Council can't bite off more than it can chew

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THE list of potential projects to be included in the coming long-term district plan is too long and a number will have to be taken out, Gisborne District Council’s finance and audit committee was told.

These comments came after committee chairman Brian Wilson called for a list of projects that sat just below the major ones already earmarked for consultation. It was important to get the total picture, he said.

The previous day the community development committee discussed expenditure of $100,000 for each feasibility study for possible projects.

Obviously the council was not going to be able to do all the things the community wanted and it should focus on essentials, said Mr Wilson.

During the course of the long-term plan from 2018 to 2028, the council would probably have to spend $250 million on infrastructure, he said.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the information Mr Wilson was asking for would be provided.

Workshops would be held to discuss the projects and undertake a project prioritisation process by all of the council.

Pat Seymour said the council should not spend money on feasibility reports for items that would not go ahead. This was going to be an extremely difficult long-term plan to prepare.

Graeme Thomson said the council had to be realistic and not “pussyfoot around”.

Some projects should be completely removed. Once they were included in a plan, even though there was no funding initially attached, they tended to take on a life of their own, and eventually they went ahead.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she accepted this was a difficult plan but warned the council should not be too conservative.

Projects put off

A number of projects had been put off in the past when it would have been easier and cheaper to do them then.

In her opinion, the new library should have been built 10 years ago.

The present generation was paying for decisions that had been made in the past.

Mr Wilson said every generation probably said that.

Community development chairman Andy Cranston said the $100,000 feasibility amounts were just an indication of potential requirement should those initiatives be identified for further work.

“We are a country mile and a half from that.”

The strategy was to identify and get everything in front of the council in one place.

It was absolutely non-committal.

“I was defending some of the work to date, which has been enabled from the generosity of external funding.

“There were questions of why we are doing things, and financial implications.”

The report was the draft of the community facilities strategy. This had been developed with the community and had taken on the look of a wish list and, as such, not all would be possible.

The strategy would offer high-level guidance and direction. Funders wanted this as much as the council.

“They are not that comfortable with unrealistic expectations of funding applications from every corner. They are partners to this strategy to enable clarity with which we will all work on practical prioritising.

“This will very likely mean some drop- offs. I am pretty sure we won’t be able to do everything and there will be no intention to commit resource to every want and good idea,” said Mr Cranston.

“It’s going to be very tricky.”

THE list of potential projects to be included in the coming long-term district plan is too long and a number will have to be taken out, Gisborne District Council’s finance and audit committee was told.

These comments came after committee chairman Brian Wilson called for a list of projects that sat just below the major ones already earmarked for consultation. It was important to get the total picture, he said.

The previous day the community development committee discussed expenditure of $100,000 for each feasibility study for possible projects.

Obviously the council was not going to be able to do all the things the community wanted and it should focus on essentials, said Mr Wilson.

During the course of the long-term plan from 2018 to 2028, the council would probably have to spend $250 million on infrastructure, he said.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the information Mr Wilson was asking for would be provided.

Workshops would be held to discuss the projects and undertake a project prioritisation process by all of the council.

Pat Seymour said the council should not spend money on feasibility reports for items that would not go ahead. This was going to be an extremely difficult long-term plan to prepare.

Graeme Thomson said the council had to be realistic and not “pussyfoot around”.

Some projects should be completely removed. Once they were included in a plan, even though there was no funding initially attached, they tended to take on a life of their own, and eventually they went ahead.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she accepted this was a difficult plan but warned the council should not be too conservative.

Projects put off

A number of projects had been put off in the past when it would have been easier and cheaper to do them then.

In her opinion, the new library should have been built 10 years ago.

The present generation was paying for decisions that had been made in the past.

Mr Wilson said every generation probably said that.

Community development chairman Andy Cranston said the $100,000 feasibility amounts were just an indication of potential requirement should those initiatives be identified for further work.

“We are a country mile and a half from that.”

The strategy was to identify and get everything in front of the council in one place.

It was absolutely non-committal.

“I was defending some of the work to date, which has been enabled from the generosity of external funding.

“There were questions of why we are doing things, and financial implications.”

The report was the draft of the community facilities strategy. This had been developed with the community and had taken on the look of a wish list and, as such, not all would be possible.

The strategy would offer high-level guidance and direction. Funders wanted this as much as the council.

“They are not that comfortable with unrealistic expectations of funding applications from every corner. They are partners to this strategy to enable clarity with which we will all work on practical prioritising.

“This will very likely mean some drop- offs. I am pretty sure we won’t be able to do everything and there will be no intention to commit resource to every want and good idea,” said Mr Cranston.

“It’s going to be very tricky.”

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