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Community Shapes the Course of District’s Future

Orewa, 22nd June 2006.

Community Shapes the Course of District’s Future

After more than 1200 public submissions and weeks of deliberations and debate, Rodney District Council today adopted its Long Term Plan 2006-2016 by an overwhelming majority of nine to three.

Rodney’s mayor, John Law, says he is pleased but not surprised at the amount of public and Council support and input into the plan.

“This is the most submissions we have ever had on a Long Term Plan and the changes made as a result of public interest have created a robust 10 year plan that reflects community aspirations as well as the required functions of a local council.

“The Long Term Plan is the single most influential way, outside of elections, the community has to help shape the course of Rodney’s future, and they have embraced that enthusiastically, Mr Law says.

“The result is something like 400 pages and four volumes, of community ideas, suggestions and Council intentions, all of which have been carefully scrutinised and given the green light of an Unqualified Audit Opinion by Audit New Zealand.”

Chief executive officer, Vijaya Vaidyanath, also pays tribute to the level of public participation, saying that it had a “significant” bearing on the final form of the plan.

The single biggest issue raised was Penlink. The bridge across the Weiti River to Whangaparaoa Peninsula received 664 of the 1211 submissions, with 92% in favour of the project. That is an overwhelming endorsement for the project, which council would certainly be taking to central government, Ms Vaidyanath says.

Other issues included general roading, the implementation of Vision Rodney and improvements to three waters—storm, waste and supply.

Ms Vaidyanath says that submissions on the original draft plan resulted in a further increase on capital expenditure on roads (up $5.5 million), water supply ($0.6 million) and wastewater (up $0.5 million) over the next 10 years.

“Putting all that into practice will be a challenge with our limited rating base,” says Ms Vaidyanath. “But we now have our blueprint for the future agreed to by the community and Council and it’s our job now to turn it into reality.”

The rates impact in year one of the plan will be an increase of around 8.5%, including 3.6% for inflation, for households not connected to water and wastewater services, and a 10.2% average over the district.š Individual property rates will depend on the property’s valuation and its connection to services.

The council’s director of finance and business, Kevin Ramsay, said that the main reasons for the rate increases were inflation, the impact of interest and depreciation and external factors such as museum levies, construction costs, power charges and legislative requirements.

The Long Term Plan 2006-2016 will become operative on 1 July 2006. Copies are available at all council offices, libraries and service centres, or on the council’s website www.rodney.govt.nz

ENDS

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