Ordinary meeting of the
Nelson City Council
Thursday 3 March 2016
Commencing at 9.00am
110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson
11 Approval of Draft Annual Plan 2016/17
Welcome to the 2016/17 Draft Annual Plan. I am pleased to present an Annual Plan with so few variations from our Long Term Plan – a result of careful thinking during plan development and much effort to keep the work programme on track.
The Annual Plan continues to deliver necessary investment in core infrastructure as part of the ongoing commitment made in the Long Term Plan. These projects are expensive but they are essential for city development and protection of private and public assets.
Through refining budgets and prioritisation of projects we have achieved a slight reduction in the rates rise proposed for year 2 of the Long Term Plan. Instead of the forecast 3.4% the average rates rise for 2016/17 will be 3.1%. I am not seeing this reduction as an opportunity for a ‘spend-up’. Between now and the adoption of the Annual Plan in June, I have asked the Chief Executive to continue to refine costs for this year’s programme of works with the aim of reducing the rates rise to under 3%. It is important that it is signalled to you now so you are prepared for how I will encourage Council to respond to submissions seeking additional expenditure.
Over the last year I have been particularly focussed on reviewing Council’s property assets to ensure they are delivering benefits to our city. We cannot afford underperforming assets. Rutherford Park is currently coming to life with Trafalgar Centre development and reconfiguration of carparking and green spaces along the Maitai Walkway.
We have identified an opportunity to further expand the functions of the Trafalgar Centre, creating a 1000 – 1200 seat flexible theatre space, in a relatively low cost way. Most of the elements needed to create a draped theatre are already funded in the Long Term Plan. We are proposing to bring these budgets forward and allocate an additional $400,000 to allow the theatre space to be completed. This is not, however, a substitute for a Performing Arts Centre. In the Long Term Plan Council allocated funding to review that project in 2017/18 and the funding remains.
In 2016/17 the Haven Precinct will move to development plan stage. Council believes it is time to unlock the potential of the Haven Precinct and make the most of Nelson’s natural and recreational assets by creating walking and cycling connections, quality public spaces and opportunities for private investment.
Connecting the city to the sea is vital for Nelson. The thing I enjoy about this city is that the sea, the bush, the cafes and the airport are all so close together. Our vision for the waterfront can only make it easier for people to access the lifestyle they love.
Throughout the year we will continue to progress the review of the Marina Precinct, the Stoke Urban Design project, and activation of strategic sites around the Central Business District.
Council is looking for opportunities to use its properties in the CBD to drive better outcomes for our community. Our city has stood up well to the economic volatility of recent times but the message from the commercial, hospitality and retail sector is clear – Council must be active and invite investment. Some steps are already underway with CBD enhancement working in partnership with business, pop-up parks, Council continuing to support events, and Council-owned land being considered for residential development.
In the next three years funding for expansion and upgrade of Elma Turner library is proposed. Libraries are special places at the heart of community life - they are people attractors. That attribute allows us the opportunity to breathe new life into our precious central library and our CBD. Design proposals are not ready for consultation in this Annual Plan but Council has been considering two quite different options. One is to retain the library in its current location and the other is a bold rethink that would see the library move into the heart of the CBD.
This second option would see us using the State Advances Building and the lower floors of Civic House for an exciting adaptive reuse that would activate the street frontages of both buildings.
Moving the library to Trafalgar Street would bring its cultural values and pedestrian activity in to the heart of the city, providing a “bookend” to Trafalgar Street.
Releasing the valuable riverside library site for development (with appropriate protections to ensure river access) invites private sector investment. The sale of that site would provide funding to introduce contemporary library technology and services to Elma Turner Library. We’re only at the ideas stage at present but in the spirit of no surprises and collaborating with the community I’m keen to hear what you think. And if you’ve got a better idea then why don’t you share it with us.
A significant collaborative enterprise is included in the Plan - an initiative to develop a shared regional landfill with Tasman District Council. Economic analysis shows this has clear benefits for ratepayers in both districts – you can read about this proposal in the Key Issues section.
Please take the time to look at the updates in this 2016/17 draft Annual Plan and share your thinking with us. Our plans for making Nelson an even better place to live will only come to life if we have a common vision and work together as a community.