Wairoa District Council is seeking feedback on its new proposed Development Contributions Policy.
At the recent Council meeting elected members approved the proposed policy for public consultation.
The new policy would see housing developers make contributions for new infrastructure required for future developments.
The need for the policy was triggered by the Wairoa district experiencing growth that has not been seen locally for decades.
This growth has necessitated the need for infrastructure upgrades to ensure Council can maintain its present levels of service. Council does not currently charge development or financial contributions, but uses rates, reserves, borrowing or central government grants, or a combination of these in funding this growth-related infrastructure when required.
However, as the amount of needed upgrades increases, so does the cost burden. Funding these projects has become increasingly difficult and puts an unfair burden on Wairoa ratepayers.
The Local Government Act 2002 allows territorial authorities to charge development contributions to help finance the infrastructure required because of higher demand i.e., growth. This ensures those responsible for driving growth throughout the district pay a fair share of the resulting cost of upgrading council networks.
The planning department has worked collaboratively with the roading, utilities, property and building teams, alongside taking advice from other territorial authorities to draft a proposed policy for the Wairoa District for the current 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.
The proposed policy estimates demand on infrastructure will increase by an additional 500 household unit equivalents and suggests approximately $3.8 million dollars would be raised over the 10-year period to support the financing of growth-related infrastructure.
Wairoa is one of a handful of the 67 local authorities in New Zealand which doesn’t have a Development or Financial Contributions Policy.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said historically Council didn’t have a policy as it didn’t want to discourage development. “Given the low level of development throughout the district for the past two decades, Council has always tried to be an enabler and development friendly and by not having a development contributions policy we tried to encourage more development throughout the district.
Now Wairoa, like other local authorities throughout the country, is experiencing growth in residential development and other construction activity with building and resource consents trending higher than long-term averages.
While growth is positive for the district, each new development puts further demand on infrastructure and often requires infrastructure upgrades.
“Without this policy, present ratepayers will face a much higher burden in terms of growth-related infrastructure expenditure. This policy is aimed at ensuring infrastructure such as stormwater, wastewater, water supply, transport and development for parks and open spaces and community infrastructure are funded by the developers.
“A development contributions policy will allow Council to apply a consistent approach across all developments while finding a balance in supporting community and private development, operating with prudent financial management and providing a level of service for the district. It will enable funding for funding future growth and help reduce the reliance on rates while ensuring our infrastructure networks are more resilient.”
Mr Little said a development contribution policy is the fairest and simplest means of ensuring that Council can adequately service growth and maintain its current levels of service into the future.
The Development Contributions Policy consultation period will begin on April 4 and close on May 6.
For more information head to, https://www.consultations.nz/wdc/development-contributions-policy/
5 April 2022
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