CODC pushes Long Term Plan into next year

by Kim Bowden - Feb 28, 2024

Central Otago District councillors have taken Wellington decision makers up on an offer to defer the council's ten year planning document.

The next Long Term Plan for the district was set to be nutted out over the coming months before a draft put out for public consultation, but that will now take place in 2025.

Councillors voted unanimously to delay the document, which outlines all activities and services the council will provide, and how it will pay for them, over the following 10 years.

While this planning should happen on a three-yearly cycle, deputy mayor Neil Gillespie urged councillors to take up the "olive branch" offered by the new coalition government.

In recent weeks the government has indicated its intent to pass the Water Service Act Repeal Bill, which allows councils the option to put off this core planning document for 12 months, effectively making the next ten year plan a nine year one and requiring an "enhanced" 2024 to 2025 Annual Plan.

The move provides time for councils to work through how three waters infrastructure will be delivered and paid for in light of a changing national landscape of reforms for the sector.

Councillor Martin McPherson suggested the council "jump at the opportunity", while councillor Tamah Alley stressed to staff present the decision was in no way a reflection on the huge amount of work they had been putting in.

In a report to councillors ahead of today's decision, council's organisational manager Christina Martin said the finance and three waters teams were feeling the strain and would struggle to meet the existing Long Term Plan deadlines.

In response to questions from councillors about the level of risk associated with the decision to defer, mayor Tim Cadogan said the government had "cleared the path in front of us".

The council is one of a number around the country that has opted to defer their long term plans this year.

At its February meeting, the Queenstown Lakes District Council voted to defer its document deadline by three months.

Main image: The Central Otago District Council at its February meeting has chosen to push back its Long Term Plan by one year.



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