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ChCh draft plan has average rates rise of 3.24%

Chch City Council draft plan carries average rates rise of 3.24%

The Community Plan to be considered by Christchurch City Council at its meeting on Thursday (18 March) would result in an average rates increase of 3.25 per cent.

Planning committee chairman Alister James says last year’s forecast was for an increase of about 3.6%. Presenting a plan with a lower figure while still providing the city with some important new projects and initiatives is pleasing, he says.

Among the new projects is one to start collecting and processing some of the city’s kitchen food scraps. Keeping reusable material out of the landfill is an important part of the Council’s drive for sustainability and Cr James says this project is doubly worthwhile because rotting food scraps and plant material in landfills create harmful gas and liquids. The scheme will begin with the collection of scraps from commercial kitchens and this year’s plan includes money for a processing plant. The indicative budget for 2005/06 includes several million dollars to pay for collection containers as the scheme expands throughout the city.

Putting into practice the city’s transport strategy is another important initiative, Cr James says. “It will ensure Christchurch avoids the transport woes and traffic jams suffered in Auckland,” he says. “I’m pleased the strategy deals with passenger transport infrastructure and cycleways as well as road networks and improved traffic safety.”

Details of these and other major projects and initiatives and their implications on rates are included in the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, available on the Council website at www.ccc.govt/council/agendas

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says the Council has taken a new approach to this year’s planning round as a result of a change to the Local Government Act.

“Usually we hear from people interested in things happening in their neighbourhood or about how we plan to spend the rates money,” he says. “We still want to know what people think about the details, but this community plan also looks at the bigger picture and talks about the kind of community we want Christchurch to be in the future.”

The community plan includes a “Christchurch Tomorrow” section with nine descriptions, called Community Outcomes, of the society, community, environment and economy Christchurch should aim to be. City Council work will be planned to achieve these goals, which were chosen following an extensive review of Council research and discussions with other community organisations.

“With this Community Plan we’re really just starting this conversation,” Mr Moore says. “So as well as hearing about the nuts-and-bolts stuff, we’d like to hear if people think we’re on the right track with these longer-term goals and about how we might improve this whole business of discussing planning with the people.” • Printed copies of Our Community Plan Christchurch O-Tautahi will be available from 5 April at City Council services centres, from the Christchurch City Libraries network and from the main Civic Offices at 163-173 Tuam Street. The Draft Plan and submission forms will also be available electronically from 5 April, through the CCC website at www.ccc.govt.nz • Cr James will host a presentation for reporters about the draft community plan on Monday, 5 April. We will send out more details closer to the event

ENDS

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