Ashburton District Council today adopted the consultation document and supporting information that will form the Ashburton District Long Term Plan 2015-25.
Named "Working together for lifestyle & opportunity", the consultation document asks the community which options should be taken for some of the key decisions facing the district including investment in our roads and the proposed hydroslides for the EA Networks Centre.
The supporting information provides additional detail, setting out Council's proposed projects, budgets, and overall direction for the next 10 years. It outlines the community outcomes those activities aim to achieve, explains how Council will measure performance, and report on targets to help ensure the plan is achieved.
Mayor Angus McKay says Council believes that by implementing this plan it will meet the current and future needs of the community.
"This plan will enable us to provide our residents with good quality local infrastructure and public services. Equally, it will allow us to perform our regulatory functions efficiently and effectively.
"In developing the document we have reflected on what was said to us in previous conversations – from the Annual Residents Satisfaction survey, to meetings with community associations around the district and the submissions provided through other consultations and surveys."
Council has proposed an average rate increase of 6.5% for the 2015/16 year, 3.8% for 2016/17 and 11.1% for year three. The rate increase in year three is driven by the cost of the new kerbside collection system (using wheelie bins instead of rubbish bags), which is $1.4 million.
"It's been a challenge to keep the rates as low as possible as our population grows and community expectations increase. Progress needs to be affordable for our residents," he said.
The consultation document highlights the key issues facing the district and the choices Council has to make concerning major projects during the next decade. It also shows how these projects might affect rates.
The major projects include: investments in roading, reviewing the stockwater scheme, proposed hydroslides, Council's contribution to the new Rakaia Sports Facility, and reviewing options regarding the provision of a new Civic Administration Building and Ashburton Library.
Council has also made some important decisions which will affect residents. These have been outlined in the consultation document to provide a clear picture of what will be included in the proposed rates, including the impact of a new wheelie bin collection, the construction of the Second Urban River Bridge, and operating the new EA Networks Centre.
While the consultation document is focussed on Council's key upcoming projects, there are also many other decisions Council needs to make about other services and facilities in the district such as installing urban public recycling bin stations, upgrading playgrounds and public conveniences, and the Ashburton Relief Sewer, to name a few. The supporting information provides details about these proposals.
Both the consultation document and supporting information will be available online from tomorrow, Friday 10 May 2015, for people to provide feedback via Council's website.
Hard copies of the consultation document will be delivered to all houses in the district in the Courier newspaper on 23 April, along with a feedback form.
Further copies, as well as the supporting information, will also be available at Council offices, Ashburton Public Library, Mobil Rakaia, Methven i-SITE, Mayfield Store, Hinds on the Spot, and Mt Somers General Store from early April.
As part of the Long Term Plan consultation process, a number of community meetings will be held around the district from late April. Councillors will present on the Long Term Plan and key staff will be available at the meetings in Rakaia, Mt Somers, Hinds, Methven, Hakatere and Ashburton.
Mr McKay says Council is encouraging people to attend the meetings and provide feedback on what they like or don't like about the proposed projects.
"Council considers your views a vital part of this plan and encourages you to provide feedback and help shape the future of our district.
"We would like you to tell us if you think we have it right, if we have missed anything, or if there is something we could delay, defer or remove. We need your input to make the right choice."
Consultation on the Long Term Plan 2015-25 closes at 5pm on Monday 11 May 2015.
Click here to find out about how to have your say.