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The Ashburton Domain in autumn colours during lockdown.

The Ashburton District Council has extended consultation on the Ashburton Domain Development Plan while the country remains in alert level 4 because of Covid-19.
Councillors met online via zoom today and agreed a close-off date for submissions would be set once the district moved back to alert level 1.
Strategy and policy manager Toni Durham said council would continue to receive submissions on the long-term development plan and it was possible the consultation period would end up being three months, rather than three weeks.
“It could lead to us getting a greater level of interest and range of feedback.”
More than 60 people have already made submissions on the plan, many against moving the Ashburton Bowling Club, which as operated from central greens and a clubrooms for more than 100 years.
Other suggested domain projects over the next 30 years include moving the paddling pool closer to the playground, building heritage and botanical trails, upgrading playground equipment, creating a new central hub that could accommodate a café and a new entrance from Walnut Avenue.
Submissions were to have closed on April 5 but will now remain open.
Councillor Stuart Wilson said today that many over 70s who wanted to be part of the consultation process were staying at home during the lockdown to be safe. Some would be part of the second stage of consultation, involving hearings, if the planned timetable continued.
“It is the right thing to do to extend it so everyone gets to have their say on the important matter of the domain in the next 30 years,” Mayor Neil Brown said.
Councillors also paused the consultation process on its speed limit review and will consider hearing and deliberation dates once the district moves back to alert level 1.
About 200 submissions were received in the process with 18 people or groups indicating they wanted to present to council in person. Hearings and deliberations were scheduled to run this week.
Council will keep submitters on both projects up to date on developments and expected time-frames.