The priority projects will now go forward for community consultation as an amendment to the Long Term Plan.
“We have some pressing matters that need resolution and cannot wait until the next Long Term Plan,” says Hutt City Council Mayor Campbell Barry.
“Bringing our waste services into the 21st century and tackling our city’s waste problem is critical. Overhauling the way we manage waste, providing a cost-effective rubbish collection service and an efficient recycling system is long overdue. I’m pleased that council has prioritised providing a much better rubbish and recycling system for our residents.
“Council is also delivering on Naenae to rebuild a pool and take steps to better plan the urban environment in the town centre. We have heard the community and they have told us that this is the best way we can support them and future generations of Naenae residents. Council will now move urgently to incorporate both Naenae Pool and the improvements to waste management in the Long Term Plan,” says Mayor Barry.
“We all need to get better at reducing and managing our waste and ensuring that we minimise waste going to our landfill to extend its life as long as possible. The changes will require significant investment but the current system is costing us on several fronts such as the impact of litter on our waterways and the health and safety of workers collecting rubbish bags.”
At the same time, Mayor Barry signalled that some hard decisions will need to be made in next year’s annual plan, to enable investment in core infrastructure, and the Cross Valley Link, which received backing for increased investment at the meeting. Councillors also supported Mayor Barry treating the Melling Interchange as a priority. “We need the government’s support to get these projects moving to improve our city’s resilience and to sustain growth. Council will be putting forward a strong case requesting that Melling is part of the Government’s recently signalled spend on infrastructure.”
Reviewing council’s rates policy and deciding how rates are spread between different property categories was also high on the priority list for council.
“The recent revaluation process with significant variations in values particularly between residential and commercial properties has highlighted the need to take a good look at our current rates policy,” says Hutt City Council’s Chief Executive Jo Miller.
Both the pool and changes to rubbish and recycling, alongside rates, will require amendments to the Long Term Plan 2018- 2028, and will be consulted on from early April 2020 as part of the Annual Plan process.
Naenae Pool was closed in April due to seismic issues. Between August and November a major community engagement project was undertaken to capture the voice of the community on both the future of the pool, and also the community’s vision for the wider town centre.
At the meeting council voted to progress the option of committing $52M to a new stand-alone pool and the development of a spatial plan to guide the development of further facilities and services elsewhere in the town centre.
Council also agreed to the establishment of a community-led, officer facilitated Naenae group to be involved in the spatial plan and facility design projects.
Rubbish and recycling
A strategic review of waste management for Lower Hutt was recently completed. In line with other major cities in New Zealand proposed changes for waste collection and recycling could see Hutt City Council introduce a wheelie bin for mixed recyclables, a crate for recycled glass, a rubbish collection service using bins (instead of bags) and an opt-in service for green waste. In terms of rubbish collection services this change would replace the weekly rubbish bag collection service that around 30% of households currently use. The review also recommended moving away from unstaffed recycling stations due to the contamination issues and illegal dumping of rubbish which is costly for council to deal with.
The change provides the opportunity for communities to engage with council on what works best for their household. A broad range of options will be communicated before formal consultation on the funding options begins in April next year.
Council will ask for feedback on the size of wheelie bins for rubbish collection and frequency of collection services, and whether recycling should be made available to local schools as they currently make their own arrangements. The strategic review has considered options for rural residents, people who live in apartments, as well as residents with limited mobility.
In February 2020 a paper will be presented on the work progressed to review the rates policy. This will provide guidance on possible changes that could be consulted on as part of the Annual Plan.