Parking was at a premium and gumboots were lined up outside the Ophir Peace Memorial Hall on Friday as people gathered for the final Otago Regional Council (ORC) drop-in session about its land and water regional plan (LWRP).
The meeting was the 12th to be held across the region as the ORC prepares the plan. More than 70 people took the opportunity to talk with ORC staff, ask questions and have their say.
ORC chairwoman Gretchen Robertson said the plan would set the long-term vision of how Otago’s land and waterways would be managed and protected for many years ahead.
From the opening of the Ophir drop-in session the hall was full, with people meeting around tables with ORC staff and scientists.
ORC general manager policy and science Anita Dawe said she expected water flows, excluding sheep from waterways, cow numbers and synthetic nitrogen would be hot topics at the session.
There had been support for more stringent rules to protect waterways at other drop-in sessions, Ms Dawe said.
ORC chief executive Richard Saunders said late in the afternoon Ms Dawe was correct — the most common topics raised had been setting minimum flow rates for the Manuherekia River and proposed rules for farming.
Springvale beef farmer Noeleen Christey said she was at the session because she had ‘‘a fear of legislation’’.
She was also really angry at the negative spin she believed the media put on farming.
Nitrogen in waterways came from many sources and was not a farmers’ issue, she said.
‘‘What’s natural and what is not?’’
Being able to pick up copies of the LWRP documents at the drop-in session was very helpful, Mrs Christey said.
‘‘How many farmers know the different Acts we are under?’’
Although the drop-in sessions had finished, people could still have their say on the LWRP until November 6 by using an online form at fwww.orc.govt.nz/feedback