The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has today formally adopted its Long Term Plan 2021-31. The plan sets the course for a further step up in the environmental work accelerated in 2018.
The new chair of the Regional Council Rick Barker says this triggers the start of an exciting new work programme and reinforces the commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change.
The Regional Council will invest an extra $10.5 million on the services it delivers to the Hawke’s Bay region and $14.7 million on infrastructure and capital projects in 2021-22.
Chair Barker says Hawke’s Bay has a legacy of issues where the environment has seen too little investment for too long, and the community has let them know that protecting and restoring the natural environment is an urgent priority.
The focus of increased capital expenditure is upgrades to the region’s flood protection assets for greater climate change resilience, as well as further development of regional parks and cycleways.
Increased operating expenditure supports stronger action on freshwater, including science, planning and community engagement on a region-wide freshwater plan.
The plan enables greater compliance monitoring of new freshwater regulations, and more funding to protect threatened regional biodiversity. A total of 23 new staff are funded this year to increase the service delivery for the Hawke’s Bay’s environment.
“We are being courageous and facing up to the big environmental issues facing our region now, rather than leaving them for another generation. This Long Term Plan is a real investment in our future,” he says.
As well as this, six new projects that were consulted on were confirmed. They are:
The plan will see an overall rate increase of 19.5% for the 2021-22 year. This year’s total rate increase comes from deferring last year’s rate increase due to COVID-19 (8.5%) and this year’s rate increase of 11%.
“We acknowledge this appears to be a big increase, but it’s coming off a low base and several decades of under-investment. On average, it means a weekly increase of around $0.94 cents for residential, $3.60 for commercial and $4.49 for rural ratepayers, noting that rating affects each property differently,” says Chair Barker.
The increase in investment in the Long Term Plan takes advantage of funding already secured from the Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package and the Provincial Growth Fund.
A total of 791 public submissions were received on the Long Term Plan. It will be available on the Regional Council’s website from Saturday.
Visit hbrc.govt.nz for more information.
30 June 2021
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