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Annual Report reviews a busy year at Council

31 October 2019

Beginning development of our Shoreline Management Plans, finishing the Whitianga town centre upgrade, launching the upgrade of 10 of our water treatment plants and making solid progress settling most of the appeals to our District Plan are just some of the highlights of the 2018/19 financial year available to see in our Council’s Annual Report.

Mayor Sandra Goudie at first Council meeting 31 October 2019

(Photo: Mayor Sandra Goudie is sworn in at the inaugural Council meeting of the new term.)

Our newly sworn-in Council adopted the Annual Report in one of its first acts of the new term at its inaugural meeting today.

The Annual Report provides a snapshot of how we delivered on projects, services and spending compared to the forecasts for the financial year made in the Long Term Plan (LTP). 2018/19 was the first year of the LTP.

“This has been a busy year with projects being completed across the District working alongside our communities,” our Mayor Sandra Goudie says.

"We've also maintained our focus on delivering the basics like roads, water services and community facilities to make sure each part of our District has the support and services they need," Mayor Sandra says.

“We’ve begun working with our coastal communities to develop Shoreline Management Plans that will guide what kind of actions we can take in response to climate change,” she says.

“We’ve got one of the longest coastlines of any district in New Zealand so that’s why we’re working with our communities to be better prepared for the hazards of coastal living,” Mayor Sandra says.

In 2019 we also began the review of our Community Plans and gathered feedback from focus groups and a survey.  The plans help define what each community values and help our Community Boards and Council make informed decisions around funding and to prioritise services and activities. The new Community Boards will pick up the process now to finalise the plans after further consultation.

Another significant project is the $16 million upgrade of 10 of our water treatment plants to make sure drinking water quality complies with the current NZ Drinking Water Standards.

The first plant to be upgraded was Whitianga’s and the Tairua plant upgrade is now underway.

Some of the other highlights from the year include:

  • Whitianga celebrated the completion of the town centre upgrade in early 2019;
  • The unsealed part of Te Kouma Road was sealed so the whole road is now sealed all the way to Hannaford's Wharf;
  • The Swim Cool Swim School at Thames Centennial Pool was accredited with Swimming New Zealand’s highest-level Quality Swim School mark – Gold. This means that our pool delivers to the highest possible standards within the Swimming New Zealand structure and that the programmes, regulatory and safety standards are the top in the country;
  • A major pedestrian safety problem was remedied with the building of a footbridge at the Flaxmill Bay ford, which means pedestrians no longer have to compete with traffic to walk across on the road;
  • The Hahei Visitor Car Park at the entrance to the village was doubled in size to give a total capacity of close to 500 parks, meaning the pressure on the streets in the village at peak periods has been removed;
  • Council received $2 million of government co-funding towards upgrading tourism-related assets (toilets and car parks);
  • Community Boards across the District allocated $178,000 in local grants and to community-based organisations that run projects, activities and events aimed at promoting and developing local communities;
  • The 72 appeals to our District Plan lodged in 2016 have had 37 appeals fully resolved, and 3 appeals have been withdrawn. A further 13 appeals have been partly settled;
  • We had 364 resource consent applications during the year compared to 331 lodged over the previous financial year; and,
  • The Building Unit has had an increase in consent applications and inspections this year with the value of building work increasing by 9.5 per cent to nearly $220 million.

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