Flood pro­tec­tion fea­ture of an­nual plan

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - LAWRENCE GULLERY

Spend­ing to im­prove flood pro­tec­tion in the Wai­hou and Pi­ako river zones fea­tures among the $124 mil­lion Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil an­nual plan bud­get.

The an­nual plan, re­leased re­cently, con­tains a range of mea­sures to sup­port com­mu­nity safety, in­clud­ing an es­ti­mated ex­tra $530,000 for de­pre­ci­a­tion fund­ing af­ter a re­cent three­yearly reval­u­a­tion of coun­cil as­sets.

This pri­mar­ily re­lates to the Wai­hou and Pi­ako rivers, which saw heavy rain­fall and flooding ear­lier this year.

There is also ex­tra spend­ing on the Waikato Civil De­fence Emer­gency Man­age­ment Group, in­clud­ing a new group re­cov­ery man­ager and es­tab­lish­ment of a new op­er­a­tions cen­tre.

A to­tal of $500,000 will also be spent on work around the Waipa River catch­ment over the next year. The work will help pro­tect wa­ter qual­ity and will be com­pleted with the Waikato River Au­thor­ity and the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

Other big ticket items in­clude spend­ing on the first stages of the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan change, for the Waikato and Waipa rivers. The bud­get has $1.68m set aside for in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and $1.06m for ini­tial im­ple­men­ta­tion costs on the plan.

The coun­cil said spread­ing of the costs of the ongoing plan change over 10 years would help it ease up­ward pres­sure on an­nual rate rises.

Other key projects in the 2017-18 bud­get in­cluded in­tro­duc­ing a new fresh­wa­ter strat­egy for the re­gion, work on the soon-to-be fi­nalised Waikato Plan for the re­gion and work on for­mu­lat­ing the 2018-2028 long term plan for the re­gion.

Re­gional coun­cil deputy chair­woman Tipa Mahuta said the coun­cil had been able to keep the rise in rates from cur­rent ratepay­ers at 2.9 per cent for 2017-18.

This fol­lowed av­er­age rises of 1 per cent over the pre­vi­ous four years, with the higher rate for next year re­flect­ing new cost pres­sures such as in­creased de­pre­ci­a­tion for es­sen­tial flood pro­tec­tion as­sets.

‘‘This an­nual plan shows that, work­ing with oth­ers, we have a strong fo­cus on boost­ing re­gional per­for­mance fur­ther whilst con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide ser­vices that sup­port com­mu­ni­ties, busi­ness, farm­ing and other sec­tors.

‘‘We will do this while keep­ing tight con­trol of costs,’’ said Mahuta.

Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan change will ini­tially have a fo­cus on the Waikato and Waipa rivers.

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