Financial matters  |  25 Jun 2019

Protecting Christchurch’s drinking water supply and improving the health of the city’s waterways while keeping rates at below forecast levels are the key focus of Christchurch City Council’s 2019-20 Annual Plan.

The plan was adopted today. It set outs the Council’s work programme for the next 12 months and how it will pay for it. It provides for an average rate increase of 4.79 per cent, which is less than was forecast in the 2018-28 Long Term Plan.

The Council meeting to debate the Annual Plan.

The Mayor and Councillors debate the Annual Plan.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says over the next 12 months the Council will continue to invest heavily in upgrading the city’s water supply network.

“Today we have added $1.5 million in capital expenditure and $500,000 in operational expenditure to the budget so that we can install pressure and acoustic monitoring devices into our water supply network.

“By using this smart technology we will be able to identify and pinpoint leaks, allowing us to do quick repairs so that we can avoid bigger problems like pipe bursts,’’ says the Mayor.

“This should greatly reduce any risk of disruption to our water supply. Having a safe and reliable drinking water supply is one of this Council’s top priorities,’’ the Mayor says.

Extra money has also been put into the budget so the Council can meet the conditions of its new global stormwater consent and do more monitoring of the water quality in the city’s rivers and streams.

The Mayor says there is also money in the budget to support the climate change work the Council is doing. Last month the Council declared a global climate and ecological emergency and committed itself to doing all it could to reduce carbon emissions.

“The budget signed off today includes funding for a number of projects and work streams that demonstrate our commitment to climate change leadership.

“We are in the process of developing an updated Climate Change Strategy and as part of that strategy we will soon be setting a carbon neutral target for Christchurch, in consultation with our communities and other organisations that influence carbon emissions,’’ the Mayor says.

At today’s budget meeting the Council decided to reallocate some of the $4 million that it had originally set aside as funding for Regenerate Christchurch to other regeneration projects.

“The Council will use $1.3 million to continue the Southshore and South New Brighton work that was started by Regenerate Christchurch and an additional $800,000 will be split between other regeneration projects,’’ the Mayor says.

“A large number of the submissions we received on the Draft Annual Plan talked about the need to make routine maintenance repairs a much higher priority. Today we have agreed to put an extra $900,000 into basic maintenance work on parks, roads and footpaths.

“During consultation on the Draft Annual Plan, we were also asked by the leaders of our ethnic communities for funding for a multicultural recreation and community centre for Christchurch. Today we have confirmed that we will put money on budget for developing such a centre,’’ says the Mayor.

“Options for the multicultural centre have yet to be developed although a proposal from Hagley Community College will clearly be one of the options that we will look at.

“The decision today shows a clear commitment by the Council and we will work with our multicultural communities and other funders to get this across the line,’’ the Mayor says.