Sunday, May 19, 2024

New Plymouth mayor calls for action on district water

Overhauling New Plymouth’s ageing water network should be the priority in the New Plymouth District Council’s draft $3 billion work programme for the next 10 years, says Mayor Neil Holdom.

The draft 10 year plan – which will be debated at a Council meeting on Wednesday – has received feedback from close to 5,000 local residents.

Proposals within the plan include:

  • Fix the Plumbing, including upgrading the three waters network, water meters for every home and improving the stormwater system in Waitara;
  • Green our Place, which covers taking the Coastal Walkway from Bell Block to Waitara, as well as the planting urban forests and investing in cleaner vehicles;
  • Pay it Forward for our kids by contributing to a Sport Taranaki lead project to build a multi-purpose hub;
  • Introduce a $231 rates rise in year one for a typical urban ratepayer with an average of 6% over the following nine years.

Mayor Holdom has made a number of recommendations for Councillors to debate, as they decide on the substantial work programme.

“Water is life. It is time to step up and invest in water for our people and the environment,” Mayor Holdom said.

“This plan has the provision of safe drinking water, cleaner rivers, streams and coastal areas, at its core.

“We must ensure our children can swim in our waterways and eat kaimoana without fear of becoming sick due to pollution finding its way into our water network.”

The Mayoral report acknowledges rates rises will be tough on some residents.

“We realise that nobody likes increases in taxes but we have systems in place to support vulnerable and low income households,” he said.

“We need to balance the desire to keep rates to a minimum with our duty to reverse the deterioration of an inadequate water network we are entrusted with maintaining along with our desire to pay something forward for future generations.”

Mayor Holdom’s other recommendations include:

  • $300k for a Te Kohia Pa feasibility study in the early years of the plan;
  • $400k to be shared equally among Community Boards to fund minor projects;
  • $100k for an independent review of procurement;
  • A report into solutions for fixing Urenui and Onaero’s sewerage sooner;
  • Proposing any unallocated surplus from the last financial year to be ring-fenced in a reserve for NPDC to play its part in tackling the housing crisis.

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