Locals can now apply to join the community reference group tasked with creating an action plan to reduce the risk and impact of future storms in Ngongotahā.

A project team made up of executive and specialist staff from Rotorua Lakes and Bay of Plenty Regional councils will design the plan, agreed by the community reference group.

The Ngongotahā Action Plan will include a range of work and will be approved by the final team.

To be accepted, applicants need to live in the Ngongotahā Catchment, have an intimate understanding of the area, represent the community and hold community connections.

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Applicants also need to be able to process and present information to the wider public, speak on behalf of others and give advice that considers the bigger picture in terms of best interest of the community and area.

A familiarity and ability to make consensus-based decisions is also required.

Monthly workshops and meetings will take place as well as community engagement events which will be decided on by the community reference group.

Several people have already shown interest in joining the group but applications can now also be made online.

The current team established that the reference group would be made up of community, iwi representatives and elected members, and would provide advice and recommendations to both councils.

A key aspect is that it would lead community engagement and consultation around the development of plans for short, medium and long term actions.

Lyall Thurston was approved by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to be its elected representative on the group.

Rural Community Board chairwoman Shirley Trumper has been discussed as the local council's elected representative, but a decision is still to go through council.

For more information and to fill out an application click here.