LTP 2024-34: Decisions so far

Published: 24 May 2024

Ashburton District Councillors were in full-on decision-making mode on Thursday as they worked on the final form of the Long Term Plan 2024-34.

Mayor Neil Brown said a common theme had emerged from the submissions to the draft plan and residents wanted council to make savings there they could, while ensuring core services like roads and water, were done well.

“Essentially, they told us not to waste money, and we’ve listened. Some of our decisions might not be popular with a few people, but we need to spend very carefully at this time when people are struggling with rising costs in their everyday lives.”

Councillors are about three-quarters of the way through a list of decisions they must make about projects and services, and they will continue the decision process next Wednesday, 29 May, at 9am.

So, what was decided yesterday?

Green waste

Council will introduce a green waste collection in residential areas from September 2026. Details of the collection, including the size of the bins, will be decided at a workshop in the next 12 months; they will also look at how a green waste collection service could happen for businesses.

Government has mandated that councils introduce a green waste collection by 2027 and the green waste collection will be part of the existing kerbside rubbish and recycling collection.

Mayor Brown said a green waste collection would be good for the environment and reduce greenhouse gases as food and grass clippings will no longer end up in landfills producing methane.

“A green waste service is also something that residents have been asking for. We’ll have a workshop to work out whether the green waste bin will be 80 litres, 120 litres like the current red bin, or 240 litres like the yellow bin, but it definitely won’t be a small 23-litre caddy.”

During the consultation, 1313 people commented on the green waste collection, with 83 per cent (1097) in favour of the introducing one.

Water-based leisure

No investment will be made in water-based play. This means the Tinwald Pool will be permanently closed, though Council will work with the Tinwald Reserve Board to find an alternative activity at the pool site – like a paddling pool or water play area.

A move by Cr Russell Ellis to have a hydroslide on the books for EA Networks Centre in Year 5 was lost 5 votes to 4, those against it cited concerns about affordability.

Mayor Brown said the move to now work with the Tinwald Reserve Board was good news for the people of Tinwald. “We are not just walking away, but looking at an alternative activity for that space.”

Balmoral Hall and the old Polytech

Councillors parked the decision about the future of Balmoral Hall and the Polytech land until 29 May. They are seeking more information about a new option – to retain the hall and redevelop the Polytech land as a carpark.

They want to know detail about the repairs needed on the hall (replacing the roof triggers a wider compliance with the Building Code), and about the car park numbers.

The extra information will also cover the impact on rates of not selling the two sites, projected income from the new carpark, and the heritage value of the Balmoral Hall.


Council will exit its stockwater service by 30 June 2027. A project group, including two Councillors, will be formed and report progress to Council on a quarterly basis – some races will remain open for biodiversity.

“We have heard from both sides of the equation and making a decision is not easy, but we must look after those who believe they have no alternative water. The working group will work through that with them to find a cost-effective other source of water,” Mayor Brown said.

Stadium extension

Council agreed to a long-term plan to extend the EA Networks Centre indoor stadium by three courts, but moved the project to Years 7-9 of the Long Term Plan (in 2031-33).

While there was general agreement that the existing stadium was at capacity at peak times now, Councillors were concerned at the cost, which was forecast to be $23.7 million.

“Affordability is a major part of this decision, and pushing it out will give successive councils a chance to re-evaluate it against the economic conditions of the time. Now is not the time while many people are struggling with the cost of simply living.”

Other decisions:

  • $200,000 has been approved for water quality work at Lake Hood in Year 1. This includes work to dig a channel to split the intake water from the Ashburton River between the new and old lakes, so that more water is flushed through the canals.
  • Airport fees and charges have been parked to 29 May, following a meeting with the airport users group on Monday 27 May.
  • $15,000 has been set aside each year for the next three years to support a Youth Advisory Group being set up by Base Youth CafĂ©.
  • Funding has been approved for the Methven Lighting Project - $5000 a year for the next 10 years operational expenditure, plus capital expenditure of $51,000 in Year 1, $55,000 in Year 3 and $10,000 in Year 4.
  • $75,000 has been included in Year 2 to investigate alternative sites for the Methven Recovery Park, to accommodate population growth in Methven.
  • Council will provide $25,000 in Year 1 to investigate a district biking trail.
  • Funding is approved to develop a mini golf course at EA Networks Centre, with up to $400,000 able to be used from Reserve contributions. The Mayor said this would provide a fun activity for youth and families.

Share this article

More News

View all news