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What a productive year 2018 has been. I’m sure
I’m not alone in thinking how fast another year has come to an end, but that is
inevitably what happens when there is plenty of work to do. For many, the
looming Christmas holidays spells a much-deserved break to reminisce on the
year that was. When I stop to think about what has been happening for Council
and the things that have been achieved, I’m struck by the sheer amount of
diverse projects and activities that have progressed.
Developments at the Chinese settlement on
Allens Road have moved in leaps and bounds. This historic site was once a
Chinese market garden which the Council took guardianship of in 2013. After the
Council approved funds for the preservation and partial restoration of the
buildings last year, work has commenced at the site and is still ongoing today.
During a visit to the settlement in September, a senior archaeologist with
Heritage New Zealand revealed that the site has significant historical value
and that Heritage New Zealand is proposing to declare the settlement an
We are continuing to see more and more people
coming to our district to live and work, and a great example of this is the growing
number of new citizens I get the pleasure of welcoming to the district at our
citizenship ceremonies. Attracting and retaining more people in our community is
something that we hope to further encourage through initiatives such as the
Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Plan that Council adopted this year.
The purpose of the plan is to help make our district an even more welcoming place
for newcomers. Through a series of workshops, residents were able to help
formulate the plan, and some of the activities included have already come to
life, such as the Futsal Tournament Extravaganza held in October. I look
forward to seeing the Plan continue to roll out and foster more positive
outcomes for our community.
The Ashburton CBD revitalisation project has
also seen significant progress this year. With the help of residents, the
Council was able to finalise a streetscape plan for the precinct in September.
The intention of the plan is to help breathe new life into the CBD that will
encourage more people to come into town and support our local economy. Work is
expected to start in 2019 and I look forward to seeing all the hard work
carried out this year begin taking effect.
From a core infrastructure perspective, we’ve
increased funding for roads, the government has –for the first time –
introduced subsidised funding for our footpaths, we’ve taken advantage of NZ
Transport Agency funding to replace the district’s streetlights with LED, and
we’ve continued renewing Ashburton’s wastewater pipe network.
These projects and activities would not be
possible without the dedication of our elected members, Methven Community Board
members, Council staff, Youth Councillors and of course, the numerous
volunteers who make our community so great to be a part of. I’d like to extend
my sincere thanks for everyone’s hard work throughout this very busy year. Of
particular note, I’d also like to mention our new Chief Executive, Hamish Riach,
who joined the Council a few months ago. He has hit the ground running and we
look forward to continuing our work together in 2019.
I hope the New Year has many great things in
store for you and your loved ones. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone and