Council approves 2021-2031 Long-term Plan
28 June 2021
Rotorua Lakes Council’s 2021-2031 Long-term Plan sets some “mammoth” undertakings to address unprecedented challenges and move the district forward, Mayor Steve Chadwick says.
The Long-term Plan (LTP), which sets out what the council will deliver across the next 10 years and how that will be funded, will see investment into the district totalling $749 million. More than half of that ($424 million) will be into core infrastructure.
See the Long-term Plan HERE.
During a Full Council meeting today to make final decisions on the LTP and set the rates for year 1 of the plan (the 2021/22 financial year), Mayor Chadwick said this LTP was vastly different to its predecessors and would enable Council to keep the district moving forward.
She expressed the need for Council to invest to ensure Rotorua did not go backwards and reinforced the need to continue working in partnership with Central Government, iwi and the community to achieve positive outcomes for the district.
Development of the LTP had emphasised the need to work differently and at pace in an environment that was not business-as-usual, Mayor Chadwick said.
“This [LTP] enables us to get on and get things done.”
Outside of the meeting Mayor Chadwick said the LTP set some ambitious goals but Council had to be bold and innovative to get the change needed to keep Rotorua progressing.
“A lot has changed as a result of COVID and this Long-term Plan is about mahi tahi – doing the hard work to get things done and achieve the solutions and outcomes our community needs.”
The LTP is underpinned by key strategies including a 30-year infrastructure plan which was also approved today, and strategies for housing, economic development (and recovery), community safety and climate change.
The plan has a focus on the district’s key challenges and issues the community has indicated are a priority – housing, community safety, economic development and jobs, climate change and infrastructure.
An average 9.2% general rates rise will be needed to deliver what is planned for Year 1 of the LTP (the 2021/22 financial year) with rates increases expected to reduce across the remainder of the 10-year plan to an average of 4%.
Investment across the term of the LTP includes:
- $424 million for core infrastructure – sewerage, stormwater, water supplies and roading;
- An extra $500,000 per year to improve community safety;
- $26 million committed to economic development projects and initiatives;
- $18 million to improve the Rotorua Aquatic Centre;
- Investment in Tarawera sewerage scheme and completing Rotoiti/Rotoma scheme;
- Progressing projects already underway to completion (including the lakefront, forest, museum and performing arts centre developments).
LTP targets for delivery:
- 3000 new homes in 5 years (6000 by 2030) and land available for an additional 4000 residential sections (total of 10,000)
- Two inner city apartment buildings
- Regeneration of 4 to 5 neighbourhoods/communities
- Establishment of community hubs (Eastside, Western suburbs and Ngongotaha) with neighbourhood co-creation and investment programmes for each location
- Extending and enhancing CCTV network and other safety initiatives
During the course of the LTP the council’s debt will increase by $197m but will not reach the organisation’s debt limits, leaving an ability to address new challenges or emergencies.
Ahead of approving the LTP and striking the rates for Year 1 today, Council considered a number of LTP-related recommendations from the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee which recently deliberated on the draft LTP and feedback from the community.
Council made the following decisions on recommendations from the committee:
TOPIC 1 – AQUATIC CENTRE: Council agreed to include the Aquatic Centre Full Master Plan redevelopment (Option 3 - $28.3 million). Councillors Reynold MacPherson, Raj Kumar and Peter Bentley voted against.
TOPIC 2 – COMMUNITY SAFETY: Council approved the creation of a community safety plan and including an additional $500,000 per year for the implementation of identified actions (Option 1). Councillor MacPherson voted against.
TOPIC 3 – FEES AND CHARGES: Council agreed to setting the pricing for direct benefit services, increasing fees and charges across a number of service delivery areas, including planning, Energy Events Centre, Parks and Inspection. Council noted the basis for price setting has been developed on increasing fees where there has been no increase in over 2 years and where the current funding for the overall service does not meet the funding policy. Carried unanimously.
TOPIC 4 – UNIFORM ANNUAL GENERAL CHARGE (UAGC): Council agrees to reduce the UAGC from $475 to $425 - a decrease of $50 (Option 1). Carried unanimously.
