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Council today took the first step of a ten-year journey by adopting Whangarei District Council’s 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
Council staff and councillors began work on Whangarei’s blue print for the next decade in May 2011. Many hours of research, analysis, planning and discussions later, a draft of the document was presented for public consultation through the submissions process in March of this year.
“Preparing this Plan was a journey in itself,” Mayor Morris Cutforth says. “I was very disappointed that my recent back operation prevented me from attending today’s Council meeting to see the Plan reach this significant milestone, but I was delighted with the outcome.
“This is a District of over 80,000 people and around 270,000 hectares, and coming up with a cohesive plan that would put all of it on a path of economic, social, environmental growth, within budget, was an enormous challenge.
“The end result was a draft document that would bring visionary plans made decades ago to completion, see inspiring new initiatives put in place, and will also retain focus on core infrastructure, especially roading and wastewater.”
Nearly 2000 submissions were received from groups and individuals, with 186 submitters opting to speak at submissions hearings.
“Councillors read through each submission, and then listen carefully at hearings as every conceivable perspective on local issues was tabled,” Mayor Cutforth says.
“The weeks between submissions closing on April 23 and the final hearing on May 18 were exciting but exhausting and I was impressed by Councillors’ professionalism and commitment to their important task.”
In the next phase, Councillors met to deliberate on the submissions at a public meeting on 29 May.
“The difficult job of making significant, far reaching decisions for the greater good of the entire District required every ounce of councillors’ integrity and knowledge,” Mayor Cutforth says.
“I’m enormously proud of the end product of those deliberations in the final 2012 – 2022 Long Term Plan.”
Key features of the Plan passed today include activities aimed at encouraging economic growth and investment, and budgets for the development of ‘Sense of Place’ projects and the initial pre-construction phase of the Hundertwasser Arts Centre. Council confirmed the budget allocated for the Hundertwasser project and will take steps to secure the additional funding required from external sources to proceed.
Council also voted to invest a further $118 million in wastewater capital works, of which $32 million will go directly to preventing storm-related sewage spills.
Changes made to the initial draft Plan include dropping the proposed noisy sports park at Gomez Road and more funding for seal extensions, cycleways and addressing coastal erosion. An extra $100,000 a year has been directed toward ‘Sense of Place’ initiatives and financial support has been extended for a number of community projects such as skate parks, plantings, seating and other amenities.
“These changes further align our Long Term Plan with public needs and wants,” Mayor Cutforth says.
“It would be impossible to have all 80,000 of us agree with every aspect of it, but I believe we now have a Plan that will greatly enhance the life of every resident, present and future.
“With the passing of the Plan we can start doing that, and by this time in 2022 I know we will look back on all those hours, all that thinking and every brave decision and know they were worth it.”
Further information on the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan