Bold action required for CCC Annual Plan
The Christchurch City Council’s Annual Plan continues to overlook key opportunities for revenue building, increased engagement, prioritisation and central city development, says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.
The Chamber’s submission on the Council draft plan for 2019-2020 calls for the Council to be bolder in doing things differently and identify and incorporate a new strategic approach and new financial and delivery solutions to achieve their vision.
"We are at a turning-point in our city’s journey of recovery and regeneration where our Council has the opportunity to show bold, innovative thinking and decisive leadership," says Ms Watson.
"We would very much like to see our Council position itself now to be able to deliver a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable 21st century experience for its businesses and residents, comparable to other major cities around the world."
Ms Watson says The Chamber is very aware of the unique business environment the Council is operating in but says increases in operational and capital expenditure call for innovative revenue and funding options.
"We understand the challenge we all face in the rebuild and regeneration of Christchurch after the earthquakes," says Ms Watson.
"We also appreciate that there is a delicate balance between what is best for each project and what is best for the city, as well as the need for reinvestment and reducing costs to ratepayers. But overarching all of this is the concern that the ongoing limited Council revenue base cannot enable both the repair of the city and investment in new initiatives in an effective timeframe.
"As per our 2018 submission on the Council’s 10-year Long Term Plan, we believe it would be beneficial for the Council to review their current asset base and genuinely consider all ways to increase capital, such as bringing in strategic partners for appropriate assets, or a mixed-ownership model.
"We are not yet back to business-as-usual, so we need to make sure central services are prioritised and that we are encouraging good, strong, robust conversations around areas that can deliver the most impact. This will be key to changing our narrative from a post-earthquake rebuild story to an example of a small, but innovative, resilient and courageous city."
The Chamber would like to see the following considered and reflected in the Council’s Final Annual Plan document:
1. A new approach to maximise revenue, attracting new investment partners, finding efficiencies in current spending to reduce Council overheads.
2. A commitment to developing an innovative approach to managing assets and services, including exploring capital release from Council-owned assets and developing new procurement models.
3. A commitment to new thinking and developing new models of service delivery that are innovative and encourage co-investment.
4. Increased communication and engagement with key stakeholders and the wider community on city aspirations and strategies to deliver.
5. Greater support and consideration for businesses and developers in the central city.
6. Greater communication and engagement with the local business community, including a stronger weighting given to the business voice in decision-making.
7. Clearer mandates around agency responsibilities and inter-agency collaboration, and appropriate resourcing and support.
"We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the Mayor and the Council to ensure that together we can deliver the city that our residents and businesses deserve," says Ms Watson.
For the full submission, please see the attachment.