TOPIC 5 – HOMES AND THRIVING COMMUNITIES: Council approved the outcomes and action plans identified in the He Papakāinga, He Hāpori Taurikura Te Poupou Rautaki Homes and Thriving Communities Strategic Frameworkand noted feedback received during LTP consultation will be incorporated, where appropriate, into the framework and action plans. Council also agreed to the ongoing work between Rotorua Lakes Council and partnership with stakeholders and the wider community, to lead the implementation of the plan. Councillor MacPherson voted against.
TOPIC 6 – ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Council agreed to the outcomes identified in the draft Economic Development Strategy and noted that action plans will be created for each of the three priority areas. Council noted that work is underway to finalise these action plans by the end of the year and with implementation to occur across the first three years of the LTP. Council also agreed to proceed with its commitment of $29 million towards economic development ($9 million 2020/21 and $20 million 2021/22.) and approved the ongoing work between Rotorua Lakes Council, business leaders and partners, to lead the development of these plans. Councillor MacPherson voted against.
TOPIC 7 – CLIMATE CHANGE: Council adopted the outcomes identified in the Climate Action Plan and noted the action plans identified in the 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy. Council also noted that implementation will be initiated during the first three years of the LTP and approved ongoing work between Rotorua Lakes Council and partnership with stakeholders and the wider community, to lead implementation of the plan. Carried unanimously.
TOPIC 8 – INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGY: Council adopted the 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy and noted that approximately 55% of the total capital expenditure programme [of the LTP] is supporting delivery of the infrastructure strategy. Carried unanimously.
TOPIC 9: LAKE TARAWERA RETICULATION SEWERAGE SCHEME: Council adopted the design and delivery of a reticulated sewerage scheme for Tarawera and agreed that a sub-committee be set up, consisting of council officers, Lakes Community Board members and appropriate representation of Tarawera residents to jointly develop a set of criteria that lays out clear guidelines to identify ratepayers unable to make lump sum repayment at the completion of construction of the scheme and develops viable repayment options. Modelling the repayments has been based on 75% residents being able to pay up front. The outcomes of the sub-committee’s work will be reported to Council before adoption in the scheme’s capital funding plan.
Council approved the initial work to progress the detailed design and a scheme procurement process in Year 1 of the LTP, bringing forward approximately $2.5 million to provide the community with more certainty on the full project costs and the required household capital contribution.
Council agreed to bring forward the project from year 5/6 into year 2-4, subject to continued community support, more accurate costings and the clearly defined repayment criteria after year one of the LTP.
Maters relating to Tarawera reticulation were voted on as one and the motion was carried unanimously.
TOPIC 10 – WESTBROOK SPORTS PRECINCT: A recommendation to defer discussion on the future of the Springfield Golf Course “until such time as a full assessment is conducted by Council on a future sports facility that is fit for purpose to meet the future needs of the Rotorua community to go out for full consultation at the appropriate time” was lost. Councillors Reynold MacPherson, Peter Bentley, Trevor Maxwell, Raj Kumar, Mercia Yates and Sandra Kai Fong voted against the motion.
Cr MacPherson indicated prior to the vote that if the motion were lost he intended to put forward a notice of motion at a future Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee meeting, seeking the extension of the Springfield Golf Club lease under existing terms and conditions.
RATES INCREASES: Council approved the delivery of proposals set out in the consultation and acknowledged that in order to deliver that a 9.2% average rates increase is required in year one (2021/22) and average annual rates increases of 4% forecast for the following nine years. Council subsequently approved setting of the rates for 2021/22 at an average 9.2%. Councillor MacPherson voted against both.
OTHER FEEDBACK: Council noted that requests for community hubs will be considered as part of the Housing and Thriving Communities Strategy and agreed to continue to advocate and work with partners to look into options to address connectivity issues (power, internet and phone connections across the Rotorua District.
View the full LTP recommendations from the Strategy, Policy & Finance meeting at THIS LINK (p14 of the Council meeting agenda).
View the report relating to setting of the rates for Year 1 of the LTP at THIS LINK (p26 of the Council meeting agenda).
View the LTP presentation made by council officers at THIS LINK
The finalised 2021-31 Long-term Plan will be available to the public following final edits.
LTP FACT SHEETS (LTP excerpts)
Today’s meeting was livestreamed and you can watch the meeting via THIS LINK
View the full agenda for Monday’s Council meeting at THIS LINK on Council’s website.
The LTP presentation made by Council officers during the meeting will be uploaded to Council’s website shortly.