Council decisions on key projects

Invercargill City Councillors have today voted to include key projects in the 2018-2028 Long-term Plan (LTP).

The LTP sets out Council’s vision for the next 10 years, and examines the projects and services the Council will deliver during those 10 years.

At an Extraordinary meeting yesterday (15 May 2018)  the Council approved funding for many key projects, based on submissions received on the LTP Consultation Document and hearings for those submissions held earlier this month.

The final LTP Document will incorporate the decisions, and will be subject to audit before adoption.

Council approved a rates increase of 4.91 per cent for the 2018/2019 year. Projected rates increases for the following nine years will be confirmed and provided in the final LTP Document.

During consultation, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery was closed to the public due to safety concerns, and many submissions called for Council to work towards reopening the museum as soon as possible.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt said: “There has been robust debate both within the Council Chamber and the wider community, and this is a healthy sign of a city where democracy thrives.”

Chief Executive Clare Hadley said the LTP Consultation Document had proposed money be set aside for redevelopment of the museum in 2027/2028. However, as a result of the closure of the museum during consultation, there was an “overwhelming consensus” from submitters that the museum should be prioritised by Council.

“As a result of these submissions, staff recommended funding be brought forward to 2021/2022 and 2022/2023,” Mrs Hadley said. “This reflects the desire for swift action to be taken, while still allowing time for preparation of a robust project to be delivered.”

Council approved this recommendation, and grants of $9.5 million, spread over those years, will be budgeted for museum redevelopment.

Mrs Hadley said more than 400 submissions were received on the LTP Consultation Document, which provided excellent guidance from the community on what they felt should be prioritised by Council during the next 10 years.

“We’re grateful to all those people who took the time to provide a submission, and to those who spoke to their submissions during hearings,” Mrs Hadley said.

Final financial implications will be presented to Council on 22 May for approval prior to the audit process.

The Long-term Plan will be adopted on 26 June 2018 following audit by Audit New Zealand.

 

Summary of decisions

Southland Museum and Art Gallery

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Grant provided for redevelopment of museum in 2027/2028.
  • Grant for Regional Storage Facility of $9 million scheduled for 2024/2025.

What was approved by Council:

  • Grant provided for redevelopment of museum totalling $9.5 million, to be spread out between 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.
  • Additional $200,000 to be contributed to the museum’s operating budget every year for four years, on top of what is already provided, to allow for an interim museum presence.
  • Grant for Regional Storage Facility of $9 million as proposed in the Consultation Document.

Increase of funding for Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Council’s preferred option was not to increase funding.
  • The Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust had requested an increase of $300,000 to its annual grant from Council.
  • A third option was also presented, where the grant would be increased by $150,000.

What submitters said:

  • 53 per cent of submitters supported Council’s preferred option of not increasing the funding.
  • 32 per cent supported increasing the funding by the full $300,000 per year as requested.
  • 15 per cent supported increasing funding by $150,000 a year.
  • Many submitters commented that Council does not own the facility, and that it is a regional facility which should be funded further by regional funders.
  • Many submitters also said the Stadium has received a great deal more funding than arts and cultural facilities and it was time this was balanced.
  • Submitters in support of increasing funding highlighted the importance of the Stadium as both a sporting facility and a community events centre and said events at the Stadium had a positive economic impact on the city.

What was approved by Council:

  • To allocate a one-off $300,000 grant to the Trust in the 2018/2019 financial year, and to undertake to work with the Trust to look at other ways of funding the shortfall in future.

Arts and Creativity Invercargill

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Develop and operate an Art Centre at a cost to Council of $6.3 million, with the remainder to be funded externally. The total cost is estimated to be $16 million.
  • The project was proposed to begin development in 2021/2022, with funding budgeted from 2018/2019.

What submitters said:

  • 57 per cent of submitters supported the proposal.
  • The tone of submissions changed after the museum was closed. Many submitters felt the museum redevelopment was more important than a new Art Centre.
  • Other submitters felt the two projects should be completed together and within one facility.

What was approved by Council:

  • The Art Centre proposal was approved as it appeared in the Consultation Document.

Living Dinosaurs Experience

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Develop a Living Dinosaurs Experience, which would provide a home for tuatara and the Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō breeding programme.
  • This would cost Council $2.5 million, with external funding of $2.5 million to be sought.
  • Funding from Council was to be budgeted in the 2019/2020 year.

What submitters said:

  • 70 per cent of submitters supported the proposal.
  • Tone of submissions changed following the museum closure. Many felt providing a safe home for tuatara was now more pressing.
  • Many submitters were of the view the two projects should be completed together and within one facility.

What was approved by Council:

  • Council approved the proposal, as it appeared in the consultation document.

Alternative Water Supply

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Develop an Alternative Water Supply, beginning in 2025/2026, at an estimated cost of $10.7 million.

What submitters said:

  • 80 per cent of submitters were supportive of the proposal. While some asked for the project to be brought forward, staff commented that while having an alternative water supply sooner would be desirable, this would not allow a thorough investigation into determining the best option and may not be affordable.

What was approved by Council:

  • The proposal and funding as it appeared in the Consultation Document was approved.

Anderson House

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Four options were suggested, with Council’s preferred option being to strengthen Anderson House to 67 per cent, but not to include an upgrade of the kitchen.
  • The proposed schedule for this option was for it to begin in 2019/2020.
  • Cost was estimated at $1.72 million.

What submitters said:

  • Most submitters (55 per cent) supported strengthening Anderson House to 67 per cent, and including an upgrade of the kitchen.
  • 26 per cent of submitters supported Council’s preferred option (leaving out the kitchen upgrade)
  • Remaining submitters were in favour of other options.

What was approved by Council:

  • Council adopted its preferred option, and considered that finding a tenant for Anderson House and working with them to establish appropriate kitchen facilities is more efficient than upgrading the kitchen immediately.

Additional Pool at Splash Palace

What was proposed in the Consultation Document:

  • Build an additional pool at a cost of $6.3 million, beginning in 2020/2021.

What submitters said:

  • 68 per cent of submitters supported the proposal.

What was approved by Council:

  • Build an additional pool, however delay the project to start in 2023/2024 to allow funding for other projects, like the museum, to begin sooner.
  • The estimated cost of building the pool will need to be revised as a result of the change to the intended date for the project.