Collaboration was superb and the council was cohesive - words of high praise as the Whanganui District Council adopted its 2018-28 Long Term Plan on June 28.

The meeting began with a minute's silence in memory of the mayor's father, the late Gerald McDouall, and words of tribute to him from Cr David Bennett.

Then, amid discussion, councillors agreed unanimously to adopt the plan. It includes new fees for trade waste and for using Whanganui's Wharf St Boat Ramp. The ramp fee will be $10 per day, or $65 for a year.

Rates will rise 4.5 per cent in the first year of the plan, and a projected average rise of 2.4 per cent in years after, Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said.


"We have done the spending Government requires us to do. I think we are ahead of the eight ball."

Audit New Zealand audit director Debbie Perera said the plan's information and assumptions, and its fee levels, were "reasonable".

Councillors foresaw future expenses that could change that picture. Cr Rob Vinsen brought up the $25 million needed over 30 years to increase the size of Whanganui stormwater pipes.

He wanted Wikitoria Rd and Onetere Dr people, and people affected by backing up at the Gerse St culvert, to be given priority. Deputy Mayor Jenny Duncan said the central city's Halswell St flooded too. London, Gibson and Harrison Streets were also mentioned.

Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan was disappointed a roof for Whanganui's velodrome was not mentioned. She expected the $1 million the council had committed earlier to be carried over to next year.

An item about the velodrome roof was taken in confidence at the end of the meeting.

Cr Helen Craig was disappointed kerbside recycling wasn't part of the plan. She said the lack of it was hardly "leading edge". Residents are to be consulted, and, if it is agreed to, it will increase rates.

Another future issue is forestry's effect on rural roads, McDouall said.


He added that many of the mayors he meets are wrestling with massive infrastructure challenges, due to the frequency and severity of weather events.