Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canterbury councils make billion-dollar plans for the future

Billions of dollars of spending will be outlined to communities throughout Canterbury in the coming weeks as councils release their proposed work plans and funding for the next 10 years, the Canterbury Mayoral Forum has today announced.

It says Canterbury councils will be consulting with their communities about their Long-Term Plans. As part of this consultation, councils will be asking how much their communities are willing to pay in rates to fund planned work over the next decade.

Canterbury Mayoral Forum Chair, Nigel Bowen says for most, this “won’t be a pretty number”.

“We have all seen the early commentary up and down the country. Councils are struggling. We’re all under immense pressure to deliver more but to spend less. Balancing affordability with the need to invest more will be key for the Forum’s councils in the coming years,” he said.

“As a collective, what we do know is that we don’t want to kick the can down the road for future generations to pick up the price tag.

“As local councils in the Canterbury region, we spend billions of dollars in our communities each year. We invest in infrastructure and services such as roading, water, wastewater, drainage, rubbish collections, monitoring, animal control and consenting. Social spaces are an important part of what we provide our communities. These can include playgrounds, reserves, sports grounds and libraries. We are also a key player in addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

There are, however, many positives related to this investment, Mayor Bowen says.

“The work we do creates liveable, thriving and connected communities and the money you pay through rates directly benefits you and your community. However, with this investment come challenges. The number one being that there are limited funding sources – the main one being you as ratepayers.

“We get little support from other sectors, and this means you bear the brunt of what we do. We are all fully aware of that and this always plays into our decisions. We also continue to lobby Central Government for more support, especially around funding critical assets.”

“Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to get involved in your council Long-Term Plan processes. Of course, remembering that you have your local council, and the regional council, to look at. Get involved and have a say,” he said.

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum is made up of the Mayors of the 10 territorial authorities in Canterbury and the Chair of the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury).

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