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Long Term Plan Proposal Agreed

People will soon have the opportunity to have their say on Council’s planned expenditure in its ten year plan, which proposes an average rates increase of 12.65 per cent for the 2024/25 financial year.

Mayor Nadine Taylor said it costs about $180 million a year to run Marlborough and consultation was critical. “We need everyone’s input into shaping Marlborough’s future and how we get there together,” she said.

Councils around the country were facing double digit increases but Marlborough’s was at the lower end of the scale.

“We’re not alone in facing increased costs due to factors outside our control, such as damaging storms, inflation, contract price increases and the lasting effects of the Covid pandemic,” Mayor Taylor said.

“However, we’re not proposing to cut services and we’re continuing to invest in core infrastructure because we don’t want to see Marlborough going backwards.”

The Long Term Plan 2024/2034 budget sees new investment in the region’s infrastructure, repairs to Marlborough Sounds roads, provides increases in some levels of service and removes the Council’s Covid rates subsidy.

At last week’s budget meeting councillors approved a number of recommendations to go to public consultation.

Key infrastructure projects include continuing work on the water supply in Awatere, Seddon, Blenheim, Havelock, Picton, Renwick, Riverlands and Wairau Valley, including upgrading pipelines, pump stations and wells to ensure they meet current needs. Drinking water improvements will continue with chlorination to be introduced in Blenheim and a new water treatment plant in Havelock, to ensure water meets national standards.

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A new reservoir is planned for Dashwood, new wells are proposed north of Blenheim to increase resilience and supply capacity, and work is ongoing with Picton’s water supply, dams and reservoirs.

There will also be investment in sewage treatment plants and pump stations in Blenheim, Riverlands, Picton and Renwick, plus new a sewage treatment plant for Havelock and a major upgrade for Seddon’s plant.

Roading is the biggest item of Council expenditure at around 20 per cent, including maintenance, renewals and improvements to roads, footpaths, bridges and drainage. The plan proposes increasing this funding by $27.5M over the next three years.

Other key projects include:

  • Marlborough Sounds Roading Funding Recovery - $234m for repairs, improvements and increased marine access, with $106m funded by ratepayers over 25 years. Council proposes to pay for repairs to flood damaged roads in the Sounds via a 70/30 split (Marlborough ratepayers paying 70 per cent and Sounds-based ratepayers 30 per cent).
  • Spring Creek - $8.7m for design, repair and upgrade of the stop banks adjacent to Peninsula Road to ensure the safety of the township and transport links during a flood (debt funded)
  • Emergency Events Reserve - replenished to its previously agreed level, at an additional $500k per year over 10 years (rates funded from 2026-27)
  • Reducing Council’s future reliance on debt by moving to fully fund depreciation on three waters assets by increasing depreciation funding from rates by $1.75m a year from 2026-27
  • Taylor and Ōpaoa rivers sediment removal - additional $800k over the next two years (rates funded)
  • Riverside Park boardwalk, Blenheim - resurface with recycled plastic boards - $493,600 (reserve funded)
  • Public toilets – upgrades at Horton Park, Oliver Park, Pollard Park and Fairhall Cemetery, and build 12 new facilities including at the Taylor River Reserve, Blenheim Mountain Bike Park and Omaka Cemetery - $1.48m (debt funded)
  • A&P Park sports pavilion replacement - additional $3.7m (funded from reserves and debt)
  • Arts, Culture and Creativity Strategy - $200k over four years to help build a flourishing creative community (rates funded)
  • Waitohi Domain, Picton - new ablutions block for truck drivers, and lease termination - $609k (reserve funded)
  • Nautical and Coastal Science - additional funding of $809k over three years (rates funded)
  • Marlborough Events Centre - $250k operating costs over three years (rates funded)
  • Marlborough Museum - additional funding for digitisation and IT upgrades - $118k in 2024/25 and $40k per year over 10 years (reserves and rates funded)
  • Springlands stormwater upgrade ‘Option G’ - an additional $2.7m (rates funded)
  • Changes in fees, including for parking in Blenheim.

You can have your say and make a submission from 4 April to 6 May. There will be public meetings and hearings - further information will be made available.

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