Challenges and Opportunities

There are a number of key issues and opportunities facing our District that inform where we need to focus our energy


Growth and development

The sustained growth in property development that has occurred in the past and is expected to return in future (albeit at a lower rate) has implications for planning what growth can occur where, providing additional infrastructure and ensuring the sustainable social and economic development of our communities.

Our population is also expected to change. An increasingly ageing population in the medium term will result in shifts in lifestyle and demands for facilities and services. Retirees with limited mobility will likely increase the demand for centralised and close services. People choosing to move to the area for lifestyle reasons result in high expectations around maintaining attractive areas and access to facilities. The expected increase in the use of the Peninsula as a holiday home area will continue to place a high demand on coastal properties.


District Plan review

At the time of preparing this Ten Year Plan we are also reviewing our District Plan.The District Plan review is a high priority for us and is a key means of implementing much of our contribution to the Coromandel Peninsula Blueprint and ensuring we build a Stronger Coromandel. Please visit the project's web page for further information about the District Plan review and to find out how you can get involved.


Community makeup

The changing make up of our communities leads to questions about the long termsustainability of a number of communities. Examples of the issues raised include the changes in nature and feel of communities, skill shortages, a growing ageing population and providing associated support services required, and different expectations of services required and the ability to pay for them. The Coromandel Peninsula Blueprint provides strategies for managing land use in a way that encourages sustainable communities.


The national economy and the impact of the recession

During the recession, we saw a significant reduction in the level of new development and therefore development contributions - at a time when we were, and continue to be committed to funding significant new capital investments to
provide infrastructure for new growth.

The recession has also meant a slowdown in the level of local economic activity. At the time of writing, the impact of the Christchurch earthquake on the national economy is yet to be realised. We consider that we have a role in promoting the economic prosperity of our District, particularly during tough economic times. This is compatible with national directives which see aquaculture as a priority for the Coromandel Peninsula.


Key drivers of local government expenditure

Mandatory requirements for local government (as set by the central government) combined with high community expectations and the escalating cost of purchasing services continues to add pressure to our costs. We have a number of legislative requirements that define some of the services that we have to deliver in the district leadership, strategic planning, landuse planning and management, emergency management, community health and safety, building control, district transportation, cemeteries, water services, wastewater and solid waste activities.


Commitment to efficiency

We are committed to delivering quality council services which are good value. That means identifying ways in which we can operate more efficiently and make savings on internal costs.


Iwi relationships and Treaty settlements

Hauraki Iwi and the Crown, via the Office of Treaty Settlements, are now well advanced in the settlement negotiation process. In the next few years, Treaty settlements will be decided and post-Treaty arrangements with Hauraki Iwi have the potential to bring new challenges and opportunities.


Moanataiari subdivision


In October and November 2011, the Waikato Regional Council conducted soil tests at the Moanataiari subdivision in Thames, which is reclaimed land. The results from the tests indicated that there are elevated levels of arsenic in the soil. Since that time, elevated levels of lead have also been discovered and it has been a high priority of the Council to respond to these issues.

At the time of writing this Ten Year Plan we are yet to determine the overall cost implications that this Council and our communities may be asked to contribute to the remediation of the Moanataiari site. Mitigation remains a top priority for the Council and has resulted in additional, unbudgeted expenditure being required in the 2012/2013 year of $86,000, the costs of which are being shared by the whole District.

Remediation will likely result in further, unbudgeted expenditure being required in the future. Please refer to our Moanataiari webpage for further information.


Community governance

We have a key leadership and community governance role to play within the community. If the Coromandel is to grow in a way that recognises the needs and desires of the Peninsula, then it is critical that we provide strong leadership and direction.

We need to form good relationships with other key players as well as advocate for our district's needs. We are also looking to empower communities to achieve results themselves and in April 2012 adopted a Community Empowerment framework. We will be continuing to explore opportunities in this area and over the course of the next year we will be making some changes to align the organisation better to that framework.


Tikapa Moana - Hauraki Gulf

The Peninsula sits within the wider Hauraki Gulf Marine Park area - an area of natural richness, environmental quality, biological diversity and landscape that make it of national significance. The Hauraki Gulf Forum was established to promote and facilitate the integrated and co-ordinated management of the Gulf's rich environmental, cultural, economic and recreational resources. We are represented on that Forum.

The Forum undertakes a variety of programmes in which we are involved. It is currently exploring whether to proceed with an integrated spatial planning process for the Gulf.


Social development

The limited research work that we have completed to date highlights that there are a number of social development issues affecting our District at present such as housing affordability. We are already contributing a great deal of resource to the social development of our District; however, we are looking to take a more coordinated and effective approach by looking at all the key social issues facing our District and where we can best contribute to addressing them. In the short term, we will be focussing on the areas of youth and disability.


Biodiversity

The Coromandel Peninsula is located within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and is also made up of approximately one third of conservation land. Given the nature of the Coromandel Peninsula with its diverse landscapes, climate and impacts of urbanisation and land use, the key to protecting the Peninsula's biodiversity is the collaborative and integrated management of catchments by a number of agencies.


Local government reform


Recent local government reforms in Auckland have triggered discussion about the potential desirability of wider scale reform of local government beyond Auckland. Central government is advancing a 'Better Local Government' reform programme to readdress the constitutional status of local government, its function and structure, and how central and local government should relate to each other.

The outcomes are as yet unknown but will likely affect local government in the future. The building industry reform is also expected to impact on local government at some point such as through the streamlining of building consent processes.


Adverse weather events


The geography of our District means that we are prone to adverse weather events and natural hazards such as landslides and flooding and tsunami. Such weather events often result in disruption to our services and damage to our assets which can lead to unforeseen and often high costs to remedy these.


Earthquake prone buildings and assets

We have commenced a review to identify which buildings and assets may be earthquake prone in line with our current earthquake policy. It is anticipated that the findings from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority review will likely have an impact on our approach to earthquake prone buildings in the future.