Sunday, July 14, 2024

Canterbury council locks in long-term plan

Canterbury Regional Council has approved its work plan and budget for the next 10 years, committing to a $337 million work programme next year. 

In adopting the Long-Term Plan 2024-34 today, Acting Chair, Craig Pauling said some bold decisions had to be made. 

“When looking at the next 10 years, we found ourselves at a crossroads, confronted by legacy issues and a challenging future. We could have shied away from these realities. Instead, we have chosen to take them on. 

“What we have agreed is a package of work that includes action for immediate impact – and action that will protect the environment and the community into the future. This comes at a cost – but there is also a cost if we don’t act now. This is what Council had to weigh up.

“The total package of work for the coming 2024/25 year amounts to $337 million, and the rates portion of this will need to increase by 17.9% on the current year. This is a decrease from the 24.2% proposed rates revenue rise that we went out to the community with in March and April. A key component of this reduction is the efficiencies Council has asked the organisation to make.” 

Mr Pauling said public feedback played an important role in shaping the final Plan. 

“On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank the more than 1,300 individuals and organisations – some of which represented large sections of the community – who made submissions during the consultation period, along with those who spoke in person. Your feedback helped land some of our key decisions,” he said.

“For instance, it was pleasing to see that around three-quarters of submissions supported an increase in spending on river resilience, including flood management, and pest and weed control. 

“There was also strong support for a new district-wide rate for river resilience in Waikirikiri Selwyn and this, along with the new targeted rate for biodiversity in Ōtautahi Christchurch city and Te Pātaka o Rakaihautū Banks Peninsula, were approved.” 

Mr Pauling said that while at times there were strong differences around the Council table, the outcomes and the work to be done for Waitaha Canterbury remained front and centre throughout the process, and he’s proud of the way Councillors conducted themselves. 

“Now that we have set the direction, we need to get down to the real mahi. It’s time to jump in the waka and take on some of those big waves as we get set to deliver for our taiao (environment) and our hāpori (community),” he said.

The Long-Term Plan 2024-34 takes effect from 1 July.

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