Demand for urban expansion is leaving Hastings District Council with the difficult task of balancing economic growth against preserving the valuable growing soils of the Heretaunga Plains and its landscape.
The Hastings district had many outstanding natural features which needed special protection and the council this week began looking for public feedback on the best way to achieve that goal.
The "natural areas discussion document" covered a number of issues involving the future management of the district's significant and outstanding landscapes. It would also look at management of the land around rivers, lakes, the region's indigenous vegetation and the character of our coastal areas.
The council determined an "outstanding landscape" to be one which must be protected from inappropriate development and it included Te Mata Peak, Mt Kahuranaki and Cape Kidnappers.
A "significant landscape", such as Esk Valley, Clifton and Tukituki Valley, remained important but did not have the same level of protection.
The document asked people whether they thought the list was correct, if there should be other landscapes added and if those areas had the right level of protection.
"Should we be doing more to control the use of land surrounding our rivers and streams? Are there other stands of indigenous vegetation that should be included in a protection plan?" the council asked.
The work is being done as part of the council's review of its district plan which was expected to be completed by 2013.
District plan working party chairman Mick Lester said it was important for people to have their say.
"We live in a very special part of New Zealand, with its iconic landscapes, significant wetlands and some of the most beautiful coastal areas in the country," he said.
"To ensure we maintain the integrity of Hastings and the quality of our environment, it's essential that we are vigilant in our management of these areas."
To read the document, visit www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz.