Investment in critical assets a focus of Long Term Plan 2021-2031
After considering more than 700 community responses, including 165 formal submissions, Hastings District Councillors yesterday approved the Long Term Plan 2021-2031, which will be formally adopted on June 24.
Maintaining the district’s essential assets, managing growth, addressing housing needs and continued investment in the community were the overriding priorities of the draft plan that was consulted on between April and May this year.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst thanked everyone who gave feedback on the plan, which helped inform councillors as they heard from submitters and deliberated on the plan over two days this week.
“The fundamental basis of this plan was our continued investment in our core infrastructure to support delivering water, waste and roading services.
“Last year’s rates increase was 1.9 per cent as we did not know what the future would look like and how COVID would impact on jobs for the community. This year, we are returning to asset renewals and finishing off our drinking water infrastructure work, and we have asked officers to come back with a rate increase under seven per cent.”
She said there were many wonderful projects the community requested funding for, which were considered carefully.
“Unfortunately we can’t fulfil all of these aspirations immediately – councillors are very aware that many of our community are on fixed incomes and we have to be mindful of the rates burden.”
Three key issues were identified during consultation, and in general there was support for the proposals in the community feedback received.
One was rural roads, and the need to address the fact many were nearing the end of their lifespan and requiring renewals.
Mrs Hazlehurst said council was very aware of the importance of roading to the rural community for the vital role it played in the region’s economy, providing efficient means of transportation for goods and produce.
Council agreed to fund this necessary investment over the next six years as outlined in its consultation document, and based on the feedback received that the work was necessary.
Parking was another issue highlighted in the consultation and after hearing from the community council agreed to adopt the proposed car parking fee rises in Hastings, from 50c for off-street parking to $1.50, and from $1 for on-street parking to $2. This increase would help fund continued redevelopment of the CBD, particularly the installation of additional laneways with better access to parking facilities.
There was also a proposal during consultation that the targeted car parking rate for Havelock North be increased to help finance the purchase of part of the Havelock North New World site to provide more car parking spaces.
Given the uncertainties over timing of when the supermarket site would become available, along with rising property prices, however, it was considered that the targeted rate could not be increased for the land purchase at this time, and that it could be considered again in the future.
Instead, council adopted a small increase in the Havelock North targeted parking rate from $23 to $30 for residential properties, and from $69 to $90 for commercial properties (to cover the basic costs associated with parking enforcement), and would continue to investigate solutions to the ever-increasing need for car parking in the suburb.
Council also agreed to continue investing in the city centre to complete the enhancements and upgrades that had been taking place over the last few years, but not to pursue anything new and ambitious without further consultation with the community.
Mrs Hazlehurst said the feedback from the community was that people were excited to see the progress and wanted to see more, and part of the plan was to bring forward the work planned for upgrades on Market and King Streets.
She noted the Hastings Youth Council’s submission that highlighted the younger generation’s call for more people to be living in the inner city and corresponding work to be undertaken to it make it safer and more pedestrian-friendly.
The final budget will come back to council on June 24 to be ratified and the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 adopted.