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Council Vision Of ‘liveability’ Guides Waikato District’s Rapid Growth

Waikato District Council has undertaken a series of major initiatives in the past year to guide the district’s continuing rapid growth and to create liveable communities for the future says Mayor Allan Sanson.

In the Council’s Annual Report adopted this week, Mr Sanson says Waikato district was one of the fastest-growing districts in the country measured by new dwelling consents (with consents processed up 39.4% year on year), and that this brought considerable challenges and a heavy workload.

He highlighted the importance of the Council’s vision of ‘liveable, thriving and connected communities’ that underpinned the initiatives the Council had taken to guide this growth and the way the Council worked.

“We are proud that some of our most widely-used services recorded customer satisfaction levels of 80% or more including our libraries, parks and reserves, solid waste and recycling services, and wastewater services.”

Among some of the major initiatives undertaken in the past year, Mr Sanson says the Council has:

  • Adopted a Long Term Plan that advances many of the top priorities identified by the community to meet social, economic and environmental needs over the next 30 years,
  • Progressed the Proposed District Plan (PDP) offering a new spatial vision for community development, and pioneered videoconferencing for the PDP hearings making participation easier for submitters,
  • Worked with neighbouring councils and other agencies to manage growth throughout the ‘Hamilton-Auckland corridor’ and to advance the Waikato Housing initiative to address housing challenges in the region,
  • Secured $11.3 million from the Government’s post-COVID-19 stimulus funding package to accelerate work on wastewater, stormwater and water supply services,
  • Completed the third year of a $9 million-plus scheme of safety improvements on the district’s roading network which attracted an enhanced NZTA Waka Kotahi subsidy, saving more than $2.5 million over the full three years,
  • Approved the creation of Maaori wards for the 2022 and 2025 local government elections.
     

Other success stories in the past year included:

  • Diverting 6,568 tonnes of refuse from landfill,
  • Refurbishing the Tuakau library and re-roofing the Huntly Grandstand,
  • Building the Huntly rail platform for the Te Huia passenger train service to Auckland,
  • Committing grants totalling more than $700,000 from Council-owned or administered funds for distribution to 155 organisation in the district.
     

Mr Sanson says the Council continued to work to attract new business to the district in the interest of balanced growth and the provision of local employment opportunities. Major developments in the past year included a rezoning application for a $1.2 billion Sleepyhead manufacturing and residential development at Ohinewai, which was approved by a panel of independent commissioners.

He says the Council also worked hard to set rates and debt levels that balance affordability with the need to provide for a growing community.

Average rates per rateable property were $3,256.30 for 2020/21 and average debt per rateable property is $2,720.35.

“This is 61 per cent below our debt servicing limit, offering capacity for funding services and facilities as needed for the future.”

The Annual Report and Annual Report Summary are now available on our website at: Annual Report (waikatodistrict.govt.nz)

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