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14 September 2017
Waipa District Council is calling on the community to help write Waipa's story for the next 10 years.
A new consultation campaign, 'What's the Story', began a few weeks ago, aimed at generating discussion about Waipa's past and its future. But the campaign is now set to go up a notch, as the Council actively seeks input into its draft 2018-2028 10-Year Plan.
Council staff are currently pulling together potential spending priorities for the coming decade, building on the Council's 2015-2025 10-Year Plan and factoring in major issues like growth.
Waipa District Council chief executive Garry Dyet said a "first cut" of those priorities will be discussed by elected members within coming weeks but stressed spending plans were a long way from being finalised.
"We are juggling a whole range of issues, many of them related to the enormous growth Waipa is experiencing and will continue to experience over the next 10 years," Dyet said.
"Councillors will undoubtedly have their own views on where they want to see money spent – and when – and those views needs to be assessed and prioritized against the money available. In terms of capital projects, we face real challenges in being able to deliver some of the work already programmed so there is a lot of discussion to be had yet before anything is set in concrete."
Information on potential projects would be released as quickly as possible so the community has a chance to have their say on what's in the mix well before a first draft of the plan emerges after Christmas.
Decisions made as part of the coming 10-Year Plan will shape the district for many years to come, so it was important people got involved, Dyet said. Council will have to find a balance between funding essential services like water and wastewater and supporting projects that enhance Waipa's quality of life.
"We have already budgeted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure, particularly water, stormwater, wastewater and roads and that won't change. If anything, our spending in those areas will increase because of growth, although much of that money will come back to the Council from developers."
"But you don't build a community people want to live in by just focusing on pipes and roads. People enjoy living in Waipa because of some outstanding facilities so those opportunities must also be in the mix," he said.
"That will mean looking at issues like the Te Awamutu hub project and opportunities to shore up and celebrate the district's heritage while, at the same, leveraging economic development."
The Council's campaign, 'What's the Story', has already sought memories of Waipa and has gathered suggestions from youngsters about what the district needs. Older people had also been asked for their views, and many had shared memories of what Waipa used to be. Videos will be shared on the Council's social media channels over coming weeks, Dyet said.
"That's what we're trying to do is learn from the past, know what's in front of us and pull together a 10-Year Plan and budget that will ensure we've got the right infrastructure and facilities in place to keep the district on track long-term. We are talking about big dollars and we need to get it right."
Media enquiries, contact: Natalie Palmer, 027 807 3174