Whakatane District Council has voted to adopt an Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy, which will allow retailers to open on Easter Sunday if they wish to do so.
The decision comes as a result of a 5-4 vote by council elected members last week.
The move follows the introduction of the Shop Trading Amendment Act 2016, allowing territorial authorities to implement, or not develop an Easter Sunday trading policy.
In October, the council decided to consult the community on the three available options: Option One – not develop a policy; Option Two – develop a policy that included all areas of the district; or Option Three – develop a policy and define locations.
A public consultation process resulted in 19 submissions being received, with seven submissions (37 per cent) supporting Option One and 12 submissions (63 per cent) supporting Option Two.
In addition, in May/June this year, as part of the council's annual Communitrak survey, a phone survey of 300 residents was undertaken to get an idea of the community's views.
This generated similar results to the public submissions process. A survey of shop owners was also completed and showed that the majority of retailers supported the introduction of Easter Sunday trading.
In a report prepared for the meeting, Strategic Policy Analyst Glenda Spackman says council's current strategic direction had a strong focus on economic development, with the intent of creating a diverse and vibrant economy.
“Tourism has become an increasingly significant part of this focus, and this policy will allow retailers to offer an additional service at a time when many visitors are holidaying in the District.”