About The Russell Protection Society
The Russell Protection Society is active in making representations and submissions, while keeping the public informed on matters concerning its objectives.
The Society is probably best known for the stand that it takes on a number of resource management issues, including the Russell Sewerage Scheme. However, this only represents a relatively small part of our activities.
There are a number of issues, processes and pieces of legislation that serve to shape the future of our historic Township. It may be helpful to list these and describe how the Russell Protection Society is involved.
Far North District Plan
The Resource Management Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation in determining how the physical and social environment of an area, and its supporting amenities, develop over time. This legislation requires every city, district and regional council to develop plans and policies that establish the rules by which these areas grow or change.
For this reason, The Russell Protection Society has been directly involved in the process of ensuring that the Far North District Plan and the Northland Regional Coastal Policy give proper recognition and support to protecting those historic, cultural and environmental values that make Russell such a unique place.
The district plan now provides for historic precincts and a special zone for the balance of the Township, thereby preserving much of the original town plan while safeguarding the current character of Russell as a quiet yet colourful village.
The district plan is only effective if it is administered properly and hence the Society has been involved in making a number of submissions to resource consent applications where these pose a threat to the future of the Township.
We have led the charge in ensuring that the Russell Sewerage Scheme is appropriate, environmentally sound and affordable.
There are also a number of proposed subdivisions in and around Russell that pose a direct threat to the Township’s sense of containment and its greenbelt, and therefore we have become involved in appeals to the Environment Court as required.
In 2013 The Russell Protection Society was recognised by the Environment Court as having an interest greater than the General Public. As a result, the FNDC now gives The Russell Protection Society the opportunity to comment on all resource consent applications within Russell and its surrounds. With the changes in the Resource Management Act, and resulting reduction in the requirement to notify applications, this is proving to be especially important.
Another important example of the Society’s activities has been our submissions on the FNDC Long Term Community Plan and Annual Plans under the Local Government Act.
We have also represented the community in addressing sedimentation and pollution of shellfish beds with the Northland Regional Council, as well as local marine farming and marina development issues.
While the iconic heritage value of Russell Township may be taken for granted by some, for others there is confusion about what is so special about the place. It has been helpful to share information from expert architects and landscape architects with other organisations and the public.
We have also been actively involved in helping to plan for the tourism industry in the area and provided a major input into the “Tourism in Northland” long-term strategy document by carefully identifying the key role that Russell can play.
Catchment Management Plans
In order to protect and support the environment that attracts tourists to the area, the Society has participated directly in preparing Catchment Management Plans for Central Russell and Matauwhi Bay in order to help avoid flooding, as well as ensuring that the groundwater management plans for the area are sustainable.
Russell’s Centre of Attraction
The centre of attraction for Russell is Cass Street and The Strand. A member of the Society and well-known architect/landscape architect, Harry Turbott, redesigned Cass Street to make it a much more pleasant area, with seating, landscape planting and carefully located car parking.