Council wants to increase the population from 52,000 to 61,000 by 2030. Quite why, when one of the most frequently used justifications for past rates increases in excess of inflation, has been population growth, and the need to invest in infrastructure to keep pace. The marketing strategy has no assessment of our infrastructure capacity. If our waste water, storm water, water and roads infrastructure, were in great condition, with the capacity to handle more residents, growth might be good. The actual situation is quite the reverse, with for example suburbs still with non-existent storm water after more than 40 years. Inadequate water storage in Elsdon, the CBD, parts of Whitby, Ascot Park and Camborne/mana. Waste water is operating at capacity as a result of insufficient investment in the northern suburbs. And some roads will wait nearly 50 years to next be re-surfaced (unless filling potholes is now defined as resurfacing). Our city population is growing at less than our natural birth rate. In other words, while we are growing, we could be growing more quickly if we retained a higher percentage of existing Porirua residents. Does the marketing strategy research those that leave and why?
Could two of the major threats identified in the marketing strategy be factors – high residential and business rates? Businesses focus firstly on retaining existing customers, and secondly, attracting new ones. If 45 per cent of existing residents have negative views about the city, doesn’t that suggest 45 per cent of new residents will in time also share similar views?
So naturally, council will spend our money on those factors that most influence positive feelings about a city. PCC asked UMR Research to identify those. The top six drivers for residents were safe, attractive, good access to health care, relaxed outdoor lifestyle, good place to raise a family, and homes good value for money.
The five least important were good cafes and restaurants, vibrant and exciting city centre, easy access to beaches and tertiary education and strong arts community.
So remind me why we are spending more than $44m on revitalising the city centre? More than double what we are spending on our worn out, or non-existent, or under-capacity infrastructure.
The marketing plan identifies three types of residents council wants to attract. Young go-getters (under 30, single, renting – looking to buy), parents (under 44, married/de facto, with children, own home or looking to buy), and empty nesters (45-plus, retired/ looking to retire, own home, married).
Are you in the target market council wants to attract? Or are you not, like solo parents, widows/ widowers, single people over 44, those looking to work beyond 65, etc? Scrap the marketing strategy, save $500,000 a year, and let the people who want to live, work and invest in Porirua, choose to do so without financial assistance from ratepayers.
ANDREW WELLUM, Camborne. Editor,
Who is the modern-day Nostradamus working for the Porirua City Council who can determine with official accuracy in the long term plan 2012-2022 that $50,017,000 will be received in rates when year 2022 comes around? Likewise, $34,922,000 will be called ‘‘income’’ when the revaluation of property, plant and equipment will be assessed in the same year.
The chief executive said these details were derived from a computer based program. The total rates income set out in the 2009-2019 long term plan for the same respective years totalled $651,702 but now the figure is $555,099. Where did the computer go wrong?
How can our councillors and the management subscribe to the nonsense on page 197 out of the remaining 311 pages of obfuscation? These forecast musings turn the 10-year plan into a farce of the first order as none of the details from experience will last out 12 months.
Little wonder the council didn’t want open questions from participants at the three recent ward meetings and only about an hour at the after-thought special LTP meeting on April 24 to accommodate members of the community who prefer a question & answer format to share their thoughts, as the chief executive now states.
JOHN WATSON, Titahi Bay. letters you refer to in your editorial in last week’s Kapi-mana News. Being politicians and real estate agents they are likely to be doubly ethically challenged, so they would view merely absenting themselves from the vote on real estate purchases involving their current or previous real estate employers to be enough.
I hope they will prove me wrong by in future providing this business to other agencies as well.
I must admit that I was bracing myself for future covert fire sales of surplus council lands. I trust any future sale of council land will be open, transparent and not favour certain agencies.
It is pleasing that apparently there is now also some reference to real estate matters in that impenetrable object the annual plan and to find in the news that Porirua council has such low debt. However, there is not enough recognition that particularly in times of recession and with growing aging population that the rates are far too high and no willingness to accept that the council obviously has the means to do something more about this.
CAROLE NAYLOR, Papakowhai. The majority of letters to the editor I received on the Steyne Ave property purchase were published – Editor.