Long-term Plan deliberations

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15 May 2018

Elected members will this week deliberate on feedback from the community on proposals for inclusion in Rotorua Lakes Council’s 2018-28 Long-term Plan.

The long-term plan will set out what Council will undertake across the next 10 years and how that will be funded.

Set down for the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee’s tomorrow [Wednesday 16 May) and Thursday [17 May], the deliberation process will see elected members consider any potential trade-offs in response to feedback received.

Recommendations from the Committee will go to the Full Council on 28 June for its consideration and adoption of the finalised plan. The 2018/19 financial year, which starts 1 July 2018, will be year one of the Long-term Plan (LTP).

The plan is reviewed every three years to ensure it remains relevant and reflects the direction of Council and of the Rotorua district.

Community consultation was undertaken over six weeks and was based on a document which outlined key proposals for managing and maintaining current facilities and community assets, and projects and programmes aimed at promoting and positioning Rotorua for future growth and progress.

Elected members including the mayor, councillors, Lakes and Rural community board members and Te Tatau o Te Arawa board members led engagement activity across the district, supporting by Council staff who also ran information stalls and stands, facilitated forums and workshops and presented information at hui/meetings and forums at which people were able to give verbal feedback. The Council decided to not hold formal hearings.

By the numbers

  • 1350 individuals, groups and organisations provided feedback

  • More than 240 teenagers/youth provided feedback via 18 youth workshops and forums

  • 487 people gave feedback online, via forms, email and post

  • 500 people gave verbal feedback at 15 hui/meetings and feedback sessions

  • More than 1200 people visited info stands at events, markets and project sites

Analysis of feedback on consultation proposals and recommendations to the Committee

Aquatic Centre

366 submitters supported Option 1, a $7.5m investment by Council over the first three years of the LTP for stage one redevelopments (including re-roofing, redesigning the reception area and changing rooms, upgrading the outdoor pool, adding a dedicated learn-to-swim pool and adding more play structures). This is considered critical for the community and to attract investor interest for two further proposed redevelopment stages. A further 192 submitters supported minimum required works only be undertaken, expected to cost approximately $3.3m.

Recommendation: That the committee support Option 1 for inclusion in the LTP.

Rotorua Museum

There was support from 445 submitters for Option 1, to fully restore and re-open with Council undertaking seismic strengthening, repair long-term maintenance issues, upgrade exhibitions content, upgrade facilities and replace the roof. It is proposed Council invest one third to one half of the estimated $30m cost, seeking external funding for the remainder. Option 2, partial restoration with the building remaining closed, was supported by 57 submitters and Option 3, demolition and construction of a purpose-built museum received support from 41 submitters.

Recommendation: That the committee supports including Option 1 in the LTP.

Tarawera Sewerage Scheme

122 submitters supported Option 1 – a reticulated scheme via $1500 per household contribution from Council with the balance to come from subsidies and contributions of about $19,000 per household from property owners. Meanwhile, 139 supported Option 3, to work with the community steering group to identify further funding options and acceptable early payment options.

Recommendation: That the committee support Option 1, which the consultation document indicated was Council’s preferred option.

Waste Management

217 submitters supported Option 1, to extend wheelie bin rubbish and recycling collections to rural areas, where practical, with the exception of Ngakuru, Horohoro and Upper Atiamuri, with further engagement to be had with those three communities. Another 129 supported Option 2, to extend the kerbside services across the entire district while 157 supported the status quo and did not want services to be extended into currently un-serviced rural areas.

Recommendation: That the committee support Option 1, requiring introduction of a new targeted rate for households added to the service. 

Framework for development contributions

Comments from submitters suggested infill and subdividing should be included; that development contributions were needed for growth; that developers should pay the upfront costs; that the policy should encourage higher density brownfields development; and questioned how any shortfall would be funded.

Recommendation: That the committee support proceeding with development of a policy for inclusion in the LTP.

