Council budget affords extra social projects

By Sophie Price

1 comment
Reva Ngapoe (front), resident, Kilkee Terrace, Hastings, with some of the kids who live there. She has asked Hastings District Council to put a playground on the Kilkee Terrace Reseve at the end of the cul-de-sac, hoping that will stop the kids playing on the street. Photo / Duncan Brown
Reva Ngapoe (front), resident, Kilkee Terrace, Hastings, with some of the kids who live there. She has asked Hastings District Council to put a playground on the Kilkee Terrace Reseve at the end of the cul-de-sac, hoping that will stop the kids playing on the street. Photo / Duncan Brown

Keeping rates down while delivering on projects to benefit the community is a great outcome for the Hastings District says Mayor Lawrence Yule.

Mr Yule said in addition to budgeting for what council usually pays for such as roads and water, it has also been able to put money towards projects that will make very real differences to our people. "They are projects that are important to our residents; their enjoyment of their district and their future," he said.

One such project was a park in Flaxmere's Kilkee Terrace - important to mum Reva Ngapoe who said it would help to keep the street's children safe.

Mr Yule said while this request did not fit into the authority's playground strategy, council has granted $10,000 towards the park.

He said strategically council could not justify spending the $40-$50,000 that the park would cost, but that it would try to work with other funding partners such a Rotary or Lions.

Mr Yule said by doing this "we probably think we can deliver that is pretty special in a small way for that community".

One of the biggest announcements to come out of the annual plan round was councillors showing their support for Sir Graeme Avery and his $10 million vision for a sports hub.

This councillors decided to grant the project $2 million now, by bringing $1.75m set aside for the sports park forward and topping it up with $250,000 and then go to public consultation next year for the further $2 million Mr Avery asked for.

"There is a very good level of support around the council table for the project," Mr Yule said.

The A&P Society walked away with a provisional $500,000 to go towards its multimillion dollar upgrade of the Hawke's Bay Showground.

"Our $500k is not just giving them a cheque for $500k it will be saying actually we want you to spend the money on these things," Mr Yule said, speaking of the provisions.

"And importantly also we are wanting to start a conversation around ownership of the showgrounds if we are starting to make investments."

Mr Yule said the Society had signalled the latter in their submission that they were happy to consider this and council was taking them up on their offer.

"We cannot go putting millions of dollars into the showgrounds over time without the public interest being protected so we need to consider what is the ownership model that might do that," he said.

Funds have also been earmarked for Horse of the Year - subject to the outcome of the independent review currently being undertaken on this year's $170,000 loss.

"If it is not going to be used then it will become surplus funds," Mr Yule said.

A council spokeswoman said subject to confirmation at the full council meeting on June 30, the rate increase this year will be set at an average 2.8 per cent.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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