More Mackenzie Country
We had an important win the week before Christmas. The Mackenzie District Council settled declaration proceedings EDS brought in the Environment Court regarding a loophole in its district plan.
The Council, to its credit, agreed there was a loophole and with approval from the Environment Court, notified a plan change that took immediate legal effect. Closing the loophole means that land use consents are now required for land conversions in the Basin. That may slow down the alarming rate of landscape and ecological loss that’s occurring.
Then in February EDS ran a case in the Environment Court on Plan Change 13. It proposes more wide-ranging provisions governing ecological and landscape values in the Mackenzie District. A decision on that case is pending.
On the broader front, EDS has been advocating a more joined-up approach to management of the Basin by Government and the regional council. The Shared Vision Agreement that came out of the Mackenzie Country Forum has languished until very recently and has not had the attention it needs from agencies. The core component of the Vision is a 100,000 ha dryland park and that is what EDS is pushing very hard for.
The Mackenzie Country is under enormous pressure. We need a last big push to save what remains of its iconic tussock landscapes. Donations to this campaign can be made here.