'I can live with this'' : the Bay of Plenty Regional Council public engagement on acceptable risk

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Kilvington, M.; Saunders, W.S.A. 2015 ''I can live with this'' : the Bay of Plenty Regional Council public engagement on acceptable risk. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science miscellaneous series 86 71 p.

Abstract: Land use planning that takes into account natural hazard risk requires a value judgement over what is deemed an acceptable or unacceptable level of risk. It correspondingly needs avenues for the deliberative processes involved in making this value judgement and for including input from affected communities who live with the consequences of the risk decisions. However, talking to people about a risk they might face in the future, as a result of decisions they make in the present, is notoriously hard; even when the consequences are quite apparent. Talking to entire communities about the risks of natural hazard events can seem almost impossible. Nevertheless, the world we live in is changing, and talking to individuals and communities about future risk from greater and more dramatic storm and flood events, sea level rise, coastal erosion and other natural hazards is something that local government agencies have to do more and more. In this report, we look at the way one local government agency, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC), took-on the challenge of including the views of their local community in deciding where the threshold for acceptable risk lay. In October 2013 the BOPRC began work on a variation to the natural hazards component of the proposed Regional Policy Statement (PRPS) . The BOPRC were interested in providing a framework within the RPS that would support risk-based planning in the Bay of Plenty and pending legislation and proposed Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) amendments affirmed this direction. Key to a risk based approach to land use planning is the delineation of the thresholds of acceptable, tolerable and intolerable risk. The BOPRC took the position that this determination of risk acceptability required public input. A work stream was initiated to facilitate community and stakeholder involvement in the regional planning process specifically around the question of what was acceptable, tolerable or intolerable natural hazard risk. The resulting project ran from January 2014 until May 2014. Termed “I can live with this risk”, it was an innovative approach to public engagement on a difficult topic. The process met the BOPRC need to get a feeling for community views on natural hazard risk; engaged the public imagination; and produced a robust response that could be evaluated alongside technical input on risk thresholds and integrated into the final decisions in Variation 2 (natural hazards) of the BOPRC PRPS . Several key points contributed to this. (auth)