Mayor Foster and City Councillors yesterday unanimously approved the 2020-21 Council Annual Report – and Mayor Foster said the Council had “achieved a remarkable amount” despite the impact of the pandemic on the organisation and the city.
“I want to say a big thank you to staff who had to rework budgets, operate services in lockdown conditions and in many cases completely change their priorities and their working days. It was an exhausting year but everyone should be proud how we got through it.”
Councillor Diane Calvert, Chair of the Council’s Pūroro Tahua Finance and Performance Committee, said 2020-21 had been a difficult year.
“But despite the challenges, our financial position remains healthy. We were able to achieve operational savings resulting in a better-than-planned surplus of $7.5 million which has been used to reduce operational debt. This was despite significant pressures caused by the loss of revenue from the likes of our venues and the Council’s shareholding in Wellington International Airport Ltd.
“COVID-19 impacts and a constrained construction market resulted in just 74% of the capital programme being completed however we were able to undertake significant investment in our three-waters network totalling $55.7 million - 21% of our achieved budget.
“From a performance perspective we recognise there is further improvements required in the three-waters area, consenting, parking and residents’ satisfaction in how the Council makes decisions,” said Cr Calvert.
Mayor Foster said highlights for the year for him included:
- The COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery plan.
- Responding vigorously to the challenges from wastewater pipe failures, including the Mayoral Taskforce on Three Waters, Wellington Water undertaking extensive condition assessment of water assets, several major repair and replacement projects, and a significant lasting increase in the water infrastructure renewals budget
- Events like Downtown Shakedown, the Wellington Phoenix’s victorious return home, Van Gogh Digital Nights exhibition and the big street parties of CubaDupa and the Newtown Festival.
- Progress on key infrastructure projects including approving and starting construction of the city’s biggest water reservoir, Omāroro, and repairs to the Ngaio Gorge slip sites. Complex seismic strengthening work at the Town Hall and St James Theatre progressed, as did construction of Tākina, our exhibition and convention centre.
- We also completed community engagement for our Central Library, with detailed design now well advanced.
- Adoption of the new Spatial Plan to guide where and how Wellington’s housing and infrastructure will grow to accommodate the 50,000 to 80,000 new residents expected in the next 30 years.
- Development of, consultation on and adoption of the most ambitious Long-term Plan in the City’s history to address the big challenges and big opportunities for our city.
Find the draft 2020/21 Annual report here. The final full report will be available mid-November.