Whanganui community asked for feedback on council's long-term plan

Published on 04 April 2024

Help us with the big decisions - have your say on our Long-Term Plan

The consultation period for Whanganui District Council’s Long-Term Plan 2024/34 is now open and the council is urging the community to join the decision-making process.

With a proposed 10.6 percent average rate increase planned for next year, Mayor Andrew Tripe says the aim is to strike a balance between keeping rates rises as low as possible, while meeting the community’s most important needs.

“There are a number of big, important choices outlined in the draft Long-Term Plan and the reality is that we need to make some difficult decisions that reflect the current economic environment. We want to have aspirations for our future, while also keeping rates as affordable as possible.

“It is well-highlighted that there is massive rates pressure across the country, mainly because of the three I’s – inflation, interest rates, and insurance. While originally we were looking at an increase of over 17 percent in our rates for next year, we’ve worked inside the council to find ways to reduce this to the proposed 10.6 percent – but this will require changes to some of our services.”

Some of the proposals for service changes in the draft Long-Term Plan include: the future of the Whanganui East Pool, the Repertory Theatre, the Winter Gardens, the Rotokawau Virginia Lake aviary, and ownership of New Zealand Glassworks. Also suggested are changes to the Davis Library’s opening hours, a review of drop-off points for rural rubbish – and reduced funding for Mainstreet’s hanging flower baskets and for community grants.

“When we consult with the community on important decisions, we have to state what our preferred option is – but this is just the starting point. We want the community to tell us what’s important to them, and what services they are prepared to trade-off in order to keep rate increases as low as possible. This is an important part of how we make our final decisions.”

As part of the Long-Term Plan consultation, the council is also seeking input from the community around what long-term investments would make the district more liveable and attractive, and set it up for financial stability over the long-term. The council is proposing funding for a number of big projects including; core infrastructure, the Royal Whanganui Opera House, an upgraded Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service facility, marae development, and the development of a hotel and car park that can support more large-scale events.

“While it might seem counterintuitive to be talking about reducing services to save money, and also be looking at investing for the future, it’s important to understand that these two things are funded very differently,’” explains Mayor Andrew. “Investing for the future does not impact our rates so much in the short term because we generally use borrowing to pay for these types of projects. This means the cost is spread over many years, and also across future ratepayers who benefit from the investment in long-term assets.”

Formal consultation on the 2024-34 Long-Term Plan will close on 2 May 2024. All information, including the consultation document and submission form, are available at https://www.whanganui.govt.nz/Your-Council/Have-Your-Say/Consultations/Long-Term-Plan-2024-2034. As well as online, submissions can be via email, phone or printed copy.

Elected members and council staff will also be present at the below events to talk with the community directly.

Friday 5 April
9.30am - 11.30am
Davis Central City Library
1 Pukenamu Drive
Pukenamu Queens Park

Thursday 11 April
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Hakeke Street Community Centre
65 Hakeke Street
Whanganui East

Saturday 13 April
11:00am - 2:00pm
Lorenzdale Park
70 Swiss Avenue

Tuesday 16 April
11:00am - 1:00pm
Splash Centre
220 London Street

Friday 19 April
10:00am - 12:00pm
Castlecliff Community Hub & Library
10 Rangiora Street

Wednesday 24 April
11:00am - 1:00pm
Majestic Square
98 Victoria Avenue

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