Council and the Central Hawke’s Bay community faced the facts yesterday to confirm a thriving future for the District, during Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 deliberations.
In the meeting, elected Council members fronted up to failing infrastructure, tackled tough decisions on rates and firmed up plans to future proof solid waste for the region.
Among the bold and confident decisions made was the investment of $68.5 million to upgrade the District’s Wastewater Treatment Plants and remove discharge to rivers.
Significant increases to development contributions and trade waste charges were outlined; there was a notable step change in renewal funding to address historic underinvestment; and kerbside recycling was extended into rural communities of Otane, Takapau, Tikokino and Ongaonga.
In developing a Long Term Plan for 2021- 2031, it was clear the approach would need to differ significantly from the past - as Central Hawke’s Bay faced huge challenges and opportunities.
Council was forced to address more than two decades of underinvestment in the District’s essential infrastructure; tackle unprecedented growth; face ever increasing legislative requirements; and resolve the historic political approach of not funding renewals or upgrades, that had kept rates artificially low.
All this, alongside poor investment decisions, delivered an unfortunate reality that the Council and community collective have faced up to in the Long Term Plan.
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker noted the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 set a level of investment in the community’s core infrastructure and services that had never been seen before. This investment would ultimately set the district up, to move together into the future.
“This plan sets a clear pathway to secure a thriving future. Our community talks about the regular leaks and water outages they experience, stinking wastewater ponds, buildings that Council and community expected were already seismically strengthened, and long term underinvestment in so much of our core infrastructure; whether roads, building or pipes,” Mayor Walker said.
“The investment is not insignificant, and with it, we will achieve a level of investment that will provide for sustainable futures for many of our assets”.
“We’ve explored every option available to us to generate new income, attract subsidies and have remained focussed on core services and infrastructure. Despite all of this, we now face a reality where living within our means still requires significant rates increases and investment to address years of underinvestment and poor investment decisions”.
The average rate increase in the first year of the Long Term Plan is 8.7 per cent with further increases of 7.5 per cent in Year two and 5.5 per cent in Year three of the Long Term Plan.
Increases will continue through the life of the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031, recognising the major underinvestment that Council proposes to address.
“Thank you for the conversations, the feedback and the suggestions in building this Long Term Plan – these have all been essential in shaping a Central Hawke’s Bay of the future we can all live, love and play in”.
Council will formally adopt the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 in full on June 17, 2021.
For more information on Council's Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031, visit our website: www.chbdc.govt.nz
Authorised by Chief Executive: Monique Davidson
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive | T 06 857 8060, M 027 422 9977
Amy Shanks, Communications Support | M 027 307 9548
14 May 2021
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