CE Hamish Riach: Jump in with your LTP feedback

Published: 11 April 2024

I’ve been delighted to see an early and strong response to Council’s draft Long Term Plan, with hundreds of people engaged in person, online or over a sausage in the first week or so.

Councillors and staff have met with college students who may well become ratepayers in the next 10 years, with the people of Rakaia, with people passionate about keeping the Tinwald Pool and with people who’ve been out grocery shopping and happened upon one of our pop-up events.

This engagement is really important for a plan that helps set our priorities for the next decade. As you’d expect, there have been a wide variety of views expressed to our people and some have already made submissions – there are many more events on the consultation calendar and if you have an opinion you want to pass on, I hope you come to one.

There is a lot to talk about in a Long Term Plan and Council has highlighted five key decisions, including what a future green waste collection might look like and if we should invest in outdoor water play, like a new outdoor pool at EA Networks Centre.

But feel free to comment on any aspect of the plan – the fact we have not specifically asked for feedback on roading or the second bridge does not mean they have fallen off our radar. Quite the opposite, in fact.

We are budgeting to progress both those topics: Roads are a core service and our ageing roading network needs ongoing rehabilitation and maintenance, so we are proposing a substantial increase to our roading budget.

A second bridge over the Ashburton River is expected to be built in the next three years, and the new government has indicated this is a top priority for the national roading programme – how the bridge is funded remains a live and current topic of conversation. The Minister of Transport is in Ashburton in the next couple of weeks to continue these discussions.

Council has maintained an amount of $7.5 million as a contribution to the bridge project, the same amount provided in our previous Long Term Plan.

In terms of infrastructure (like drinking water, wastewater, parks and the like), there is a lot going on in the next few years. Much of it this work is for renewal of underground pipes, and is being done to ensure Council meets stricter drinking water and wastewater standards and that our network can cope with future growth.

We're still focused on getting the basics right, while making Ashburton district an attractive place to live and work.

All you need to know about the draft Long Term Plan, and to submit feedback, is at itsourplace.nz.

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