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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
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.