It is proposed separate consultation be undertaken after drafting of the policy in year one (2018/19) of the LTP and that the policy be introduced in year three (2020/21).

Lakefront development

278 submitters supported Option 1 – Council investment of $21.1m across years 1-8 of the LTP to deliver stage one with partnership investment to be sought for stages 2 to 4. Meanwhile, 243 submitters supported Option 2 which is to not deliver the project, to limit future investment and maintain or retire existing assets.

Recommendation: That the committee support Option 1 with a budget reduction to $20m.

Further development of Whakarewarewa Forest

222 submitters supported Option 1 which includes Council investment of $7.5m across years 1-3 of the LTP, with one third to be sought from external funding sources, to improve the Redwoods iSite, Long Mile Road entrance and parking, followed by establishment of a hub further along Tarawera Road to create a new forest access point and provide visitor infrastructure. A further 335 supported Option 2 – to not proceed with the project.

Recommendation: That the committee support proceeding with Option 1 due to central Government funding being available and the fact the project will further strengthen the forest’s contribution to the district’s economic development and tourism.

Further Kuirau Park improvements

250 supported Option 1, to invest $7.5m with one third to be secured from external funding sources – to construct a geothermal children’s water play area, relocate the carpark and Saturday market, create a new outdoor community area, develop new toilets and changing facilities. It is proposed that further development stages include a café and event space and a youth skate park. Of those who submitted on Kuirau Park, 291 indicated they did not support the proposed further developments.

Recommendation: That the Committee support progressing with Option 1 but that funding be reduced to $5.5m, spread over years 1-6 of the LTP and that the $2m skate park become a separate project with further work to be done on feasibility and site.

Proposed Lakefront/CBD council-controlled organisation (CCO)

Option 1, creation of the development company, primarily to leverage development and future investment into lakefront developments, was supported by 154 submitters with 125 indicating they did not support the proposal. It is proposed Council contribute $250,000 annually towards operating costs, introducing a capital value targeted rate to all business and commercial entities in the CBD.

Recommendation: That the committee support establishment of the proposed new CCO

Pensioner housing proposal

163 submitters supported a proposal for Council to sell its pensioner housing stock to suitable social housing providers to provide quality housing and support services and leverage opportunities to increase pensioner housing to meet growing demand. The proposal is dependent on a provider being able to deliver the outcomes sought and it has been identified since the LTP consultation period that the proposal is not feasible at this time.

Recommendation: That the committee supports ongoing work to consider alternative models that will support the objectives and outcomes sought and notes the impact of not being able to sell the housing stock will be an increase in rates and Council debt.

Rates differentials

Council’s preferred option to hold the business rate differential at 1.72 and raise the rural residential differential to 1.0 was supported by 120 submitters while 153 supported no change through the LTP but a review of differentials as part of a separate full rating review.

Recommendation: That the committee support implementing the preferred option with a view to addressing differentials in detail as part of a full rating review expected to be undertaken during the 2018/19 financial year.

Setting the fixed Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)

139 submitters supported Option 1, to reduce the UAGC from $570 per rateable property to $500, moving a greater share towards the capital value of a property. This would see the general rate for residential ratepayers shift to rural, and would also result in a shift from low to high value properties. The impact of Option 1 would be a reduction from $70 per property to an increase of $12 per $100,000 capital value. Another 126 submitters supported the status quo.

Recommendation: That the committee support Option 1.

Want to know more?

You can view the full report going to the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee, which includes analysis of feedback, at THIS LINK on Council’s website.

You can view all the feedback received at Council’s consultation portal Let’s Talk – Korero Mai at THIS LINK on Council’s website.

You can view the 2018-28 Long-term Plan consultation document, which includes what is proposed and how it’s proposed it will be funded, at THIS LINK on Council’s website.

The Long-term Plan deliberations on Wednesday 16 May and Thursday 17 May will be livestreamed and can be viewed live or later via THIS LINK on Council’s website or via Council’s YouTube Channel

Page reviewed: 15 May 2018 5:00am