LTP Meetings Successful
Council received 140 submissions on the Draft 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (the Plan) and this week Councillors heard and considered the submissions received.
On Wednesday 2 June 2021 Council heard 26 submitters speak to their submissions. It was great to see such passion and commitment from our community and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to make a submission on our Draft Plan. We cannot do what we do without your input and it is important to us to get your feedback to know we are on the right path. Our Draft Plan has a future focus and has been developed to create a Thriving, Connected and Resilient Grey District.
Council reconvened the meeting on Thursday afternoon to consider all the submissions received and make decisions. Following is a summary of the decisions made on the key consultation issues:
- The extension of the kerbside refuse and recycling collection was approved (bin system). This service will be extended to all those who currently receive a bag collection service. An amendment was made at the meeting to also include the Moana and Te Kinga areas. This is due to come into effect from year two of the Plan, i.e. from 1 July 2022.
- Council approved building a new library, starting in year five of the Plan. The current library is not fit for purpose now and will become less so in the future as libraries are changing and are increasingly becoming more social, community and digital hubs. Comments around the table include that Council has a responsibility to provide an appropriate library for our community and it will end up costing the community more if we defer this project. Now that the project has been approved, staff can start working on actual design and costings. It was reconfirmed that the new library will be built in or as near to the CBD as possible.
- Councillors were in agreement that the Spring Creek Pool is a great facility for the Runanga and wider community, however it does not necessarily need to be operated by the Council. We have been fortunate in securing significant sponsorship to augment the $30,000 operational grant offered by Council. Council have been working with an interested community organisation in Runanga to take over the pool, however if by chance that does not eventuate, then the facility and assets will go into a Trust to be managed by the community. If the transfer is not finalised by the summer season, Council will operate the pool, however we are confident from reading the submissions and listening to the submitters that there is plenty of passion and willingness from the community to take ownership of this great community facility. In the unlikely event that a Trust is not formed by the end of the sponsorship period, Council will revisit the situation.
- The closure of the Runanga Service Centre/Community Library was confirmed. Whilst it was noted that there was support from the Runanga community in keeping the service centre open, the changes in services offered such as no more bill payments and stopping of cheques means the service is less relevant than it used to be. We will work through the transition period to enable community initiatives to develop. Arrangements are being worked through with affected staff and practical considerations for the closure and we will advise a confirmed date once the details have been finalised.
There are no changes to our Financial Strategy, which allows for a 9.99% overall rates increase for year one and 6% each year in years 2-10. This allows us to have a future facing focus by addressing our deferred renewals, saving for upcoming projects and repaying debt to retain capacity in the event of the unforeseen, i.e. emergency event.
Submitters raised many relevant and interesting points and it is recommended that people read the full agenda with the officer comments provided for each topic to understand the context behind the final decisions made. It is not feasible for Council to be able to agree to all requests but we do appreciate people taking the time to put their viewpoint across to us.
Staff will now work on making the required changes to the Draft Plan and Council are due to adopt the Final Plan on Wednesday 30 June. The 2021-2031 Long Term Plan will come into effect from 1 July 2021.