Public consultation on the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP) for the Tararua District will begin on 9 April, following Councillors’ approval at yesterday’s Council meeting.
“After months of planning we’re excited about getting the consultation underway” says Mayor Tracey Collis. “While we’re legally required to develop a Long Term Plan every three years, it also provides a valuable opportunity to hear what our communities would like for the future of their district”.
Council is formally consulting on seven key projects and provides various options for each project for consideration. The Consultation Document, which has been audited by Audit NZ, also includes updates and/or information on a number of other areas Council is involved in.
Many of the key projects relate to significant infrastructure projects in the district. One example is the proposal to upgrade sections of Route 52 to improve the resilience and safety of this key road. Wastewater and stormwater projects are also included for consultation, with some new proposals compared to previous plans.
“We have been making significant investments into infrastructure for a number of years and this LTP builds on that,” says Tararua District Council’s Chief Executive Blair King. “We’ve also invested in new technology such as advanced computer modelling, drones and CCTV in recent years. These technologies improve our knowledge of where the network has failed, and what is the optimum repair.”
Another project up for consultation focuses on digital connectivity; Tararua District has significant areas that have no mobile phone coverage and limited internet speeds.
“Most New Zealander’s take connectivity for granted in this day and age” says Mayor Collis, “but many of our rural residents are missing out on what should now be considered core infrastructure in this country.”
In the Consultation Document, Council is also revisiting the decision made during the 2015-2025 LTP to sell the Council owned pensioner housing and is looking for public feedback on this. Also included are options for minor sealing of roads and extensions to the utility networks to provide for new housing development. These projects account for the growth in population currently being experienced in the Tararua District.
One of the questions most ratepayers want to know during any LTP consultation is what these projects are going to mean for their rates. Maintaining the balance between prudent investment and keeping rates affordable is an on-going challenge according to Tararua District Council’s Chief Financial Officer, Raj Suppiah.
Mr Suppiah, who led the project team that developed the Long Term Plan, says “we think we’ve got the balance about right”.
The LTP proposes an average rates increase of 3.45% per annum over 10 years, which compares extremely well with many other Councils across New Zealand, including many of our neighbouring councils.
Councillors and staff will be touring the district at a series of lunchtime open days, giving residents the opportunity to come and talk directly about the issues that matter most to them. These open days will be held during the formal consultation period, which runs from 9 April to 11 May. Details of venues and dates will be advertised throughout the district and details will be available on the Council website from 9 April: www.tararuadc.govt.nz/ltp
Copies of the Consultation Document will be available during the consultation period and can be obtained Council Service Centre or Tararua District Library or can be downloaded from the website. Alternatively, call the Council on 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 to have a copy mailed out.
Mayor Collis is encouraging people to let Council know what they think about the projects Council is proposing.
“We’re looking forward to hearing what people think about the proposed projects and I’d like to encourage people to put in a submission, whether they agree or disagree with what’s proposed - it’s important to have a say.”