Community Programmes Earn Support

Ratepayer spending on youth, environment and our libraries gained significant backing from the Hurunui community during submissions on the Council’s 2011/12 draft Annual Plan.

Submitters strongly supported the proposed upgrading of the existing library software used in all of our staffed libraries to manage library information relating to resources, customers usage and stock.

As a result, councillors approved $30,000 in next year’s budget to upgrade the library software system which, Mayor, Winton Dalley, says has now passed its ‘use by date’.

“Library software has advanced significantly since the old software was purchased in the 1990’s and investing in new software as part of a joint procurement exercise with other council’s libraries will ensure our libraries are modernised at a competitive price.”

There was also strong community support amongst submissions for the retention of the biodiversity and youth programmes initiated with government funding two and three years ago respectively.

The Hurunui Youth Programme, which is designed for 12 – 18 years old’s, is about getting young people together for activities that have a social, educational and skill based mix.

“HYP has been very popular with the district’s young people and their parents and it is no surprise to see our community support our desire to have it continue, with or without government funding.”

While the Council is still seeking continued government support for HYP, it is now also budgeting to pick up the $35,000 annual cost, should it need to take over the funding itself.

An additional $11,000 of ratepayer money is also being channelled into supporting the government funded biodiversity programme, which has been in place for the past 24 months following the appointment of a part time biodiversity ambassador.

The consideration of submissions also resulted in the Council deciding to make a one-off grant of $30,000 to the Hanmer Springs Forest Camp Trust to assist it with connecting an upgraded sewerage system with the Council’s system. The money will be allocated this financial year.

Mayor Dalley says the Council was also broadly supportive of submissions from the Cheviot Ward requesting a new or upgraded toilet block at Cheviot Hills Domain.

“Council sees this as a priority for Cheviot’s share of reserve funding allocated through Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools surpluses. Council has decided to double the annual one-off monetary allocations that it has been giving to the six different Hurunui areas for upgrading local reserves.”

The draft Annual Plan is due for adoption at the end of June. An overall rates increase for the district of 3.6% has been agreed.

In making its recommendation on spending for the next 12 months the Council considered 66 submissions from the community. 26 presented their submissions in person.

Because affordability was top of mind the Council did not support a number of requests.

These included calls from some submitters to change weightings and broaden non-price attributes when tendering work.

Mayor Dalley says the Council already has some discretion to award work to local contractors even where pricing may be more expensive, but it has unanimously confirmed it expects local contractors to competitively price in order to obtain work.

Council officers will, however, be asked to bring up relevant tendering policies for review as part of the work now underway on prepaing the Council’s next Long Term Plan.

The North Canterbury Radio Trust’s request for a $30,000 grant to install broadcast repeaters at Wallace Peak and Beltana was also not supported, though the Council will look to make appropriate use of the radio station within existing communications budget levels.

No funding for progressing either the proposed Waipara or Culverden sewerage systems has been included in the 2011/12 year. The Council has instead opted to wait and see if growth related projects, particularly in Waipara, begin to advance before reconsidering these schemes.

A number of submitters requested workshops with Council on the way forward with waste.

The Council agreed to carry out consultation through the review of its Solid Waste Management Plan later this year.

The Waste Education budget has been confirmed and prioritised by Council and includes support of home composting.

The Council will continue to investigate options for moving the Amberley Transfer Station and Recycling Yard and will consult with affected parties and the public as soon as it secures a suitable site.

 

For further information contact:

Winton Dalley

Mayor

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 314 0011