More Band-aids Or A Proper Fix For Our Water Woes?
We’re looking at getting our plumbing fixed and like any careful homeowner we’re comparing estimates as an extraordinary meeting is held on Friday for Councillors to debate the draft 10-year plan before it gets the green light to go to the public for feedback.
We’ve got four options to fix our plumbing from doing nothing (zero extra dollars) to a patch-and-hope at the cheap end (an additional $78 million) to a premium service ($229 million additional funding).
The public meeting on Friday will see Councillors examine 400 pages of detail around the proposed $3billion work programme for the next decade.
They’ll be asking if we can afford it as it could mean a 12% rates rise in the first year and a 6% rise on average over the next nine years.
“The draft 10-year plan reflects Council’s commitment to adequately funding the public infrastructure that forms the foundation of our Sustainable Lifestyle Capital. None of us want regular water outages or sewage over our lawns or streams, but these types of scenarios will become more common if we don’t address the past chronic underinvestment in our 1,700-kilometre water network now,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.
It focuses on three big areas:
· Fixing our Plumbing which includes introducing residential water meters as part of a broader water savings plan.
· Greening our Place, including the Taranaki Traverse and the Coastal Walkway extension to Waitara, planting a 30-hectare urban forest and NPDC’s vehicle fleet going green.
· Paying it Forward, with NPDC chipping in $40 million to a possible multi-purpose sport, event and lifestyle hub in central New Plymouth.
The meeting comes as international ratings agency S&P Global boosts NPDC’s long-term rating from AA to AA+, reflecting its sound financial management and confidence in the future.
If the draft plan gets the green light by Councillors on Friday, NPDC will be taking the draft 10-year plan to residents over March so they can give their feedback.