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Whangarei Council urges public to comment on ten year Plan

Council urges public to comment on ten year Plan

14 March 2012

Whangarei District Council has adopted its draft Long Term Plan covering the next ten years of projects, expenditure and income and is about to call for input from the public.

Highlights of the Plan include completion of the Lower Hatea Crossing, investment in the Hundertwasser Art Centre, Council’s focus on promoting economic growth in the region and on-going development of our Sense of Place as well as a continued focus on wastewater.

Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth said this Plan is really about making some tough decisions to change the outlook for Whangarei, taking some bold steps to improve our economy and making Whangarei a more attractive place to live, work, play and invest.

“This promises to be a decade of great progress for the District and I encourage everyone to get on board and support the direction Council is heading in,” said Mayor Morris Cutforth.

“I encourage everyone to read the Plan and make a submission to let us know what you think. We need you people to think about what your submission means for the entire District and community”

Mr Cutforth said Council had continued the approach taken by Councils in recent years, proposing to limit overall rates increases to an agreed inflation factor rather than creating a list of all possible works and adjusting rates to fit.

Council is proposing to use the Local Government Cost Index (LGCI) produced by Business and Economic Research Limited to guide any proposed increase in rates. Currently the LGCI is running at 3.52 %.

“Cost is always a sensitive issue for ratepayers, but so is the way we live our lives, the quality of the life we live in the District that is so dear to us.

“During the submission period we are inviting everyone to find out as much as you can about the Plan. The summary document will be sent out to households across the District and Councillors and I will be attending local community meetings as well as holding morning tea information sessions at Council,” said Mr Cutforth.

“I also encourage people to really think about the quality of their submissions. Make sure you are talking about things that Council is involved with or has control over, not issues a government department or another Council is responsible for.

“Tell us what your topic is, and where it is referred to in the Plan and be very clear about whether you support it or oppose it. One topic I do expect quite a lot of debate over is the proposed Hundertwasser Art Centre. I need to clarify a couple of issues around this. This is the first time there has been formal consultation on this project. People have made comment in the past, but not during a consultation on whether or not to do it, abandon it, or postpone it. Whatever your thoughts are or have been, make sure you let us know now. Your comments will become part of the formal consultation process.

“If you don’t like the idea of the Hundertwasser Art Centre, you need to tell us what you would rather we do to attract people into the centre of Whangarei and generate more buzz in our economy.”

Mr Cutforth said participating in the Long Term Plan process was an important opportunity for people to take part in decision making.

“This is the best opportunity people have to take their issues straight to Council to be considered as part of the big picture. That is the upside of democracy. The other side of democracy is that every decision pleases some and displeases others, so we can’t do everything that people want.”

Members of the public will be able to make submissions on the Plan between 23 March 2012 and 23 April 2012. Hearings will be held on 15 – 17 May and people who wish to may speak to their submissions in front of the full Council.

Following deliberations and the resulting changes, the Long Term Plan is due to be adopted by Council on 27 June.

ENDS

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