Auckland Council has approved $1 billion of major capital works across the region, while maintaining a proposed 3.94% rates increase for ratepayers.
The announcement also confirms investment for the Rugby World Cup, with a number of the works to be carried out before August. The city will also host six weeks of events during the Rugby World Cup.
“The improvements and Rugby World Cup activities will present a vibrant face to thousands of extra tourists visiting our city and showcase Auckland to a massive worldwide TV audience,” says the council’s Strategy and Finance Committee Chair, Councillor Penny Webster.
Planned works to take place before the Rugby World Cup include:
- Opening of North Wharf, a new waterfront entertainment area on Wynyard Quarter
- The opening of the Wynyard Crossing, an opening bridge spanning the Viaduct Harbour, making it easier for people to get around the waterfront environment
- Opening of the Viaduct Events Centre, increasing visitor numbers to the waterfront and providing more options for conferences and conventions post-Rugby World Cup
Other initiatives for the region during 2011/12 include:
- Transport linkages to make it quicker and easier to get between Glen Innes and Manukau city centre (Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative, $12.2m in 2011/12)
- Fun and education for Aucklanders and visitors with the completion of Te Wao Nui, a New Zealand themed development at Auckland Zoo
- More room and facilities for people wanting to live in Auckland, with the development of transport, community facilities, water and wastewater infrastructure in the Northern Strategic Growth Area at Hobsonville/Westgate, which will be home to 40,000 residents
- Establishing of a Built Heritage Protection Fund to protect at risk heritage buildings with the intention of redeveloping them and then reselling them ($10.3m available in 2011/12 and $4.6m per annum in following years)
- Providing additional water capacity for residents in north Auckland with the construction of a major watermain (Hunua 4) to meet increasing water demand
- Protecting the environment by reducing flooding and stormwater overflows into rivers and the sea ($80m)
The raft of important projects would be achieved with ratepayers only having to contribute an extra proposed base rate increase of 3.94 per cent.
Councillor Penny Webster says the council’s planned capital works programme currently totals $1.4 billion, of which $1 billion would be funded by the council.
“Thanks to $81 million worth of savings and better budgeting, the council has been able to lower the rates increase to a new base of 3.94 per cent from the target maximum rates increase of 4.9 per cent set by the Mayor in February and from the 9.3 percent inherited by the new council in November,” said Councillor Webster.
She says it has been a huge amount of work to pull together the budgets from the eight former councils in the region.
“Add to that the complexity of funding for 21 local boards to enable them to deliver benefits to their local communities and you have an annual plan for a super city.”
“We have been able to deliver almost all of the projects planned by the former legacy councils and to fulfil the funding requests from local boards.”
The Mayor has welcomed the achievement. “There’s still some fine tuning to do at the end of June when the annual plan is adopted, but councillors and council staff have worked very hard to be able to achieve the level of services and facilities that will be provided to the region within a low rates increase level,” says Len Brown.
The council will meet again on 28 June to finalise these matters and the final rates increase in the council’s Annual Plan.