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Council gears up for consultation on proposed 10-year budget – Environment Canterbury

The development of Canterbury Regional Council’s (Environment Canterbury’s) Long-Term Plan 2024-34 has taken a step forward, after Councillors adopted the draft consultation document.

Download the Council agenda, which contains the draft consultation document and supporting material.

This means the community will soon be invited to give feedback on the Council’s proposed work plan for the next 10 years – and how it might get the funding to deliver it.

The public consultation period will run from 13 March 2024 until 14 April 2024. There will be several ways to provide submissions, including through ecan.govt.nz/whatsthecost.

Options and price tags are outlined in the consultation document. It’s split into three sections, reflecting the core services the Council provides: Environmental Regulation and Protection, Community Preparedness and Response to Hazards, and Public Transport.

Chair Peter Scott said the proposals show that the Council is walking a tightrope.

“It’s been a real balance, as we weigh up the ‘must-do’ work with affordability.

“However, it’s now up to the community to tell us which services are most important to them and how they want their rates spent.

“For instance, would you support more investment in flood and river resilience, if it meant we had to cut back on regional park maintenance? Do you agree with a full-throttle approach to public transport investment? Are there services that you’d prefer us to wind back, if it might reduce the potential costs to ratepayers?

“What’s the cost of taking action, vs the cost of not doing enough?”

The preferred $346.3 million work package for the first year (2024/25) would require a 24.2 percent increase in revenue collected from rates. However, this would vary for each property, depending on its location, its value, and how targeted rates apply. The material we’ve produced includes examples showing the dollar impact on a range of properties across the region.

Scott said the proposed rates rise reflects the full impact of the pressures regional government is under from central government policies, community expectations and the state of the environment.

“But what we’ll be wanting to know from you is – have we got it right?

“We have limited ways to fund our work. About 60 percent of the proposed first-year costs would be covered by rates – the rest would be funded by grants, fees and charges, and debt. All of our proposed options involve borrowing an extra $16.4 million. How does that sit with you?”

Other proposals include:

  • a targeted rate to properties in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, to help improve indigenous biodiversity outcomes in that area
  • a targeted rate for the Selwyn district to help fund river resilience in that area
  • delivery of all of PT Futures’ (Greater Christchurch Public Transport Futures Programme) network improvements over the next seven years
  • a fixed-fee approach for certain consenting work.

Scott encourages everyone to look through the proposals and start having conversations.

“We won’t know what trade-offs you’re prepared to make, or if you’re comfortable with where we’ve landed, unless you tell us.”

A further statement will be issued closer to the start of the consultation period, with more information on how to give feedback.

To find out more about the types of rates and how they’re collected, visit our rates page.

 

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