Se­ri­ous stuff, but still time for fun

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Who said long-term plans were all about in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing and stormwa­ter up­grades?

Porirua City Coun­cil signed off its 10-year long term plan on June 4, with $300 mil­lion of ratepay­ers’ dol­lars set aside for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture. Slightly more than half of that is new spend­ing, in­clud­ing $21m for the city cen­tre re­ju­ve­na­tion.

But amid the nor­mal­ity and what mayor Nick Leggett de­scribed as ‘‘belts and braces’’ ex­pen­di­ture – on wa­ter sup­ply, sew­er­age and stormwa­ter, roads and foot­paths – there were some items that will cer­tainly raise spir­its.

‘‘There has def­i­nitely been a fo­cus on costs in this long-term plan, be­cause our rates are high,’’ Leggett said.

‘‘Our debt is mod­er­ate, our per res­i­dent costs are in line with our peers and we are in good shape fi­nan­cially.

‘‘But we have to give peo­ple some­thing that they can en­joy, like splash pads, and we need to keep build­ing fa­cil­i­ties, which costs money. We’re not big spenders in this plan and we’re not be­ing prof­li­gate.’’

Ma­jor items that made it across the line in­cluded $500,000 for a wa­ter play­ground, to be built in 2016-17, $750,000 to­wards con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of moun­tain bike trails and walk­ways around Colo­nial Knob and Spicer For­est and $130,000 for a jump­ing plat­form off Pare­mata Bridge in 2016-17.

Leggett said NZ Trans­port Agency would be pur­sued to con­trib­ute heav­ily to­wards the jump­ing plat­form.

In­vest­ment of $4m in im­prove­ments to Whit­ford Brown Ave – which in­cludes pedes­trian cross­ings and a right-hand turn into The Fjord – and an agree­ment to put $1m for a per­form­ing arts cen­tre also fea­tured.

The coun­cil re­served the right to put that $1m into a fa­cil­ity some­where other than Aotea Col­lege if an agree­ment around public use could not be re­alised with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Leggett said the per­form­ing arts cen­tre money was not a blank cheque and clar­ity and strict guide­lines would be needed.

Coun­cil­lor Bron­wyn Kropp agreed that in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing was not sexy or head­line­grab­bing, but pointed out that five years ago much of Porirua’s pipes were fail­ing.

‘‘The flood­ing on May 14 aside, that’s not hap­pen­ing now,’’ she said.

‘‘We should be im­mensely proud of what has been achieved [with this plan], es­pe­cially in terms of the vi­sion and re­la­tion­ships that have been forged with our com­mu­nity in so many ar­eas.’’

Coun­cil­lors of­ten spend more time de­bat­ing the small stuff and that hap­pened with the $20,000 set aside for live stream­ing of coun­cil meet­ings.

The chief backer of the pro­posal, deputy mayor ‘ Ana Cof­fey, had her birth­day soured when the pro­posal was soundly de­feated.

‘‘It’s slightly em­bar­rass­ing that we don’t have this [live stream­ing] be­cause we’re sup­posed to be a young and vi­brant city and this will give trans­parency and a level of ac­count­abil­ity to what we do,’’ she said.

‘‘Democ­racy isn’t cheap and this [ cost] is al­ready in ex­ist­ing bud­gets.’’

Aside from Leggett, her col­leagues all dis­agreed, coun­cil­lor Ken Dou­glas call­ing live stream­ing ‘‘an in­dul­gence’’.

Other items in the long-term plan in­clude fund­ing for Te Ara Piko path­way, a Writ­ers Walk, en­hance­ment of play­grounds in eastern Porirua and bet­ter chang­ing rooms and toi­lets for Ngati­toa Domain.

Items struck out in­cluded $30,000 to­wards the Sis­ter City bud­get and $50,000 to­wards mar­ket­ing the city.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son com­pli­mented his staff, say­ing this long- term plan was the big­gest long- term plan he had been in­volved with in Porirua.

The plan will be adopted on June 30.

Deputy mayor ‘Ana Cof­fey had her birth­day soured when live stream­ing of coun­cil meet­ings was de­clined.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.