Western Bay of Plenty residents are being encouraged to have one final say on key decisions that will help shape the future of the district.
Released today, Western Bay of Plenty District Council's 2021-2031 Long-term Plan Consultation Document is the next step in Council's Hello Future District community conversation to shape and deliver key projects and services across the District for the next decade.
The consultation document, open for community feedback until April 9 features six key proposals identified by the community for funding over the next 10 years:
• Maintaining our roading network
• Walking and cycling
• Swimming pools
• Community halls
• CCTV – security cameras
• Elder housing
The Long-term Plan sets the budget, forecasts future rate levels and details key projects for the next 10 years.
It also forecasts a 30-year strategy for infrastructure investment to provide for the District's population growth, legislative change, climate change and economic growth.
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said the Western Bay remains one of the fastest-growing districts in New Zealand.
While this growth is positive for the local economy and delivers social and cultural benefits, the 10-year plan must enable the district to continue to be a great place to live, he believed.
This year's consultation document has been developed from a community engagement campaign last year that included workshops, online engagement and written submissions which received 40,000 individual pieces of feedback reflecting key issues the community wants council to address over the next 10 years.
"Everyone's feedback and ideas have been critical and we have made a concerted effort to ensure this is a document that to date reflects what you have told us you want during the consultation process," Webber explains.
"Now we are asking for your feedback one last time. Each of our key proposals includes the rating implications. We want to know if we have got it right before we finalise and formally adopt the Long-term Plan in June 2021."
As part of the consultation document council proposes to limit the average rates increase across the district to eight per cent for year one of the Long-term Plan plus a four per cent increase for the introduction of the new council-led kerbside recycling, glass and rubbish service – 12 per cent in total.
The proposed eight per cent increase in year one is in response to an increase in capital project delivery to respond to growth, increased levels of service, increased maintenance costs for roading assets and to meet legislative deliverables such as the review of the district plan and three water's compliance.
From year two onwards, council plans to limit the average rates increase across the district to a maximum of four per cent per year for existing ratepayers.
"People have made it clear that council needs to focus on people's wellbeing and on making communities safer places, as well as providing core services and planning for future growth," Webber said.
"However, one of council's biggest challenges is to keep rates increases as low as possible without compromising our levels of service. So we walk a very fine balance."
Headlining council's consultation period is the Love the Western Bay Fun Day series featuring three free family fun days and night movies at Te Puke's Jubilee Park on March 20, Te Puna's Maramatanga Park on March 26 and Waihi Beach Community Centre on March 27. All events start from 4pm and are free.
The events feature fun fair-style activities plus food stalls from local vendors. There will be heaps of fun for the kids including balloon twisting, face painting and a bouncy castle.
Alongside the Long-term Plan, council also wants to hear from the community about proposed changes to the following policies:
• Revenue and financing policy
• Multiple pan wastewater remissions policy
• Water rates remission policy
Council is also seeking feedback on its proposed schedule of fees and charges for 2021 and 2022. The consultation period closes at 5pm on April 9.
To contribute to the conversation go to www.hellofuturedistrict.co.nz and fill out the simple quick poll, visit one of the 18 feedback booths across the district and fill out a feedback form or join in on the fun at one of three Love the Western Bay Community Fun Days.