By Lois Williams, Local democracy reporter

The burgeoning Gloriavale Christian Community at Lake Haupiri is looking to expand with a second compound at Lake Brunner, West Coast council leaders have heard.

The Greymouth Star reported earlier this year that Gloriavale had purchased an expansive property on the remote western shore of Lake Brunner, between Moana and Mitchells.

Planners working on a combined district plan for the West Coast told the Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee yesterday the new site would in future help accommodate growing numbers.

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More than 800 people now lived at the Lake Haupiri site, planner Lois Easton told the meeting.

"They are looking to set up more sites as it expands -- they feel 600 people is about right."

Councils might want to consider a special planning zone or precinct for small settlements such as Gloriavale, Ms Easton said.

"At the moment pretty much everything they do needs discretionary activity resource consent, so there's a lot of unnecessary planning work."

The councils should also think about how the Gloriavale property with its communal living facilities might be zoned if in future the community ever disbanded, she said.

"If it did disband, would it become a tourism facility? An outdoor education camp?"

Other small settlements on the West Coast were also in a state of flux and change with some growing rapidly, Ms Easton said.

"Blackball, for instance, with the new (Paparoa) track going in there; it's had a huge resurgence."

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Such places might benefit from having a settlement zoning, with areas set aside for commercial development, she suggested.

The one plan committee is now meeting fortnightly to tackle the task of creating new planning rules that will in future apply to all three districts on the West Coast.