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Council Releases Annual Report - ‘a Year Like No Other’

Marlborough District Council has released its Annual Report for the financial year 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. Mayor John Leggett said it had been a year of extremes.

“The highlight for me personally was the way in which the whole community responded so positively to the challenge that Covid-19 forced upon us. Looking back on the last 12 months is sobering - it has been a year like no other in our lifetimes. No-one could have predicted the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the regional, national and global economy, and on our livelihoods and way of life.”

“I am very proud of the way Marlborough District Council responded to the emergency. We worked alongside our community, key industries and agencies to help lead a path through to recovery. Many Council services and facilities were directly affected by the lockdown. Some, like water supply, continued as essential services, while others, including our many community facilities, were forced to close their doors.”

“I’d like to thank my fellow councillors, Chief Executive Mark Wheeler and our hard working staff, and the entire Marlborough community. By working together and following the health advice and lockdown guidance we helped get Marlborough through the emergency response.”

“The impacts are on-going of course but I want to give particular thanks to our health workers, the Police, welfare agencies, supermarket staff, accommodation providers, farmers and food producers, the wine industry, our Emergency Management team, Te Rōpū a Manaaki a Iwi and all of the volunteer community agencies who worked to keep us safe.”

He said councillors and staff had played a key role in the Covid-19 response.

“Through the work of The Economic Action Marlborough (TEAM) group and initiatives by this Council, we quickly produced an economic recovery plan of 60 projects aimed at offsetting the initial impacts of the lockdown on businesses and jobs. The plan brought together industry, government, iwi and business organisations, supported by Council.”

“Special funds of $1.2M and $865,000 ensured the continued viability of our essential community organisations and facilities. Free parking in Blenheim and Picton, funding a ‘buy local’ campaign and the waiving of footpath licence fees were also part of this.”

He said the Council had also recognised the importance of continued investment in Marlborough’s economy.

“Between the time that Covid-19 restrictions were lifted on 9 June and the Assets and Services Committee meeting of 20 August 2020, the Council had awarded contracts for $65.8M of new works. It also implemented a new tendering process that accelerated the awarding of contracts and gave a preference to local contractors.

Other highlights of the year included:

· Progress on the new Marlborough District Library and Art Gallery in Blenheim, with land purchased and architectural concept plans released

· The Government’s Covid-19 recovery fund decision to provide $11M towards the library and art gallery building and support a number of other Marlborough projects, including $18m towards the Whale Trail cycle and walkway from Picton to Kaikōura and $3m for Wairau River flood protection works

· The Blenheim sewer upgrade was tendered and is now underway

· Seddon’s boil water notice was lifted, while in Renwick construction began on a new water main pipeline and reservoir. The installation of water meters for Havelock and Renwick households is close to completion and in Blenheim good progress was made on stormwater upgrades.

· Developing national partnerships enabled the Council to advance a year-long study into Picton’s air quality with NIWA. Two new projects seek to tackle the region’s waste with funding from the national Waste Minimisation Fund, and LiDAR mapping of the Marlborough Sounds was extended by working with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

· In December Council also welcomed Government funding for restoring the Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment, the first river in the South Island to receive a portion of the funds to help restore priority catchments.

· In February, the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan decision document was released, marking the culmination of over two years’ work by the hearings panel, submitters and Council staff, and many years of preparation prior to that. More than 1,300 submissions were made on the plan, the first fully integrated resource management plan produced by a council to emerge intact - a first for New Zealand.

· Council awarded a new roading contract as a 50/50 joint venture between Fulton Hogan and HEB Construction, which started on 1 April. The Marlborough Network Outcomes Contract is worth $160M over seven years, and covers state highways and the local roads network, as well as footpaths.

· Work began at Lansdowne Park on the new $4.3M sports hub. The multi-code shared space building will include facilities for netball, rugby union, touch rugby and softball.

The Council’s strong financial management has been evidenced by Council retaining its “AA Positive Credit Watch”. The assessment takes into account the financial position of the Council Group, which includes MDC Holdings Ltd, Port Marlborough NZ Ltd and Marlborough Airport Ltd.

The Annual Report and its summary will be available later today at

https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/long-term-and-annual-plans-policies-and-reports/annual-report

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