as outstanding landscapes.
What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan?
The draft District Plan locates the majority of infrastructure provisions within this chapter and the Energy Chapter (stormwater and transport are located in their own chapters).
Typically, infrastructure activities would only be subject to the rules and standards in the Infrastructure Chapter as well as the Energy Chapter, Part B: Waitaki Power Scheme. This includes infrastructure located in the sensitive environment overlay chapters (such as Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori (SASM chapter) or Outstanding Natural Landscapes (NFL chapter).
Protection is offered to land recognised in overlays as vulnerable to the effects of infrastructure – with more direction and guidance on how infrastructure would be addressed in sensitive areas.
The chapter is split into Part A which contains the general infrastructure provisions. Part B contains provisions specific to the National Grid Network. New provisions (such as the introduction of new setbacks and corridors for the National Grid as well as other electricity distribution corridors) would provide better protection of infrastructure by avoiding reverse sensitivity effects.
The National Grid is included in the Draft District Plan mapping available on our website.
A National Grid Substation Buffer referenced in both the chapter and definitions of the Draft District Plan will be mapped for the Proposed District Plan.
Key changes from the current rules
While the Operative District Plan includes a Utilities chapter, that covers all infrastructure, the draft plan includes an Infrastructure chapter and also separate chapters covering Energy (and the Waitaki Power Scheme) and Stormwater.
- New provisions would seek to protect infrastructure by avoiding reverse sensitivity effects on it –through the introduction of new setbacks and corridors for the following:
- New National Grid Yard, Corridor and Substation Yard – which would manage buildings, sensitive activities and earthworks near the National Grid (including its substations)
- an electricity distribution yard that would manage buildings and sensitive activities near electricity distribution corridors.
- Management of noise sensitive activities near the rail corridor and state highways – primarily through acoustic requirements for habitable rooms (these are rules found in the NOISE chapter).
What does it mean for me?
Any lawfully established existing businesses or activities would have what is referred to as ‘existing use rights’ and could continue to operate unchanged.
Infrastructure would continue to support the Waitaki District as it changes and grows. Most infrastructure would be a permitted activity where standards and conditions are complied with. Resource consent would be required where the activities do not comply with standards or conditions.
Some activities, including infrastructure in overlays, wastewater treatment plants, structures above 900m altitude, coastal flood and erosion and river flood protection works, and water reservoirs, wells and intakes for public water supply would always require a resource consent.