è Threats to the distinctive character of Westland settlements including adverse environmental effects arising from the design, siting or construction of buildings, including the siting of new subdivisions.
è Adverse effects of activities in urban areas on residential amenities and environmental quality.
Westland's settlement pattern (with the major exception of Hokitika) is characterised by small, isolated communities generally centred on farming, and more recently on tourism. Hokitika has a population of over 3,200 people and is the largest settlement in Westland. It provides services and important facilities for much of the District. The buildings within Hokitika and other settlements therefore represent an important resource for the community. Infrastructure elements, including the State Highway network, are also a key element in the built environment and are discussed separately in section 3.4.
The built environment is generally to be managed in such a way that character is enhanced and tourist opportunities are maximised. Hokitika should become a tourist and visitor destination in its own right, rather than a convenient stopping place for attractions further north or south.
Hokitika's greater size and the potential for relatively large scale activities to locate in the town, such as hotels and other tourist facilities, means that segregation of activities on the basis of effects might be more appropriate here than in the District's smaller settlements.
Future growth in Hokitika will be dependent on new industry and business locating in the town and the expansion of existing enterprises. The siting of new subdivision and the extent of town boundaries must be considered as part of the expansion and development of Hokitika as a whole. Recent subdivision in Hokitika has to date been concentrated in a few areas, such as Blue Spur.
The smaller settlements in Westland perform important rural and tourist servicing roles and can be grouped on the basis of character and function. For example predominantly tourist settlements include Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier/Waiau, and Haast; the coastal settlements include Okarito, Okuru, Neils Beach, Jackson Bay/Okahu and Bruce Bay, and the small settlements such as Arahura, Kumara, Whataroa, Hannah's Clearing and Harihari have largely rural service functions. A number of settlements, for example Woodstock and Rimu are not recognised by the existing zoning pattern. Woodstock and Rimu are both close to Hokitika, were originally gold mining settlements and are rich in heritage and character.
Planning must take into account and enhance where necessary, the historic values of heritage buildings and sites in Westland. The historic resource has significant tourist appeal and historic resources also make an important contribution to the character of individual settlements.
The District Council is responsible for the integrated management of the effects of land use activities. Accordingly, the Council must set criteria which determine under what circumstances industry and commerce, residential, rural and recreation activities and public services and infrastructure establish and operate. Expressed as standards, performance levels ensure that environmental quality is maintained and enhanced, wherever an activity locates. Where activities meet performance standards they are permitted. Where one or more performance standards cannot be met, an application is required. Although an application may be required, an activity can be suitable if it conforms to general policies - for example a school or a church is likely to be acceptable in a residential area.
3.9.1 To identify, protect and enhance the distinctive Westland character of the District’s settlements.
3.9.2 To provide for the “intermingling” of land use activities within Westland’s settlements and towns, where this does not detrimentally impact on the amenities, health and safety of residents and workers.
è Encourages improvement in the visual appeal and amenities of settlements and recognises the importance of settlements as a tourist and visitor attraction.
è Ensures that a range of lifestyle and living opportunities continue to be available in Westland.
è The built environment is a significant resource the quality of which is essential to the continued welfare of people and the character of the District.
è Recognises that sustainable management of natural and physical resources also includes management of structures and buildings including protection of them from adverse effects.
è Segregation of activities can only be justified for the purposes of avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse environmental effects.
è Rules for the avoidance and mitigation of natural hazards must be incorporated into the District Plan. Several hazards pose a significant threat to the built resource of the District and to people and communities.