A 10-year budget which focuses on getting the basics right has today been endorsed by Christchurch City Council.
The budget – or Long Term Plan 2018-28 – will be formally adopted by the Council on Tuesday.
“We want Christchurch to be a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable 21st century city. However, our immediate priority has to be getting the basics right,’’ says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
“We have fast-tracked spending on our water supply so that we can do all the work necessary to ensure we have safe, secure and unchlorinated water and we are investing heavily in our wastewater network and our roads.
“We heard very clearly during the Long Term Plan hearings that people want the roads repaired faster so we have re-phased our transport programme so we can fix the roads and footpaths that are in the worst condition sooner.
“We have also provided additional funding to address road safety issues around the city.
“Submitters also told us they want us to continue with the Major Cycleways Programme so today we have agreed to bring forward work on sections of the Quarryman’s Trail and Nor’West Arc cycle routes. These two routes go past a number of schools and so fast-tracking them will mean kids can ride safely and confidently to their schools.
“We also agreed to bring forward by one year funding for the second section of the Heathcote Expressway due to the safety issues on Port Hills Road.
“We have also prioritised work to reduce the flood risk in vulnerable areas of the city, particularly around the Heathcote, because we resoundingly heard that this is what the community wants,’’ the Mayor says.
The budget also contains money to maintain momentum in the city.
There is a short-term funding boost for ChristchurchNZ and the Central City Business Association so they can implement their strategic plans.
Money has also been provided to extend, for a limited time, the one-hour free parking offer in Council-owned central city parking buildings, and to progressively develop Cathedral Square.
“We have also agreed to bring forward by two years the Council’s capital contribution towards the new stadium, which is capped at $253 million. We need a fit-for-purpose stadium that can attract major sporting fixtures, events and visitors to our city.
“This budget also includes funding for many new and existing community facilities. We heard from a wide range of submitters with ideas for new community facilities. We want to make sure we are investing in the right areas so we are going to urgently complete a network plan for community facilities so potential development ideas can be considered in a city-wide context.’’
When the Council meets on Tuesday it will formally adopt the Long Term Plan and strike rates. The average rate rise will be 5.5 per cent from 1 July. That increase excludes the $6.52 per annum that each property will pay to fund the Special Heritage (Cathedral) Grant for ChristChurch Cathedral, which the Council agreed to in December last year.
“This budget was always going to be challenging because we wanted to keep a lid on rate increases while still addressing the significant financial challenges we face as a direct result of the earthquakes. It has been a balancing act but our focus has been on getting the basics right, first and foremost,’’ the Mayor says.