The earthquake in Christchurch has emphasised how important core services are to keep a district humming. Gisborne District Council’s 2011/2012 Annual Plan, which was adopted this week, is all about living within our means and delivering the water, collecting the rubbish, looking after our environment and all the other services we rely on Councils to provide.
In March Mayor Meng Foon and Council managers attended 21community update meetings to get feedback on the draft Annual Plan. “At those meetings I emphasised that this year was very much ‘business as usual’. The focus was on doing what we need to do to ensure this district continues to be a great place to live and do business,” says Mayor Foon. “Times are tough so we need to work hard to keep rate increases low while listening to what is important for our communities. I think we have achieved this.”
Those attending the meetings made 26 requests for a service to be provided such as fixing potholes, unblocking drains or dealing with noxious weeds. These requests will be resolved as part of Council’s normal programme of work. Extra funding is not needed.
Over one hundred submissions were received on the Annual Plan and hearings were held earlier this month. As a result of those submissions changes were made to the plan including an increase of $5000 in the grant to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and $5000 to help Kapai Kaiti operate the Ilminster Intermediate Pool in summer. Te Kohanga Reo O Ngai Tamanuhiri will receive $2000 towards playground equipment from Council’s existing reserves and open spaces budget.
While no new major projects are signalled for the coming year Council will continue to work on a number of significant initiatives including:
· the Tairāwhiti Navigations Project which aims to cement Gisborne as a tourist destination of national, and possibly international, renown
· design options and funding opportunities for the upgrade of the War Memorial Theatre
· rating options for upgrading the level of protection provided by the Waiapu and Waipaoa Flood Control Schemes
· working with the Eastland Community Trust to develop the Waikanae Beach area into a first class destination for sports, leisure, cultural and recreational activity.