About this pre-consultation process

Why aren't you doing the recommendations first and then asking us?

QLDC is required to understand the community’s tolerance to different types of natural hazard risk before developing a set of planning recommendations that might apply in this area. This occurs through public consultation early on in the process. The community’s tolerance to risk is a key consideration that we'll take into account when developing planning recommendations along with expert geotechnical information. 

Why not look at the infrastructure first, and improve it, and then look at planning?

Engineering or infrastructure can be used to help manage natural hazard risk. But this can come at significant cost and can be very difficult in some circumstances due to the nature of existing development. We also need to take into account higher order planning documents which give preference to risk management approaches that reduce the need for hard protection structures or similar engineering interventions.

What is done with the information you've gathered?

Feedback gathered from the pre-consultation process will help shape a picture of the role people see QLDC playing in managing natural hazard risk. 

The risk matrix in particular will establish the community’s tolerance to natural hazard risk. 

It does this by offering the community an opportunity to tell us what type of natural hazard consequence (impacts of a natural hazard event) and likelihood (chance of natural hazard events occurring) combinations fall into the following categories:

  • Acceptable – Risk you are happy to live with knowing that it will receive limited or no planning intervention.
  • Tolerable – Risk you are prepared to put up with and could recover from. Planning interventions will occur to manage activities and development to minimise risk as far as practicable.
  • Intolerable – Risk you are not prepared to endure regardless. Planning interventions to manage this risk will be strong and may result in certain activities and developments being restricted or prohibited.

We can then use these different risk thresholds to help guide what type of planning regulations could be applied in different areas. 

e.g. if the community tells us that natural hazard events with high consequence and likelihood combinations are intolerable, then QLDC may restrict or prohibit activities and development in areas where our geotechnical information signals that natural hazard events have a higher chance of occurring. 

About the area under review

Why is the area being reviewed so confined?

The land subject to this review is that which is located on or in close proximity to the active surface of two alluvial fans. The surface of alluvial fans are understood to be more susceptible to natural hazard events. The surrounding land not subject to the current review has been considered by previous stages of the District Plan review and will not be subject to further change as part of this process. In many cases, subdivision and development which requires a resource consent on land not being considered by this review processes will still be required to consider the effect of natural hazards under the District Plan and the Building Act 2004. 

Why is QLDC reviewing natural hazards in this area?

The two areas being reviewed are located on the surface of a landform known as an alluvial fan. Alluvial fans are cone shaped landforms comprised of alluvial sediments, which typically form where streams emerge from hill country onto valley floors. Alluvial fans are dynamic landscapes that can be associated with natural processes such as debris flows, rockfalls, landslides, flooding and liquefaction. These processes can create natural hazard risks. This review will allow QLDC to get a better understanding about these natural processes and the risk they present to people and property. It will also allow people who own properties or businesses, as well as people who live and work in this area, to let us know their views on acceptable natural hazard risk thresholds, and what ideas they have to help QLDC develop a new framework for managing natural hazard risks. 

What if I own property, live or work on land adjacent to/outside of the area being reviewed?

In this case, your property will not be effected by this plan review. You are however welcome to come along to the consultation sessions or complete the online survey.

What areas did BECA review?

The BECA report carried out specific assessments to understand the nature of debris flow, rockfall, liquefaction and flooding within the areas subject to the plan review.

What about the redevelopment of the old Wakatipu High School site you’ve just signed off on?

The site of the previous Wakatipu High School is located outside of the area that is being assessed by this plan review process. The reason for this is that is not located on the surface of either the Brewery Creek or Reavers Lane alluvial fans. It is located between the two fan surfaces. Even though it hasn’t been assessed as part of this plan review, any future development on the old school site will need to consider the effects of natural hazard events.

How this fits in the wider District Plan review process

Is this the first step in a wider process? Will natural hazard reviews be district-wide?

This is the first community tolerance pre-consultation that QLDC has conducted and follows recent updates to national, regional and district level planning documents. 

These changes direct QLDC to understand the community’s tolerance to natural hazard risk early in the plan making process and take this into account when developing recommendations for new planning regulations.  

The Brewery Creek and Reavers Lane areas are not the only alluvial fans within our district - it is anticipated that other areas subject to natural hazard risk will go through a similar process.

How is this process different from other parts of the District Plan review?

This part of the District Plan review is a little different from other topics in that it involves a period of targeted community pre-consultation specifically on the matter of natural hazards. 

This pre-consultation will seek to ensure QLDC better understands the views on acceptable natural hazard risk thresholds from the community who live, work and own property in Brewery Creek and Reavers Lane.
These views will be used to help inform QLDC’s proposals for District Plan controls in this area. They may also help inform possible changes to the type of physical infrastructure Council uses to manage natural hazards.   

About natural hazards and risk

What do you mean by 'risk?

Risk is understood to be a product of likelihood and consequence. It also incorporates the effect of uncertainty on objectives.

Likelihood is the chance that an event might happen. Likelihood can be defined objectively or subjectively and can be expressed either qualitatively or quantitatively. 
Consequence is the results of a hazard impacting an element at risk. This could be people, property, infrastructure or other assets. 

Are these the only alluvial fans in the District?

No, these are not the only known alluvial fans sin the District. There are other alluvial fans which we know about. Some of these have little or no development located on them. Others have a degree of more recent development that has been subject to assessment through the resource consent process. These other alluvial fans are not subject to the current review, but the zoning and plan controls may be reviewed in the future.

Does rockfall mean individual rocks or an avalanche?

Rockfall refers to blocks of material which roll, fall or bounce down a slope individually to one another. Rocks can fall in a group but not as an entire mass of land falling at once.

Does liquefaction take into consideration the old rubbish tip?

The old rubbish tip is not located within the area of land that is subject to this plan review process.


What effects do trees have on likelihoods? Are they a hazard themselves?

Trees change from year to year so they have not be included in this modelling of natural hazards. 

They can influence natural processes in various ways, for instance:

  • trees can help stabilise soils and other material on the slopes of the catchments (limiting the movement of material towards people and property on the alluvial fan surfaces)
  • tree trunks and other vegetation have the potential to form small dams that can fail and result in pulses of debris during significant rainfall events

Trees could result in fires and occasionally can fall but they do not present risks in the same way as debris flow, rockfall, liquefaction and flooding. 

Are the trees in the catchments maintained?

The trees in the upper catchments are a mix of native mountain beech forest and wilding douglas fir. 

The wilding douglas fir is managed by the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group. 

There is currently no forestry work planned in the catchment areas. 

QLDC planners working on this plan review have been and will continue to be in regular contact with both the Infrastructure and the Parks and Reserves department staff to get advice on these matters.  

I believe QLDC diverted the Reavers creek in mid-1960s – have you considered the effects of this?

The existing situation at Reavers Creek has been taken into account by BECA in their report - this will include any diversion which has occurred.

What about insurers? What does this mean for my property value?

Natural hazards are something we live with. They come with the territory of living in many places across New Zealand and Queenstown is no different. They are a product of what makes our district such a special place to live, work and play – the alpine environment, our mountains, rivers and lakes which can be highly dynamic and changeable.

Natural hazards planning has received more and more attention since the Christchurch earthquakes and we are learning more about them all the time. It’s important to remember that these areas are known to have been associated with alluvial fans and natural hazards for quite some time. For example, debris flows occurred in this area in 1986 and 1999. The current plan review process has therefore enabled us to refine what we know about existing natural hazards in this area.

Changes to planning rules don’t necessarily result in changes to insurance premiums or property values.

About the sessions

I can’t go along to these sessions – what can I do?

If you can’t make it to one of our sessions, please read the supporting information that will be published here on 7 May and then complete the online survey. 

Should my employees or tenants go along to the community consultation sessions?

Yes, if you run a business which employees people in this area, or if you own a property which is leased to tenants you should inform them of the community consultation sessions and encourage them to come along. We are interested in talking to and hearing from anyone who lives, works and owns property in this area. All views count equally. We will be delivering letters to the physical address of all properties in the area being reviewed to ensure tenants are notified of the community consultation sessions.

How do I register to attend a Community Session?

To register your place, please email letstalk@qldc.govt.nz or phone 03 450 0350 with your preferred session by 5.00pm Wednesday 8 May.