I'm proud to present our draft Long Term Plan which sets our direction for Waipā for the next 10 years.
We’ve completed a massive capital works programme worth $335.6 million, opened new community facilities, rolled out new services, and upped our game to build better relationships with our communities.
We focused on our unique culture and history and at the same time looked ahead to plan effectively for our rapidly growing district. Waipā has become one of the most desirable places to live in New Zealand, and a place we can all be extremely proud of.
As we move into a more uncertain time, we are still determining the extent of the global COVID-19 pandemic, whilst housing affordability has become a huge issue for New Zealand and the Waipā district.
New Zealand has declared climate change emergency, which impacts stormwater management, water supply pressures, roading, property, emergency management, planning and building to name a few.
We can work together to help improve our environment with less emissions through how we recycle, minimise waste, plant our forestry and waterways, travel, use sustainable transport and manage our facilities and wastewater treatment.
We’ve considered all these in the 2021-31 draft Long Term Plan, and prioritised work that responds to Covid-19 recovery, affordability and climate change.
Public places like parks, playgrounds, cycleways and walkways, as well as infrastructure like roads, water, wastewater and stormwater, must be well-planned and contribute to community wellbeing.
We are looking at an average rates increase of 1.8 for the next 10 years, starting with 4.1 per cent in 2021/2022.
To make sure we can pay for the important things our communities need to have a high quality of life, we will borrow more money and increase debt levels to try and limit the immediate impact on ratepayers. Debt levels will peak in 2027/28 at $302 million, but reduce to $250.5 million by year 10 of the draft Long Term Plan.
Our vision for Te Ara Wai is stil very much alive. COVID-19 has completely reshaped New Zealand's philanthropic funding environment so we're recommending to put this on hold for a few years while we secure external funding. In the meantime, we will continue to share the unique stories of iwi and others thorugh Te Ara Wai Journeys, so check it out at tearawai.nz.
It is important for you to know that Waipā has signed a memorandum of undersanding to engage with central government around water reform and how water and wastewater services will be delivered in the future. The proposal is to move the delivery of water services from local govenment to a public multi-regional model.
Nationally there a strong appetite to improve our waters, and locally we've made a commitment to be environmental champions. We are required to take the best approach for our infrastructure, and this will require significant investment.
At this stage, we've included all water and wastewater costs in the draft Long Term Plan. If our assets and how we manage these are to be transferred to a different model, we will engage with you to ensure you fully understand the impacts and what it means for our district. Likewise, if we don't intend to go ahead with another proposed option, we will consult with you before any decisions are made.
Outside of this, we have also been working through options for the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Plant, which requires a big investment to futureproof wastewater services for Cambridge. We’re still working through the details and this Long Term Plan was developed based on the information we have available today. Our plans are likely to evolve but we endeavour to keep you updated and informed of all options.
On behalf of our councillors, we look forward to hearing what you think about our plans and where we are heading for the next 10 years. I am confident that we have set out a strong programme of work that will see our district continuing to thrive.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest (JP)