Consultation begins for Hastings District Council's Long Term Plan 2021-2031
Maintaining the district's essential assets, managing growth, addressing housing needs and continued investment in the community are the key themes within Hastings District Council's draft Long Term Plan (LTP) 2021-2031.
However, the LTP, which sets out a programme of work and investment for the next 10 years and is reviewed and talked about with the community every three years, forecasts a rates rise of more than 40 per cent over the next six years for rural areas and about 18 per cent in three years for urban areas.
Overall the average rates increases proposed are 6.8 per cent in Year 1, 6.6 per cent in Year 2 and 5.5 per cent in Year 3, followed by an average 3.7 per cent increase in Years 4-10. For rural areas, the projected increase is seven per cent for the next six years, which reflects the need for increased rural road renewals.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said with more people choosing Hastings to live and work in, managing this growth is a key consideration within the plan.
“We are focused on getting the basics right as our district continues to grow – delivering safe drinking water, clean and efficient wastewater, refuse and stormwater disposal, safe roads and well-maintained public spaces.
“Council has looked to balance all these demands while aiming to keep rates as affordable as possible We encourage our community to have their say on this plan and help us with our decision-making over the next 10 years.”
The three particular areas the council is wanting feedback on includes; Investment in rural roads, car parking in the centres of Hastings and Havelock North, and the level and pace of investment in the revitalisation of Hastings inner city, events, and reserve and playground upgrades.
Hazlehurst says the district's roads which were were sealed in the late 1950s have a life-span of about 75 years and now need to be renewed.
"These roads are essential to rural activity and our district’s economy, and the LTP is proposing to lift the rates required to improve and maintain rural roads from $6m to $11m by Year 6 of the Plan.
The consultation asks the rural community how fast they think we should carry out this work, which impacts on the costs per year."
Two projects regarding parking are being proposed in the Hastings and Havelock North city centres.
In Hastings, people are asked to give feedback on raising parking charges to help fund further development of laneways, public car parking and other inner city improvements. In Havelock North the council is proposing to purchase land at the existing New World site on Porter Drive to provide about 65 car parks.
Council is also asking what ongoing investment people would like to see in improving our city centres, as has been seen with the streetscape upgrades, upgrade of Landmarks Square, and creation of the Warren St multi-use carpark behind the Common Room.
Council is also asking for feedback on whether it should increase its level of support for events that bring economic returns to the district, particularly through tourism, and how much they would like to see council spend on reserve and playground upgrades.
Consultation documents on the proposals will start being mailed out next week, with a freepost card people can fill in and return, or they can go to www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz from today. Submissions close on May 7.