Long-term Plan For Securing Kāpiti Coast District’s Future Adopted
The Kāpiti Coast District Council’s 20-year plan, developed in consultation with iwi partners and the community, was adopted today. The Council meeting to adopt the plan was held under Alert Level 2 COVID-19 restrictions.
Mayor K Gurunathan says the challenges we’re facing as a district right now require a bold response, and this Long-term Plan is key to securing our district’s future.
“Between a global pandemic, a growing population, issues with housing availability and affordability and climate change, we are at a point where action is required to make sure we’re building our resilience and protecting what we love about the Kāpiti lifestyle.
“Following central government’s lead and advice, we have adopted a stimulus plan and budget. We have trebled our capital expenditure programme, keeping our focus on our core infrastructure role, which makes up 71 percent of our $1.4 billion spend over the course of this plan.
“Our expanded capital works programme will deliver projects that support the ongoing COVID-19 recovery and provide the infrastructure renewals and upgrades we need to maintain core services and prepare for our district’s expected growth.”
The adopted Long-term Plan 2021–41 draws on engagement and interaction between iwi partners, the community, elected members and Council staff over the past year, and feedback received through formal consultation between 7 April and 10 May this year.
“What was very clear throughout the Long-term Plan review process is that people are passionate about our wonderful district, this was also reflected in the volume and quality of feedback we received,” said the Mayor.
“Over 700 individuals, and a number of organisations, helped shape this plan. For example, through submissions we heard loud and clear that the community did not want to pay a spectator fee of $1.00 at Council pools, so we removed this from the plan. Council also increased the social investment fund by $50,000 specifically for Ōtaki, as well as allocated $50,000 to go towards a space or hub for Ōtaki youth, to reflect the range of equity issues that were reflected through the submissions.”
Councillors, as the elected community representatives, also set the average rates increase at 7.79 percent for the 2021/22 year at today’s Council meeting. Increases will vary for different properties in the district.
Mayor Gurunathan says this was a tough one but there are good reasons for the increase, including the need to make some 'catch-ups' after a lower than proposed increase last year in response to COVID-19.
“Some of this increase is related to our proposed increased spending, but the Council is also facing higher costs that we have no choice but to pass on.
“Inflation and depreciation accounts for 6.2 percent (on average) of the proposed rates increase, so only 1.6 percent (on average) of the proposed rates increase are actual changes to the work programme.
“We appreciate the average rates increase will be harder for some households than others, and that’s why we’ve increased the rates remission fund by $50,000 and changed our rates remission policy to widen the eligibility criteria.”
The recent 2021 Taxpayers Union Ratepayers’ Report shows that the Kāpiti Coast District Council continues to perform strongly in terms of operating costs per ratepayer, ranking the lowest in the country.
“The report further re-affirms that the Council is a fairly lean organisation when compared to other councils throughout New Zealand,” said the Mayor.
“Keeping our operating costs low is not an easy task with increasing demands being passed down from central government and cost pressures in the open market.
“Council also needs to balance the need of keeping the cost of providing services today low against the need to plan and prepare our district for future growth and saw this play out in our Long-term Plan discussions with the community.
Mayor Gurunathan says adopting the plan under Alert Level 2 restrictions, reinforces the fact that we’re living in an extraordinary time and facing challenges which demand active responses.
“While acknowledging the difficulties many have faced, COVID-19 has also created the opportunity to get things done for the long-term benefit of our community.
“With this plan, we have an approach and a work programme that will see many projects and initiatives move forward. Some of these are long awaited projects and some are newer. Some will safeguard our important infrastructure for many years and others will enrich community cohesion and cultural wellbeing. It will be exciting to see these plans come to fruition.
Mayor Gurunathan encourages everyone to familiarise themselves with this plan, and to stay informed as we move through the years.
You can read the adopted Long-term Plan online at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/media/39732/ltp-2021-41-part-1-appendix-a.pdf