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Council approves 10-year community plan

30 June 2006

Christchurch City Council has today formally approved its long-term community plan. Maintaining current service levels and ensuring sufficient investment to handle expected city growth requires increases in the average rate for the next three years of 8.2 per cent, 6.78% and 8.77%.

Increases from 2010 to 2016 are forecast to return to levels Christchurch residents are more accustomed to.

While 8.2% is the largest increase for many years, for the “average” property it means an extra $1.85 a week. The recently-announced Government Rates Rebate Scheme, which sees the maximum rebate increased from $200 to $500 and income thresholds also increased, will significantly assist many ratepayers, especially those on low and fixed incomes. It is estimated that up to 30,000 Christchurch ratepayers could be eligible for this rebate. Pamphlet?

The 10 years of this plan include almost $1900m of spending to maintain, upgrade and add to the city’s essential infrastructure – roading, water supply, sewerage and waste-water treatment, waste minimisation equipment and public transport hubs. Of that, about $133m will be spent on work in the former Banks Peninsula district.

There is substantial city investment planned to ensure that as Christchurch grows it continues to be attractive and agreeable. Included is a $40m fund for strategic land purchases, $195m to improve roading and transport, almost $13m for a new indoor pool and leisure centre at Papanui and $21m to enhance the city’s kerbside recycling and waste minimisation.

Christchurch, along with other growing cities, is seeking to more fairly balance the amount that development (new subdivisions and intensified uses of existing land) contributes to the city-wide costs that growth puts on the city. However, following strong feedback from developers, the City Council has decided to wait a year until the financial implementation of its new Development Contributions Policy. In the meantime it will work with developers to refine the formulas it will use and how they are applied. Over the decade of the plan, based on growth projections, it is anticipated the policy will contribute over $300m.

At this morning’s Council meeting Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said the councillors, organisation and citizens can be proud of a plan that ensure the basics are being properly catered for but which also continues to support the city’s “active humanity”.

“Christchurch’s good name rests not on our buildings, our sophistication, or our wealth,” he said. “Our name’s been built on the firm foundation of our humanity toward one another. It’s a quality of goodness and social cohesion that we take for granted but we should not. Not all places enjoy this same sense of active community and concern.

“We must continue to ensure that this institution’s head and heart are well connected with each other. We have a proud history of social conscience. Housing, parks and recreation, festivals, sport; when it’s all added together, provides our robust sense of community.”

● The July issue of the Council’s newsletter City Scene, distributed to about 140,000 homes and businesses on 7 and 8 July, will include more information about the Council’s 2006-16 long-term community plan.

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