Key issues and new projects
This page describes a selection of any major changes or updates to activity areas since the LTP 2012-22 was adopted. For full details please refer to the full draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Statement of Proposal and the LTP 2012-22.
Bridge Street Enhancement
Work is underway in 2013/14 to make improvements to the look and feel of Bridge Street, between Trafalgar Street and Collingwood Street. Good quality public spaces are important in achieving a vibrant CBD that provides public amenity and safety. Council has included an additional $200,000 in the draft Annual Plan for 2014/15 to address issues of daytime amenity.
This is part of an ongoing effort, in collaboration with the Bridge Street business community, to make a positive change in this part of the city.
Stoke/Greenmeadows Community and Sports Facility
During the development of the Long Term Plan 2012-22, Council considered the building of shared community and sports facilities at Greenmeadows, Stoke, for $2 million. Funding was not included in the LTP, but Council did agree in principle to make land available for the development. It is important that our suburban communities are revitalised. Work has started in 2013/14 to identify the current and future needs of residents in Stoke. This will ensure that the development is what the people of Stoke want. The Council has set aside $200,000 in 2014/15 to fund further investigation and design for a community and sports facility with construction planned for the following year.
Concerns have been raised about the impact of the Nelson Air Quality Plan on woodburner use. While there have been great gains made in Nelson’s air quality over the last decade, through significant investment by Council and the community, it is timely to review the current approach to woodburners. Council is working with the Ministry for the Environment and gathering information through modelling. This work will be reported back to Council as soon as possible. The Resource Management Act 1991 places considerable restrictions on how we can make changes to the rules and the modelling work is an important step in progressing change.
The Maitai River is a significant natural feature of the city and is highly valued by the Nelson community. Council recognises the importance of improving the river’s water quality and is proposing $400,000 be set aside in 2014/15 for projects to improve the river’s health, $200,000 of which is new capital funding and $200,000 operating funding transferred from other budgets. This is an investment in some immediate steps to restore natural values and function in the Maitai River.
Ongoing Impact of Emergency Rainfall Events
Nelson had two extreme rainfall events in December 2011 and April 2013 resulting in significant damage to some of the city’s infrastructure (both public and private) and subsequent recovery costs. In the LTP 2012-22 Council established a Disaster Recovery Fund contributing $500,000 in Year 1 and adding $1 million each year after that. The purpose of the fund is to be ready for future events and to assist with a rapid recovery. As a result of the 2013 event an additional $698,000 was added in Year 2. The December 2011 rainfall event is now projected to cost Council $9.5 million over four years, compared to the $5.5 million estimated in the LTP 2012-22. This shortfall in the estimated costs reflects the timing of the preparation of the LTP 2012- 22, as it was early on in the recovery planning. The April 2013 rainfall event is projected to cost $1.2 million, of which $720,000 is funded through the Disaster Recovery Fund.
The Disaster Recovery Fund is funded through general rates so that all ratepayers contribute. As a result of these two extreme rainfall events the Disaster Recovery Fund has borrowed money and will not start accumulating funds until Year 9. For this reason the Council is proposing to set aside an additional $500,000 in the Annual Plan 2014/15, to help meet the projected costs of the 2011 and 2013 events sooner and eventually start to accumulate funds for future events by year 8.
Stormwater and Flood Protection
Flooding from intense rainfall events have serious and long term impacts when services are not in place or able to cope. Improving stormwater and flood protection is a focus of this year’s plan. Additional expenditure
is planned for Orphanage Creek and Saxton Creek in 2014/15 with further stages planned for following years.
Delivery of Capital Programme
An allocation of $120,000 has been provided in 2014/15, and $240,000 annually thereafter, to provide increased resource for delivering an additional capital works programme each year. This is to help the Council get back on track with its planned capital works programme following resources being directed to recovery works after the emergency rainfall events in 2011 and 2013.
Property Assets Review
We have set aside $100,000 for a comprehensive review of Council owned properties to better understand why they are being held and to inform decision-making on future land use. The value of property in this category is approximately $77m (excluding road reserve). This substantial group of assets needs more oversight.
The Trafalgar Centre has been identified as an earthquake prone building and was closed in December 2013 to manage the risk to public safety. Strengthening options are still being assessed and reviewed. Council has set aside a provision of $3m ($2.25m of which is carried forward from 2013/14) to address issues as required over the next 12 months. Considerable effort has been put in since December 2013 by Council to address the current closure and review a number of options to relocate those events previously booked at the Trafalgar Centre to other venues including Saxton Stadium.
Nelson School of Music
The Nelson School of Music requires both earthquake strengthening and refurbishment. We are committed to providing support to this special Nelson institution and its nationally acclaimed auditorium. We will be working closely with the School to progress development plans and funding of $150,000 has been allocated for the next financial year. Funding of $1,431,000 to support earthquake strengthening and refurbishment works will be deferred to 2015/16 while the School of Music works on plans for its redevelopment project. The planned transfer of the School of Music land and buildings to Council has not occurred due to delays in the project and will be further considered during development of the LTP 2015/25.
The Theatre Royal has a different suite of issues. The Theatre Royal continues to experience financial difficulties despite high community use and commercial bookings. After being advised in December 2013 that the ongoing viability of the Theatre was in jeopardy, Council undertook a detailed review of the Theatre Royal’s financial position. The initial budgets produced by the Trust have proven to be unrealistic. Council is of the view that the Theatre Royal is a key community asset and makes a valuable contribution that is worthy of council funding. For this reason the Council is proposing to increase the operational grant to the Theatre in 2014/15 by $115,000 to a total of $220,000.
As a community we have invested heavily in Saxton Field buildings and facilities. This year we are progressing long overdue governance, management and marketing of Saxton Field. We want to return the most we can from your investment.
Rates - Discount for ‘SUIPs’
The Council is concerned that the level of charges for ‘Separately Used or Inhabited Parts’ of a rating unit (SUIPs) is causing hardship to multi leased commercial properties when applying uniform charges. These uniform charges are levied to each separately inhabited portion of a commercial property, for example, each separately leased commercial area of a rating unit is charged a uniform annual general charge and waste water charge. Council has considered options around discounting the uniform annual general charge, but this cannot be easily done. This will be looked at further through the LTP. However, in this draft Annual Plan 2014/15 the Council is proposing that additional SUIPs charges for commercial properties, for wastewater, are reduced by 75%.