Key projects get tick in Napier's Long Term Plan
Napier City Council has adopted its final Long Term Plan today. After considering over 800 submissions and hearing from more than 60 submitters in person, Councillors spent part of the extraordinary meeting of council today engaged in discussion around the key projects identified in the plan, before giving it the green light.
“The 2018-28 Long Term Plan includes some really exciting projects for our community,” Mayor Bill Dalton said after today’s Council meeting, held in the chambers at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. “Our Council’s vision is to provide ‘a vibrant and sustainable city for all’, and I am proud that this Council is able to deliver on that vision. We are also very pleased that, while some manageable external debt is required to action our raft of projects, we will close out the 10 years having paid it off entirely. I believe we will be one of the few councils in New Zealand to be in such a robust financial position come 2028.”
NCC’s Long Term Plan focuses keenly on water and a number of core infrastructure projects, including the provision of dechlorinated drinking water at two Napier outlets, management of wastewater and stormwater, and the delivery of the Ahuriri Masterplan. There is also a new pool development in the plan, and an upgrade and expansion to the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
“Council has been careful to get this balance right,” continues Mayor Dalton, “and keep rates at an affordable level, while ensuring we deliver an appropriate level of service to Napier. It’s true that councils across the country are facing challenging times, with higher standards to meet, higher public expectation, and significant competition within the construction market resulting in increased costs for the delivery of capital programmes. We have had a lot to think about, consider and weigh up in reaching our decisions.”
Mayor Bill Dalton: "The 2018-28 Long Term Plan includes some really exciting projects for our community. Our Council’s vision is to provide ‘a vibrant and sustainable city for all’, and I'm proud that this Council is able to deliver on that vision.”
NCC consulted on an average 5.6% rates increase in year one of the plan. However as a result of the hearings and deliberation process, this will reduce to 5.2% “in recognition of the number of Napier’s community on fixed incomes and in consideration of other funding opportunities available in 2018 and 2019,” explains Mayor Dalton. Across the full 10 years of the plan, a number of further increases are planned, reflecting the increased level of infrastructure spend during this time.
Key projects to move ahead as noted in the LTP include the development of the new Napier Aquatic Centre, to be established at a location on the corner of Prebensen and Tamatea Drive, pending site investigations, detailed designs, and so on. Mayor Dalton noted the shortfall in pool space currently, and the increasing health and recreation needs of a growing community. “This was a particularly tough decision for the Councillors, due in part to the near 50/50 split in opinion on the options presented through the consultation. Councillors have spent a lot of time weighing up and discussing the matter, and on the whole, they’ve voiced their support for the new site based on a number of factors, one important one being the opportunity for the old pool to remain open throughout construction of the new complex.”
Councillors accepted that a 50m pool option was not appropriate for Napier, given the planned future development at the Regional Sports Park.
Council also approved to move forward to the next stage of the National Aquarium of New Zealand expansion plan – the development of a detailed business case, pending central Government endorsement. Rates funding for the business case was removed, and Council approved this to be funded from reserves during deliberations.
The final Long Term Plan, with the full details of NCC’s work programmes, will be made publicly available at www.napier.govt.nz within the coming weeks.
29 June 2018