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Debt doubled, capital projects pushed in WCC 10-year plan

At last night’s monthly meeting, the Wellington City Council adopted its Long-Term Plan for 2018-28, focusing on the city’s economy, housing, transport, resilience and a decade of culture.

Mindful of a growing population and healthy financial position, Wellington City Council has allowed debt to double as part of its 10-Year Long Term Plan, enabling investment in capital projects, transport initiatives, wastewater and water infrastructure, social and affordable housing, cultural events and and disaster preparedness.

“We want our city to thrive but at the same time build its ability to rebound following any disaster,” said Mayor Justin Lester.

“Our 10-Year Plan is a vision based on resilience and our natural environment, affordable housing, a modern transport network, being New Zealand’s cultural capital and a sustainable local economy.”

Following 2000 public submissions and the consultations process, some changes were made to the spending programme proposed in the LTP consultation documents.

Council has agreed to bring forward to 2021 spending $1 million on planning and designing ways to deal with the predicted population-driven growth in sewage sludge. It is also looking at technologies to reduce the volume and lower the environmental impact before consents are renewed.

Also brought forward is $10 million of flood reduction work in Tawa, and preparation to take advantage of pro-cycling moves by the Government.

“Sewage sludge and flooding works may not be headline-grabbers, but they are necessary for the city to build on a sound base,” the Mayor said.

The Council is in a healthy financial position, which means as part of the Long Term Plan debt can grow from $506.5m to $1.162 billion.

The Council plans to invest $2.31 billion in capital projects.

The LTP envisages spending $280 million on improving key transport corridors, wastewater and water infrastructure.

It budgets $118.5 million for protecting the water supply, including building 22 community water stations across Wellington, placed so that everyone can be within one kilometre of a water source following a quake.

Another priority is to invest further in social and affordable housing so people can afford to live in the city. Council is the second largest landlord in New Zealand and the only territorial authority increasing its social housing portfolio.

Wellington’s population is expected to grow to 280,000 by 2043 and will need 30,000 more houses.

Around $122 million has been set aside to partner with NZ Transport Agency and Greater Wellington Regional Council to transform Wellington’s transport infrastructure.

Wellington’s title as the culture capital of New Zealand will be reinforced with $16 million budgeted for major cultural events. Council will also invest $111 million in cultural venues to ensure their ongoing future and enhance their accessibility for artists.

There will be $3.6 million spent over the next decade, including funding for community groups trapping possums, rats and mice, towards the goal of making the Miramar Peninsula predator free.

Full details of the Long Term Plan can be found in the document here:

https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/your-council/meetings/council/2018/06/cou_20180627_agn_3149_at_sup.pdf