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Master Planning a once in a generation opportunity to shape Westport’s future development

05 Apr 2024

Buller District Council is undertaking a comprehensive planning process that looks at options and opportunities for the short, medium and long term future of the greater Westport area.

The Master Planning process seeks to provide a holistic road map for the community, public and private sectors. It ultimately guides the development of areas of land for future use, creating greater choice for the community around lower-risk areas.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine says this is the first instance of a planning exercise of this scale taking place in the Buller District.

“Following the flooding events of 2021 and 2022, it was clear that there are vulnerabilities in and around Westport due to the low-lying nature of the town, its proximity to the sea and the Buller River, and exposure to heavy rain events originating in the nearby ranges.

“Although these are drivers to looking at other ways to develop in the future, Master Planning is a lot wider than a hazard response. It is a once in a generation opportunity to look at the general wellbeing of the region – with areas of focus around economic development opportunities, social development and where and how Westport should grow,” says Mayor Cleine.

Council initiated Stage One of Master Planning in late 2023 and appointed the Isthmus Group to undertake the scope of works. The background and early vision is largely complete and is shortly to be workshopped with local stakeholders.

Buller District Council Group Manager Regulatory Services Nathan Riley says the stakeholder workshops on 11 and 12 April will allow the project team to test early assumptions and guide next steps. There will be separate workshops for governance and elected members on 10 April.

“The workshops are an opportunity for a wide range of people from the community, from business owners and developers to community groups, to look at the early ideas and provide valuable local knowledge and input into the process.

“From here onwards, there will be various opportunities for the wider community to find out more about the planning being undertaken. Community engagement is planned for 2024 and 2025 and these workshops essentially get that started. It’s critical that this plan is for Westport, by Westport,” says Mr Riley.

Under the Resilient Westport package, $500,000 has been set aside for Master Planning to look at a development plan for the Alma Road area and to support the development of low-risk areas.

Stage Two of the process will occur over 2024 and 2025.


For further information please contact: 
Group Manager Regulatory Services
Nathan Riley