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QLDC to Consider Draft Ten Year Plan This Week

QLDC to Consider Draft Ten Year Plan This Week

Tuesday 6 March 2018

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will be asked to adopt a bold draft Ten Year Plan that contains a work programme and investment almost three times the size of any plan in the Council’s history.

The draft plan, which must be produced every three years, proposes significant investment in a bold capital works programme coming in at a cost of close to a billion dollars over the next decade.

QLDC Mayor Jim Boult said the massive task over the past year has been to produce a plan that addresses the significant resident and visitor growth challenges but at the same time delivers a plan the community can afford.

“Our growth challenge is significant and for that reason we are faced with a plan that will see almost a billion dollars invested over the next ten years. Every which way you look at this we have had to play catch up and we now have to make sure that the level of capital investment gets us back ahead of the game.”

“The peak day population in 2028 is forecast to be almost 150,000. Not only are we planning to be ready for that, our vision is that in ten years’ time, living in and visiting this district must be better than it is today.”

No-one needs to be told that the growth in visitors was our single biggest challenge. “The ratio of residents to international visitors in our district is 1 to 34, the ratio in Auckland is 1 to 1. We have put up an affordable plan but we are saying clearly and loudly to Central Government that our residents cannot continue to sustain the cost of visitor growth”.

“To make sure this draft plan remains affordable, we’re leveraging every possible tool we have available to us including a new credit rating, debt, land sales and assumptions around government funding. With such a comprehensive programme proposed, it’s inevitable that we’ll be facing a rates increase. ”

“The challenge is making sure we can apply those rates increases in a way that’s fair. The Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan project is an example of where we can target some of the cost of this significant investment to those who benefit most from the work.”

Many growth councils are facing rate hikes in the double digits.

“We’ve worked damn hard to make sure we do not overly burden our ratepayers but we also know our ratepayers expect the traffic to get better, water to keep flowing out of taps and community facilities to stay open. The reality is that with exponential growth, the delivering of these basic expectations comes with a cost.”

The draft plan proposes an average 6.95% rates rise for 2018-19 and an average rates increase of 3.5% over the ten year life of the plan. The individual rate for each property type will differ.

Following adoption, a consultation document will be made available which sets out the proposed ten year programme of work, information about the financial affordability and rates impact of Council’s preferred options.

Also within that document, there is information about six big issues that the Council would like community feedback on, as well as encouraging the community to have their say on any aspect of the draft plan:

· A programme of work to deliver the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan (including a new arterial, parking buildings and transport hub).

· How the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan could be funded.

· Funding of Project Connect (one Council office) and Libraries.

· A new Masterplan for Wanaka (including Active Travel and the Lakefront Upgrade).

· A major capital programme to meet the Government Drinking Water quality standards.

· Options for funding small communities’ water needs.

“We have put up a bold plan because we have reached the position that we have no choice but to invest heavily in this district but our community has a choice and we have clearly outlined the options for each key issue. Our firm hope is that the community will engage on this draft plan and give us informed feedback.”

The Council will vote to start public consultation on the draft Ten Year Plan for the district at its meeting this Friday.

Full details will be available on the QLDC website and public consultation will start on 12 March, closing 13 April. Events are being held throughout the district where the community can engage with Councillors and QLDC staff on any aspect of the draft plan, and details can be found on the QLDC website.

ENDS

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