Central Hawke’s Bay District Council has given the go ahead to seek community input on the development of the district’s Long Term Plan 2021-20 (LTP), with formal consultation taking place from 1 to 31 March 2021.
At the meeting of full council today, elected members reviewed the draft LTP consultation document and proposals which outlines some of the district’s most confronting challenges of our time. It sets out a very challenging and hard road for the district, as the council grapples with catching up on decades of underinvestment in essential infrastructure and assets.
Increases to rates, increases to the council’s overall debt limits and increases to development contributions are all being proposed in a bid to face the district’s challenges head on, and remedy a dire state of aged and failing infrastructure.
Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay, Alex Walker says: “We now know more than we have ever known about the state of our infrastructure. Quite frankly, it’s frightening. We are now faced with a situation where we require huge investment in our infrastructure and assets across the district, driven mainly by wastewater upgrades, which now cannot be paid for with rates alone. We have pipes that are over 100 years old, infrastructure that is literally crumbling away and buildings that we thought were earthquake tolerant, which are not. It’s time for us to face the facts.
“Our situation in Central Hawke’s Bay is complex and brings with it unique challenges. We are a small population and rate payer base, spread across a large geographical region. We require more water and wastewater treatment plants than smaller districts, with larger populations – take Napier as an example, which has just one wastewater treatment plant for a rate payer base of over 25,000. If you add decades of underinvestment in these infrastructural assets to that layer of complexity, you’re facing some very sobering realities. As Mayor of our wonderful district, uncovering these truths has been absolutely heart breaking. For decades’ rates have been kept artificially low, at the expense of our assets.
“The challenges outlined in this Long Term Plan consultation, and the options for responding to those challenges, are going to have a massive impact on all sectors of our community. I want to stress just how important it is for our community to take the time to read these proposals, understand the predicament we are in, how it will affect them, and why we need to work together now - not sometime in the distant future - to face these facts. It’s our responsibility to prevent our infrastructure from further degradation and to secure a thriving future for our children and grandchildren, because it is their future that our decisions today will shape.
“My team of councillors and I have cleared our calendars in March so we are available to meet face to face with our communities, answer their questions and hear their ideas. We want to hear from every corner of the district and will visit communities from Porangahau to Ongaonga. We’ll also be organising tours of our facilities so our residents can actually see for themselves the state of our infrastructure and the mahi we need to do.”
The LTP consultation document provides a summary of the council’s financial and infrastructure strategies, key challenges and proposed solutions for the community to consider and feedback on.
Central Hawke’s Bay residents will have an opportunity to engage with elected members and staff through a variety of events and face to face opportunities, read through proposals and submit feedback online or in paper format.
Community feedback will be used to develop the Long Term Plan 2021-2031, which will come into operation from July 2021.
The LTP sets out the council’s activities, costs, and required revenue and rates, for the next ten years. It’s reviewed every three years, with the last review taking place in 2018.
The Council consulted with communities in August 2020 as part of the ‘LTP pre-engagement’ phase. This was an opportunity to ‘check-in’ with the community and ensure that what the council deemed as being a priority, still aligned with the views of the community. Community feedback has been incorporated into the draft LTP consultation document.
Community consultation on the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 is scheduled to take place from 1 to 31 March 2021.
11 February 2021
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