2018 Christmas Message

Taking a look back on the year that was, it’s hard to capture the full breadth of work and activities that Council has undertaken throughout this time.

Significant progress has been made with the Council Administration and Library Building project, with additional land around the selected site purchased for future-proofing and a project manager and architect both appointed.

Similarly, the Council has been focusing its sights on one of Ashburton’s biggest investments for the future – the Ashburton CBD revitalisation project. We want to ensure our local economy continues to prosper and grow, and that means making sure our town centre is an attractive destination that draws people in. Keep an eye out next year when we expect work to get underway. In the meantime, the Council has extended free parking along East Street while we finalise plans for the CBD. 

A number of plans and policies were adopted by Council this year– one of the biggest being the Long Term Plan 2018-28, as well as the Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Plan, Economic Development Strategy and the Local Alcohol Policy. While all quite different in nature, they are designed to support our community, encourage growth and improve our prospects for the future.

On the core infrastructure front, roading has continued to be a big focus. Large rainfall events have impacted our network considerably in the last 12 months and this has required additional maintenance and repairs. Never-the-less, we have increased funding for roads, and taken advantage of NZ Transport Agency funding to repair damage and replace our district’s streetlights with LED. These new streetlights are helping to improve driver and pedestrian safety outcomes, and reduce power and maintenance costs.

We’ve continued to see strong visitation numbers at the Ashburton Museum (21,714 during the 2017/18 financial year, exceeding the target of 8,000). The EA Networks Centre has also seen close to 500,000 visitors, and we’ve been able to ensure pool users’ comfort during the warmer months with the installation of an air conditioning system.

I was particularly pleased to see our festive lights and activities built on from last year to create our district’s very first ‘Nights of Lights’ festival. The festive walk along East Street coupled with the lighting of the tree, a movie night and two buskers’ nights has really helped to unleash the town’s Christmas spirit, and I hope everyone has enjoyed them as much as I have.

It is no small feat being across a range of issues and projects that Council undertakes throughout the year, and the Council is very appreciative of our community for the way they engage with us. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to these projects and other work programmes, whether that be through providing feedback, being a volunteer on a reserve board, or being a dedicated Council officer, elected member, Methven Community Board member, youth councillor or contractor.

On behalf of Council, I’d like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Please stay safe, enjoy the holidays, and we will see you in 2019 for what I’m sure will be another busy year.

Page reviewed: 09 Jan 2019 9:10am