The Far North District Council will host a live, online forum on its YouTube channel on Tuesday to address concerns and answer land owners' questions about Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) and their role in the draft district plan.
The two-hour forum, which will begin at 1.30pm, will include Māori land owners, farming and community representatives, general manager - strategic planning and policy Darren Edwards saying the aim was to reach as many people as possible before the land owner feedback period ended on Friday next week.
Te Hiku Media would also cover the event to ensure it was distributed across multiple channels and reached audiences beyond the Far North.
"Many people have concerns and questions about SNAs, and our staff have already attended several public meetings to address these," Edwards said yesterday.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"Community meetings are important, but audience numbers will always be limited. Our goal for the online forum is to give as many people as possible an opportunity to learn more about why council is introducing SNAs, to listen to a range of views and to ask their own questions."
At least half of the forum would be devoted to responding to questions from the online audience. The answers would come from a panel of planning and ecology experts, councillors and council staff, and community leaders who had expressed strong views about SNAs. The final line-up of participants was still being confirmed yesterday.
"The forum will be open and honest. We want to provide answers and to dispel misconceptions some people have. We want to listen to land owner concerns, as these will influence the shape that the new plan takes," Edwards said.
Meanwhile staff attendance at community-initiated meetings would continue after the forum on a case-by-case basis only.
"I recognise the importance of talking directly to communities, so we will continue targeted public engagements to address specific concerns raised through the feedback we are getting, particularly from mana whenua and farmers," he added.
Property owners would still have an opportunity to make formal submissions on the proposed district plan, and SNAs, when the plan was publicly notified later this year.