Last year’s early engagement on the Long Term Plan 2018-28, highlighted three main areas of importance or ‘key issues’ for us to focus on over the next 10 years.
This week we are discussing the approach we plan to take to the District’s key assets and are asking for your direction – spend more and make more improvements, or spend less and do less.
We provide roads, walking and cycleways; fresh water to drink; dispose of rubbish, stormwater and sewage; provide parks, libraries and community spaces.
It is a balancing act deciding where investment is needed most urgently to keep services up to scratch, plus when and where it would best be spent to save money over the long-term.
In recent years, we have spent millions on wastewater to eliminate raw sewage spills into the harbour during wet weather and while focusing on this we spent less on the stormwater network.
In this Long Term Plan, we propose focusing on our core assets and direct particular attention to the stormwater network.
We think it has been delayed enough in favour of more urgent projects in the past and we need to get on with it now.
If you would like to look at our proposed infrastructure work in more detail go, to our website heretowhere.co.nz
We have 11 major stormwater catchments in Whangarei City and 17 catchments throughout the District’s towns and settlements.
Stormwater systems manage the rain that falls onto the hard surfaces in these catchments and through a network of pipes, manholes, sumps, open channels, drains and treatment systems, they channel rainwater into rivers, streams and the harbour.
As our population grows, more of our District is covered in hard surfaces like roads and roofs. As the climate changes, there is more rain and therefore more stormwater to manage. Our aim is to direct the runoff effectively, minimise any impacts it might have on the environment, reduce flooding and prevent rainwater getting into our sewer system.
More funding proposed
This plan proposes that we spend an additional $33.8 million on stormwater renewals, which were not funded in the last LTP. The last LTP only allocated a total of $17.5 million for stormwater and we have spent $4.8 million in the last three years.
This funding was targeted towards a few urgent projects aimed at meeting or maintaining levels of service and investigating the condition of our stormwater assets.
Even with this increase, funding is still only enough for around 32% of the renewals required. We have balanced the need to catch up, with the amount we think is reasonable for our ratepayers to spend over the next 10 years. But we have made sure that our 30-year Infrastructure Strategy allows us to catch up.
We are also further investigating flood assessments, condition monitoring and capacity assessments.
Some of the Northland Regional Council rules we must follow have also changed, so we need to develop comprehensive catchment management plans and ensure our stormwater discharges meet water quality standards.
How to have your say
Have a look at our Consultation Document which outlines what we are proposing for the next 10 years. It has been created using the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2015-25 as a base and then adjusted to reflect feedback from our community, received during our early engagement phase in mid-2017.
We want you to tell us what you think of this plan, the choices we have outlined, the projects and what we are proposing. We are also consulting on changes to our fees and charges and various policies. The Consultation Document, supporting documents and feedback forms are all available on our website. If you do not have access to the internet or would prefer a hard copy, please call us to request them.