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Council plan to drive the city forward

Council plan to drive the city forward

Changes to encourage the development of better quality buildings, earthquake-strengthening assistance and more money for cycling improvements are among the proposals Wellingtonians can comment on over the next month.

Consultation on Wellington City’s Draft Annual Plan, which will guide what happens in the city in the coming financial year, begins today and runs until Tuesday 11 March.

The plan proposes several new initiatives to help ensure the Capital remains one of the world’s most liveable cities, while keeping the rates rise to 2.5 percent for the 2014/15 financial year. The proposed increase is in line with the Council’s rates limit set in its financial strategy and local government inflation.

Key proposals include:
lowering development contributions to help stimulate growth
a funding package to help owners earthquake-strengthen more buildings
aligning several Council-controlled organisations to boost tourism and the local economy
a scheme to transform cycling in the city by tripling the budget from $1.4m to $4.3m
reinstating children’s literacy programmes at libraries.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the plan improves transportation choices; streamlines processes to encourage development; and provides better governance for our organisations focused on growing the economy and increasing our rating base.

“Since the election, the new Council has rapidly developed an economic growth agenda to help boost the local economy and we have 8 Big Ideas that will shape the Long-term Plan later in the year,” she says.

“In the meantime, we want to get on with projects we’ve already agreed to, including more shared services with other councils, completing Keith Spry Pool improvements, developing a Children’s Garden at the Botanic Garden, working with the Government on the development of the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Buckle Street, welcoming overseas delegations and implementing the first of the Our Capital Spaces projects.”

Mayor Wade-Brown says the draft plan will fund existing Council services and action in a number of key areas to improve the quality of life in Wellington.

“We’ve managed to balance the budget, keep rates at an affordable level for business and residential ratepayers, and add to what the city already offers.

“Our aim is for Wellington to be a prosperous Smart Capital with good jobs and homes, welcoming communities, real transport choices and a healthy environment, and there are economic indicators showing we are moving in the right direction.”

The Mayor says making the city a safer and easier place to cycle is important.

“Progressive cities all over the world are finding ways to get more people cycling.
They are doing it because it makes good economic and environmental sense – it gives people a cheap, healthy transport choice, reduces traffic congestion so people can get where they need to go quickly and easily, and makes these cities more attractive places to live, visit and spend time and money.

“We will really stand out as a visitor destination and great place to live by developing better on-street cycleways to complement our superb network of mountain bike trails.”

The draft plan and a summary of what’s proposed are available online at Wellington.govt.nz/2014draftannualplan or from libraries. Council staff will be at the Island Bay Festival’s Day in the Bay event this Sunday 16 February, the Newtown Festival Street Fair on Sunday 2 March, Kilbirnie Festival on Sunday 9 March, the Multicultural Forum on Monday 17 February, Pacific Forum on Monday 24 February and will also come and talk with groups and organisations if requested.

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