Do you want the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) offices to stay in Stratford? Should they be refurbished or should TRC rent or build elsewhere? Would you like all of the TRC fleet to change to being powered by alternative fuels? What are your thoughts on freshwater policy and what do you think about TRC's 100 per cent ownership of Port Taranaki Limited? Do you have a strong opinion on Yarrow Stadium or are you keen to share your thoughts on how much you pay in rates each year to TRC?
If you have an opinion on any of these questions, or anything else TRC is responsible for - you need to have your say soon, as submissions to TRC's Long Term Plan close this week.
Submissions on the Taranaki Regional Council's Long-Term Plan (LTP) close on Friday, April. 9. More information and a submission form can be found online at www.trc.govt.nz/LTPconsultation.
Making a submission to the LTP gives you an opportunity to comment or make suggestions about how the Government's comprehensive Essential Freshwater package should be implemented in Taranaki. TRC says this is shaping up to be the largest single project in its history, requiring significantly more investment in environmental science. TRC must also work with Māori to develop an effective and meaningful partnership to monitor and manage the region's waterways and groundwater.
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The community's views are also sought on the future of the region's public transport networks and the transition to alternative fuels for buses, the future of the TRC's outdated office accommodation, participation in a Regional Recovery Plan and a review of the Council's ownership of Port Taranaki Limited.
The draft budget for the 2021/2022 financial year points to a total rates increase of $20.13 for a property worth $500,000. The extra costs for environmental science staff and resourcing will be partially offset by a big reduction in Yarrow Stadium rates thanks to a $20 million "shovel-ready" grant.
TRC chairman David MacLeod says more upheaval is looming for local government, including the Government's "Three Waters" reforms, new legislation to replace the Resource Management Act and an evolving response to climate change.
"We're facing an incoming tide of far-reaching change," he says. "It's important for you to speak up now so that councillors are aware of all the relevant views and facts before making their decisions. That's representative democracy at work."
He says Taranaki deserves the best when it comes to decision-making processes. "So make sure your concerns and opinions are understood around the council table."