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Another year is drawing to a close, with less
than two weeks left until the Christmas/New Year holiday period. Many who now
live outside of our district are returning to their families to celebrate,
while others are planning trips to other parts of the country and the world,
for some much anticipated rest and relaxation.
Coming together over a holiday gathering is often
a chance to catch up and reflect on the year that has been. For Council, 2018
has been another very busy year, with multiple projects moving ahead and our
usual services performing well. Looking back on 2018, there are a number
projects and activities that come to mind…
The Council has been continuing to address ways
of improving our district, and helping to revamp the Ashburton CBD has been a
key component of this. Earlier this year, residents were asked to share their
thoughts on our proposed changes to the CBD streetscape, and the final plan was
adopted in September. The intention of this project is to freshen up the CBD in
a way that will encourage more people to come into town, enjoy the space and
support our local economy. It will be exciting to see the planning work
completed throughout this year start being implemented in 2019.
We’ve seen considerable progress with the new
Council Administration and Library Building project, with Project Manager,
Logic Group and the Architect and Lead Designer, Athfield Architects Limited
both appointed this year. The Council has also worked to help futureproof the
selected site for the new building at Baring Square East by purchasing
additional land in the area.
This year has also seen the adoption of some
key documents that are working to support and improve our district - the
2018-28 Long Term Plan and the Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Plan.
Both of these plans, although vastly different in nature, are designed to make
our district a better place, and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed
to their development; whether that be through ranking which issues are most
important for the district in the ‘Our Place’ campaign, providing feedback on
the draft documents, or taking part in workshops. Your input has helped to
decide which projects Council funds and how it’s paid for (Long Term Plan), and
how our district goes about becoming an even more welcoming place for newcomers
From a core infrastructure perspective, I was
pleased to see in our latest Annual Report that the district has seen 2.2 per
cent more recyclable materials diverted away from waste and into recycling than
the previous year, which is likely to have been influenced by the introduction
of the wheelie bin system and the development of two new rural recycling
drop-off sites. This is a really positive step for our environment and
sustainability, and I hope to see this trend continue next year.
With all of this work happening (and much more),
it’s easy to see how 12 months can quickly wrap up. I hope 2018 has been a positive
year for you and your family, and that 2019 has more great things in store.
Please take care over the coming weeks and I wish you a safe and happy holiday.