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Draft Annual Plan Released

Draft Annual Plan Released

Mackenzie District Council’s draft annual plan for 2014-15 is now available for public comment.

Mayor Claire Barlow says the draft plan outlines the council’s proposed work programme for the next year, along with the estimated costs.

It proposes a rates rise of between zero and seven percent on properties in Fairlie and Tekapo, and a rise of 12 to 13 percent on properties in Twizel. The reason for the higher rates rise in Twizel is to fund the replacement of the town’s drinking water supply and treatment plant, which is budgeted to cost $3.6 million. About $2.6 million of that will be spent in 2014/15.

Rural properties face a rates rise of between zero and five percent. A table that shows how your rates will change is included in the summary of the Draft Annual Plan on the council website.

One of the key projects in this year’s Draft Annual Plan is the replacement of Twizel’s water supply.

Twizel’s water supply was originally built by central government in 1968 when the town was established to service the Upper Waitaki Hydroelectricity Scheme. At the end of this work the infrastructure was gifted to the community for free, and this gift has helped keep rates in Twizel lower than in other areas for many years.

Now almost 50 years old, the original pumping equipment is no longer reliable and spare parts are sometimes impossible to obtain. There is a risk that this equipment will fail at a time of high demand, such as during the summer tourist season. This would cut off the supply of drinking water to Twizel. The quality of the water also does not meet current Drinking Water Standards.

In 2013, the council investigated a site on Ben Ohau Station for a possible new water source. Unfortunately the site proved unsuccessful, so council reviewed all the available options and decided the best was to upgrade the existing water supply, which comes from bores near Fraser Stream. $2.65 million has been budgeted in this financial year to start the upgrade. Included in the cost of the upgrade is $1.4 million for a new treatment plant, $147,000 for new pumps and risers, and $315,000 for trunk pipelines.

A public meeting is planned in Twizel at 6pm on May 14 at the Twizel Events Centre. Staff will be available at this meeting to outline the water supply project and answer questions.

This will be advertised shortly.

A second key project for the council this year will be to continue with the development of the Tekapo lakefront. Subdivision consent has been granted and work is expected to begin in spring. Other key projects are outlined in the summary and include initiatives to encourage tourism and economic development in the district.

Over the next month there is an opportunity for ratepayers and residents to make written submissions on the annual plan and, if they want, follow this up by speaking to their submission at a public hearing.

Mayor Barlow says this democratic process allows councillors to become aware of public sentiment about key issues and activities before they set the rates for the 2014-15 year.

Both the summary and full Draft Annual Plan can be downloaded from the council website www.mackenzie.govt.nz and are available at libraries and council offices. Submissions on the plan close at 5pm on Friday, June 6, and a hearing is planned for June 10.

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