Whitby takes biggest slice of village planning cake
Whitby has been given the lion’s share of Porirua City Council’s proposed 2014-15 village planning budget, with more than a quarter of the $477,000 budget earmarked to go its way.
Last year Whitby received the second smallest allocation of funds – $12,000 – but this was subsequently increased to $27,000 after the residents’ association raised concerns.
However, this year most villages, with the exception of Titahi Bay, said they were happy with the grants.
Whitby Residents Association chairman Geoff Mowday said it was the first year Whitby had had a big slice of the pie.
‘‘We’ve been talking to the council about what we want to do for two years and this year we were successful,’’ he said. ‘‘You could say it’s our turn.’’
In the 2014-15 financial year, Whitby is projected to receive $137,000 for improvements. These include adding car parking to the village centre, completing lighting on the walkway around the lower lake and safer pedestrian access between the village centre and Adventure Park.
The other 11 villages in Porirua will share the remaining funds.
‘‘I think we got a generous allocation [this year] because we put in for big projects,’’ Mowday said.
‘‘We don’t expect that sort of money every year.’’
Porirua City Council village planning manager Ian Barlow agreed Whitby had been given a large portion of the funds because its projects were expensive.
‘‘There’s no use saying we will divide the amount by 12 and give each village an even share, because no big projects would ever get done,’’ he said.
‘‘Villages go in cycles. They’ll get a big portion one year and then less the next two to three years.’’
In response to criticism of the scheme last year, Porirua mayor Nick Leggett promised to form a village planning subcommittee if re-elected.
The subcommittee was formed in November and villages were asked to submit their plans then, five months earlier than normal.
Barlow said that as a result councillors had a closer relationship with villages and more time to decide the budget.
‘‘The councillors themselves are much more involved in planning, so they are more sensitive to what communities want,’’ he said.