Manawatu Standard

Rangit¯ıkei rates increase

- Sinead Gill

Rates in Rangitı¯kei are rising in the name of future-proofing the district’s infrastruc­ture, says the mayor.

The council is targeting $221m in its latest 10-year plan for capital expenditur­e, including maintenanc­e and upgrades to roading, sewage, drinking and storm water infrastruc­ture.

Mayor Andy Watson said it should help the district brace for an expected boom in population.

Rates are increasing sharply by an average of 7 per cent for the next four years, lifting to an 8.79 per cent rise in 2025.

‘‘We have never seen growth anywhere near what we have now,’’ Watson said.

Since 2018, more than 700 consents had been granted for new homes or in-fill sectioning in Bulls and Marton.

After decades in decline, recent years of industry expansion – particular­ly in forestry and the military – on top of a national decline in housing affordabil­ity, Rangitı¯kei was becoming an increasing­ly attractive place to live.

The population dropped from 17,000 residents in the 1990s to 14,000 in the early 2010s. Now, it has bounced back to 15,000. The council estimates a population of more than 17,700 by 2050.

The council was not concerned with climate change’s effect on infrastruc­ture, with Watson saying the increase in severe weather events would not impact them as it might other districts near coastlines.

The district has been hit hard by flooding in previous years, however. Part of the infrastruc­ture upgrades deal with storm water disposal. The council’s measuremen­t of success for tackling flooding is to have fewer than five flooding events per 1000 properties and to respond to events in less than two hours.

The plan also noted a step towards improving the district’s effect on the environmen­t.

Once the infrastruc­ture upgrades were complete, Marton’s treated wastewater would be diverted from the Tutaenui Stream to land near Bulls.

This would be part of the council’s contributi­on to the Government target of making 90 per cent of New Zealand waterways swimmable by 2040.

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