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Council adopts City Plan

Council adopts City Plan

June 30, 2004

North Shore City Council today adopted its 2004-14 City Plan, setting out the future direction and costs of running New Zealand's fourth largest city - including a billion dollar capital works programme.

The City Plan lets people know what the council's work programmes and budgets will be over the next 10 years. It explains which projects and services it will provide, how much it plans to spend and borrow, and how this affects rates.

The council received over 3,000 responses to its draft plan, with 179 people or organisations heard by its hearings committee.

Mayor George Wood says feedback from the community was overwhelming.

"We asked people to consider if, when and how we should fund a range of proposals such as accelerating stormwater upgrades, increasing library facilities and funding growth," he says.

"The community's response has helped us to identify the priorities and how we should pay for them."

The average increase in North Shore City rates will be 4.6 per cent in the next financial year 2004/05 (starting tomorrow, July 1, 2004) and an average of 4.5 per cent per year over the 10-year plan. After including the Auckland Museum and MOTAT rates the total average increase will be 4.8 per cent which equates to an extra $62 on the average annual residential rates bill.

This is an increase from the draft plan which proposed a 2.9 per cent rates rise for the next three years and an average of 3.2 per cent over the 10-year plan. The revised rates increase reflects the cost of the decisions made about each of the proposals in the draft plan.

Mayor Wood says the community gave councillors a clear steer on what is important.

"Improving beach water quality, creating better transport choices to move people around our city and providing green open space are paramount.

"We will invest more than one billion dollars on capital works over the next decade to achieve this. This includes $70m on improving the efficiency and capacity of our wastewater treatment plant by building a new tunnel and outfall pipe to take treated effluent 2.8km offshore, $88m on public transport including bus stations to complement the Northern Busway system and $65m on our sewer network."

"Every new dollar of rates is going into new assets," says George Wood.

"We're investing significantly to ensure that North Shore City's future is managed in a sustainable way to maintain the lifestyle that we all cherish."

Changes made as a result of the community's feedback include carrying out some of the proposals put forward in the draft plan. These add another $88m of capital expenditure to the budget over the next 10 years and include:

* investing $21m on capital works for stormwater upgrades and a further $31.5m on ongoing planning, operating and maintenance work over the next 10 years

* introducing development contributions as a fairer way to fund the costs of growth in the city

* spending an extra $900,000 a year on capital works in town centres

* investing $680,000 in economic development and tourism initiatives in addition to the $1m for economic development and $1m for tourism that were included in the draft plan

* setting up a city library in Albany in 2012 at an initial cost of $16.2m and about $7m in annual running costs

* upgrading and extending the Devonport Library in 2007/08

* establishing a fund of $25m to buy more coastal parkland and spending an extra $2.6m each year on funding and maintenance costs

* setting up a northern recreation centre in Albany in 2009 at an initial cost of $12m and about $2.2m in annual running costs.

Some of the capital costs of a city library in Albany, the Devonport Library and a northern recreation centre will be offset by development contributions.

Mayor Wood says the new development contributions policy means those who create the need for additional infrastructure and services as a result of growth will pay for it rather than the wider community.

"About $204m of growth-related capital expenditure over the next 10 years will be funded by development contributions rather than rates and loans."

Other changes in the adopted City Plan include: agreeing to introduce a waste levy to pay for new services such as a new kitchen waste collection; using a mechanical weed trimmer, hot water, and targeted chemicals on invasive weeds; and refurbishing the council's property at 30 Downing St in Glenfield to turn it into a community youth oriented recreation centre.

The council will also contribute $41,000 to the Kaikoura Island purchase out of its 2003/04 budget as part of a regional commitment.

George Wood would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to the City Plan by sending in a submission, attending a focus group or public meeting.

"The community's input is invaluable to us and we will continue to seek its views in the future."

A full copy of the City Plan will soon be available on the council's website www.northshorecity.govt.nz.


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