Kia ora koutou
This is a Long Term Plan with your wellbeing and Nelson's future at its heart.
We live in an extraordinary location, a Smart Little City that celebrates the contributions of a resilient, creative, and diverse community. However, the last few years have brought a range of challenges that have tested our mental and physical health; cyclones, forest fires, and COVID-19. Each has impacted Nelson's social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing and changed the lives of many.
That is why we have chosen to focus on wellbeing when developing our Plan for the next 10 years. Your wellbeing is a factor that runs through all of the proposals that you will read about in the pages ahead.
The Long Term Plan highlights Council’s commitment to building effective, lasting and genuine partnerships with all eight Te Tau Ihu iwi at both operational and governance levels. It’s important that we continue on this journey to achieve a partnership of strength that will benefit our entire community.
We want to be a good partner to the many organisations we work alongside and support. We must also be guided by the concept of Tūpuna Pono (being good ancestors) and have tomorrow in mind when we decide how to act today.
The Plan sets out a vision for our City and where we want to be in 10 years. We have listened to the feedback you have given us through previous Annual Plans and pre-engagement and have tried to include the things you have told us are important to you in this Plan. However, we also need to consider rates affordability and debt levels, so some of the things you have asked for have not been possible to include or are occurring in later years.
The consistent messages we have heard include; providing support to alleviate the housing crisis, taking proactive action on climate change, providing improved facilities, and continuing our work to ensure our core infrastructure is resilient and meets growing demand. You asked us to revitalise our City Centre, care for our environment and encourage employment in our region in the wake of COVID-19.
We believe that the Plan reflects those messages. Have we got it right? If not, what do you want to see change?
What to look out for
We have identified eight key issues that will be addressed in the Plan, and are vital to a society that puts your wellbeing first: Climate Change, COVID-19, Debt vs. Rates, Nelson City Centre, Community Facilities and Partnerships, Housing Affordability and Intensification, The Environment, and Infrastructure.
Within these issues, several significant projects may catch your eye. A standout item is our proposal for a new library and the Maitai River Precinct. Do you support the library redevelopment and creation of the precinct? What do you think works about our proposal and what doesn’t?
Another exciting project is a new Science and Technology Precinct in collaboration with Port Nelson and the Cawthron Institute. A place where innovation and creativity can thrive, this would become a hub for companies that specialise in the ocean economy and aquaculture. We propose to support this project to a total value of $5 million, with the cost to the ratepayer spread over 50 years, and I am confident it will create work, boost our local economy and improve the City to Sea connection.
We are also looking at ways we can reduce emissions as part of our climate change work. We have allocated $13.3 million for collecting food waste at the kerbside for composting, pending a current trial's success. Diverting food waste from landfill, where it creates methane and CO2, is an important initiative to reduce our City's emissions.
Tackling invasive pest plants on our reserves will be another focus over this Plan's duration, with $11.5 million allocated over ten years. This combines with our plans to plant more trees along the Maitai River as part of the Jobs for Nature programme, allowing forest regeneration to occur.
We are also continuing the momentum by renewing and upgrading our core infrastructure. There is $491 million invested in transport and utility projects over the life of the Plan, a top priority at 73% of Council's total capital expenditure.
Within this Plan, there are options for you to consider and questions about what you value, but some of the work is not optional. We can't choose to ignore the impact of climate change, or the housing crisis. We can't let our infrastructure deteriorate or fail to account for growth.
A crucial question is how we fund all this work.
You can read more about our proposed rates package on Debt vs Rates and Financial Strategy. If we accept we need to invest in the future of our Smart Little City, then we need to find a balance between the debt inherited by future generations and keeping rates affordable.
I look forward to reading your submissions.
Kia ora koutou
Ngā mihi nui
Mayor of Nelson: Te Koromatua o Whakatū