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Kaikōura Ratepayers Face 14.75% Rates Hike

Kaikōura ratepayers are set to face an average rates hike of 14.75 percent, following hearings and deliberations this week.

After receiving 124 submissions and facing a hefty insurance bill, the Kaikōura District Council has increased its proposed average rates rise from 14.5% to 14.75%.

Chief executive Will Doughty said this week's deliberations were "relatively straight forward", after the majority of submissions were in support of the draft 2024/34 Long Term Plan.

He said 124 submissions was "a great result", after just 71 were received three years ago.

Of the respondents, 86% supported increasing the council's spending on footpaths, while 97% were in favour of the council giving financial assistance to the Whale Trail cycle way from Picton to Kaikōura.

"We had some really positive submissions around the Whale Trail as people see the economic benefit, the health and wellbeing benefits, and it is about promoting alternative modes of transport," Mr Doughty said.

The Kaikōura District Council resumed deliberations on its Long Term Plan this week. Photo: Supplied by Environment Canterbury

The council planned to invest $200,000 of capital investment over four years into the Whale Trail project.

It will also spend up to $80,000 a year on maintenance work over the next 10 years.

The council was facing a hike in insurance premiums for its three waters infrastructure, Mr Doughty said.

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"We had anticipated an increase, but we weren't expecting an 80% jump over the next two years."

Councillors also voted to increase funding to the Kaikōura Aquatic Centre from $70,000 to $85,000 a year.

Mr Doughty said the aquatic centre's trustees were working on a strategy to reinvigorate the centre, which opened in 2021, and were planning more fundraising.

The Long Term Plan also has provision to invest in the town centre, West End, in years five and six.

"The West End is the heart of the town," Mr Doughty said.

"There are various initiatives like the new toilet block and there is a recognition that we need to have a bit of a focus on it (West End).

"We need to put more work into defining what is required, but there is some acknowledgment that it is the core of the town."

An order was placed last month for new prefabricated units to replace the existing West End toilet, which is being funded by the Government's "Better Off" funding.

The council will now await a final audit from Audit New Zealand, before adopting the final 2024/34 Long Term Plan at its June council meeting.

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