• Patrick McBride

Westland Council’s decisions on Draft Annual Plan 2020/2021

Council yesterday, heard from 15 submitters to the Draft Annual Plan 2020/2021 on a variety of topics contained within the Consultation Document and submissions.

Following serious questioning and debate Council agreed to make the following amendments to the Draft Annual Plan, which will be adopted at an Extraordinary Meeting on 30 June 2020:

Council decided to investigate a land based option for a future wastewater treatment facility in Hokitika in place of the current ocean outfall pipeline. This was supported by iwi representatives for Te Rūnanga o Ngati Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio and the majority of submitters. Work with Westland Milk Products on their ocean outfall pipeline will be put on hold in preference to a land based treatment option.

Premium Emergency Containers will be procured for Civil Defence purposes to ensure that the District continues to develop the resilience needed to look after the community and recover from Civil Defence events.

As requested by the Franz Josef Community Association and Fox Inc., the increase to the Community Rate for each district was withdrawn.

Council supported the release funds up to $30,000 from the Ross Endowment Land Fund to repair the Ross Community Gym and Squash Courts. There was strong community support for the release of the money. It was noted that Council needed to make the process for accessing restricted reserves clear to ratepayers.

The ownership of the Westland Sports Hub will be vested in Council and the insurance funded through the Hokitika Community Rate. Council considered that the Sports Hub is an important asset to the community with a lot of community time and effort invested in developing it. Council will provide a grant of $78,616.56 to meet the unforeseen costs of the project. This will be funded by rates in Year 1 of the Long Term Plan 2021 – 31 (LTP).

The West Coast Wilderness Trail will be granted $15,000 to support the work of the West Coast Wilderness Trail Trust.

Total funding of $57,500 will be granted to the Regent Theatre who will be requested to provide six-monthly updates to the Community Development Committee, along with a business plan. Council committed to including the funding in the 2021 – 31 LTP.

Council agreed that the request by Destination Westland to increase Licence to Occupy fees will not be included in the 2020/2021 fees and charges. There will be no increase and the cost of the rates on this land will be absorbed by Council.

The application from the Lions Club Hokitika to receive further funding for Lazar Park upgrades was declined. The reserves development funds are limited and already oversubscribed.

Mayor Bruce Smith said, “As a Council we have taken into account the thoughts of the community through their submissions and listened to some passionate speakers today. The changes that we have made to the Draft Annual Plan 2020/2021 will continue to support the community and allow Council to take steps to improve our services to the District.”