Committee Agrees to Draft Long-Term Plan Changes

22 June 2009

Wellington City Council's Strategy and Policy Committee last week considered its draft Long-Term Council Community Plan in light of community feedback and recent funding requests - agreeing on a plan that is likely to mean an average real rates increase for 2009/10 of 3.24 percent.

The long-term plan - which still has to be finalised at a Council meeting next Monday 29 June - has been developed over the last eight months. It contains detailed plans for the next three years and a guide for the following seven.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the Council's draft plan presented a balanced approach designed to keep the average real rates increase below 4 percent but maintain spending at a level that would allow Wellington to retain its edge as well as providing the essential services that Wellingtonians depend on.

"We were very conscious that the challenging economic times are affecting Wellington ratepayers and businesses, that there is concern about jobs and finances, and that we needed to keep any rates rise to an affordable level," she says.  "At the same time we believed it was important to continue to invest in the events and projects that make Wellington such a great place to live, visit and do business in."

To be internationally competitive, she says the city must be vibrant, easy to get around, able to meet the needs of a growing population and protective of the coastal and outdoor areas that help make it so special.

Mayor Prendergast says the Council has appreciated the suggestions and feedback that Wellingtonians have provided over the last few months - both through the new, less formal channels like the online discussions and phone hotline - and the more recent submission process.

Some changes were agreed last week following feedback and the Committee has also agreed - subject to final confirmation on 29 June - to provide some of the additional funding requested by groups and organisations during the consultation. These include:

  • providing - subject to several conditions - up to $450,000 to meet half the costs of a detailed feasibility study on the proposed new marine education centre at the old Maranui depot site in Lyall Bay
  • providing up to $12.5 million to acquire land needed to widen and upgrade the Adelaide Road corridor.  It is expected that just over half of these costs will be met by the New Zealand Transport Agency and that development contributions will fund a further portion. The detailed design of the road corridor has yet to be determined.
  • allocating $50,000 of grants funding each year until 2019 to ensure there is a continued web presence for Wellington City community organisations
  • $50,000 a year to support Matariki and other Māori cultural celebrations and events
  • providing - subject to a long list of conditions - $250,000 as a contribution to the establishment of a wet hostel in Wellington
  • a plan to spend $812,500 in 2010/12 developing outdoor recreation and community space at the proposed new primary school in Churton Park. The Ministry of Education recently bought reserve land from the Council for this amount to develop the primary school and will work with Council staff to ensure the design includes facilities for wider community use.
  • providing $250,000 in 2009/10 and $500,000 each year after that to help improve the city's cycle and walking network. Projects likely to benefit from this include the proposed Great Harbour Way, Porirua to Tawa streamside walkway, Middleton Road and routes from the South Coast to the central city.
  • an additional $200,000 a year for the next three years to the International Festival of the Arts. This will boost annual funding to $950,000 and help the festival meet increased costs.
  • $75,000 in the coming financial year to assist in the establishment of a new trust (the Creative Capital Trust) that will have responsibility for organising the Cuba Street Carnival and Fringe Festival and potentially act as an umbrella organisation for other arts groups
  • providing additional funding (subject to a number of conditions) of $2.576 million over three years ($500,000 in 2009/10 and $1.038 million in 2010/11 and 2011/12) to Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) for a marketing campaign to get more Australians visiting the city. The increase - to be paid by central city property owners through the Council's downtown levy - will only be provided if matching private sector and Government funds can be secured. PWT aims to use the Council's promise of funding to help it secure an additional $3 million a year from the private sector and the Government.

The Committee agreed to the revised draft long-term plan confirming funding and support for a large number of projects and initiatives. These include the indoor community sports centre, plans to alter Manners Mall and lower Cuba Street and to improve the traffic flow at the Basin Reserve.