All eyes are set to turn to the skies above Naseby as the dream of achieving dark sky accreditation comes one step closer.
Since 2016, Naseby Vision Incorporated Society — a community development group representing more than 380 Naseby residents, holiday homeowners, business people and farmers — has been pursuing a southern hemisphere first: International Dark-Sky (IDA) accreditation.
On December 14, the Central Otago District Council was presented with a proposed plan change to bring a new chapter to the district plan around dark skies.
Implementing the plan change would enable Naseby Vision to submit an application to the IDA for dark sky reserve accreditation.
At the time, consultation and engagement with Aukaha on behalf of Ka ¯i Tahu was still in progress and the council held off making a decision until there had been input from mana whenua.
That had since concluded and cultural context had been added to the proposal along with a few adjustments to assessment matters.
At the council meeting in Alexandra last week, it took a matter of moments for councillors to approve notification of Plan Change 22.
If successful, it would result in provisions being laid out in the district plan protecting the quality of Naseby’s dark skies through the establishment of lighting codes, local monitoring of compliant, outdoor lighting codes, and increasing awareness of light pollution.
These would come into effect when new development in the area was proposed.
Principal policy planner Ann Rodgers acknowledged the dedication of Naseby Vision and the ‘‘amount of work they had done over a number of years to progress, to become an IDA . . .community’’.
Mayor Tim Cadogan echoed her sentiments and said it was ‘‘quite an easy one’’ to approve.