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Increased action – or cost savings? Tell us what you think – ECan

We’ve laid out the options, now it’s over to you.

That’s the message from Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) Chair Peter Scott, as consultation begins on Council’s 10-year work plan and budget.

“Councillors and staff have put a lot of work into these proposals that will shape our Long-Term Plan. We’re now inviting you to tell us what you think.”

People have until 14 April to provide feedback on the consultation document, which presents a range of options, and price tags, for delivering the core services that the Council is responsible for (Environmental Regulation and Protection, Community Preparedness and Response to Hazards, and Public Transport).

“The proposals reflect what we’ve previously heard about your aspirations for things like public transport, response to hazards, and biodiversity protection,” said Scott.

“The question is, how much can we afford to do – and what is the price of not doing it?”

Proposals include:

  • Increased investment to improve flood and river resilience, and a new targeted rate for additional flood protection work in the Selwyn district
  • Making all core bus routes run to 10-minute frequencies or better by 2028
  • Continuing to replace end-of-life diesel buses with new electric buses
  • Increased investment to support our planning, consenting and compliance work (the main tools we have to influence environmental outcomes)
  • A targeted rate in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula to help improve indigenous biodiversity outcomes
  • A fixed fee approach for some consent applications.

“As I’ve previously mentioned, we’re also balancing the ‘must-do’ work with affordability, alongside the impact of inflation and Central Government requirements. This includes using targeted rates – so those who get the benefit are paying the cost,” said Scott.

“But many people may still find the proposed rates rise unpalatable. If that’s the case, they need to tell us which services are most important to them, and which they think could be cut back.”

The preferred $346.3 million work package for the first year (2024/25) would require a 24.2 percent increase in total revenue collected from rates.

Scott reiterated that the impact would vary, depending on a property’s value and the services it received.

“Most ratepayers could expect a rise of somewhere between 13 and 27 percent. The sample properties in the supporting material provide dollar examples of the differing amounts. Have a look, and see how your household might be impacted, or use our interactive rates calculator.”

Scott also wants people to think about the cost of not doing enough.

“For instance, if we don’t act now to upgrade our flood and erosion protection, what price might you pay down the line?”

The consultation period will be followed by hearings on 29-30 April and 2-3 May. Councillors will deliberate 22-23 May and the final plan will be adopted at the end of June.

Scott urges people to take the time to have their say.

“We need to ensure that the decisions we make represent as many of you as possible.”

 

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