April 18 2017 by Scott Stevens
It’s that time of year again, where all your whinges and woes can finally be substantiated into something useful and submitted to the council in an orderly fashion. This week, instead of keyboard bashing and grumbling over beers, ratepayers should submit their ideas and thoughts on the council’s annual plan.
The long term plan (LTP) is a ten-year blue print for the region. This is reviewed every three years and refines policies for the decade ahead. The annual plan enables residents to have their say on proposed changes to major projects, strategic decisions or essential spending on infrastructure and services for the year ahead.
Consultation on the draft annual plan started on 27th March and you have until next week (28th April) to submit your paperwork or fill in the form online. The council plan is only as good as the information the community feeds them, so if you don’t bother filling in a submission, don’t complain that nobody listened to you.
There’s a few topics which have certainly grabbed my attention…
#1 Public Transport – I think cheap and reliable public transport is badly needed here in the Queenstown Lakes District. It requires the QLDC to work alongside the Otago Regional Council and the NZTA to make this happen. It also requires an increase in rates and parking increases and therein lies the debate.
#2 Water Quality – This is a biggie if you intend to drink water, have a shower, wash your dishes or dip your toe in the lake within the next year. Keeping lakes and waterways pristine costs money, but it’s probably quite important…
#3 Affordable Housing – The average house price is now $1 million; that’s beyond the reach of many low and middle-income families. Like water, housing is important to most human beings, without it, the region’s development will be stifled. We need affordable housing options.
#4 Congestion – Unless, of course, you enjoy the irony of an Auckland-sized traffic jam in a small town. Traffic movements in Frankton grew by 19.4% between 2015 and 2016, if the congestion continues to rise, the words ‘traffic movements’ might become a misnomer.
#5 Infrastructure – The council is planning to permanently chlorinate the entire water supply district wide to avoid a Havelock North-esque disaster. That’s a big deal to places like Arrowtown that until now has enjoyed water free from chemical additives.
#6 A masterplan for the town centre – Quirky, independent shops which add colour and personality to our town, shops like the Antipodean Trader, are being pushed out. It’s time to make a stand against booking centres opposite booking centres.
All of this, of course, comes with an increase in rates. This will be an average rise of 4.25%, so if you’re a ratepayer, getting your voice heard is a no-brainer. This is your money being spent on your community. If you’re a serial procrastinator and don’t like form-filling, help is at hand. From 7:30 – 9pm on Wednesday 19th April, there’ll be a ‘Collaboration Café’ organised by Esther Whitehead and Alexa Forbes at The Sherwood. Come along, get some non-biased assistance and fill in some forms. If you miss Wednesday’s session, fill in the forms anyway, the future depends on it.
Bethany G. Rogers