Sustainability trust‘s warning over council’s LTP

Sustainable Bay of Plenty executive director Glen Crowther. File Image. SunLive.

The Sustainable Bay of Plenty Trust is calling on Tauranga City Council to re-think its 2021 Long Term Plan, which closes for submissions this Monday, June 7.

Whilst stating that there are some “good aspects” of Council’s LTP they claim the ‘SmartGrowth’ strategy behind it is unsustainable.

"That SmartGrowth plan calls for the city to sprawl further along the coast and up the Kaimai hills, but without a rapid transit system,” says Sustainable Bay of Plenty executive director Glen Crowther.

“This will result in worse congestion, massive rates rises and even bigger increases in debt to fund growth infrastructure. It will also lead to further increases in carbon emissions.

“It is bad for the environment and bad news for people's back pockets - especially those on low or fixed incomes.

"Most importantly, there's been no discussion about the growth strategy that drives this big step-change in capital investment, with $4.6 billion to be spent over the coming decade.

“This is 2.5 times per capita what Wellington plans to spend. Yet unlike Wellington and other cities, there has been no public engagement at all about the underlying urban development plan and Transport System Plan that have led to such a big spend-up."

Glen believes it is “strange” that Tauranga has no sustainability strategy and no plan to reduce carbon emissions, suggesting smaller Bay of Plenty regions such as Rotorua and Whakatane do .

“We are told that there is no option apart from this hugely expensive plan to grow the city, even though when residents were last asked what we thought in 2018, people made it very clear they did not support this plan. It directs 80 per cent of the growth to the city outskirts without fast, attractive public transport options.”

Glen believes Council will not get a clear indication of what local residents really think about the big spend on growth from this LTP consultation, as people are being told that the extra spending is mostly needed for community facilities.

"It is only when you dig into the numbers that you see that 62 per cent of the new capital expenditure will actually go towards growth,” he claims.

"Tauranga residential ratepayers already pay more rates than any comparable NZ city, and this plan would push up median residential rates, including water and Regional Council rates, by about $560 this year alone.

Glen states that rates will double in five years whilst debt will double in three-and-a-half years.

“By 2026, superannuitants who own or rent for a moderate Tauranga house could realistically be paying more than 25 per cent of their income on rates if this plan goes ahead,” he suggests.

Sustainable Bay of Plenty believes an open conversation with communities around how to handle growth must be held, instead of those discussions being held behind closed doors.

“We welcome Sustainable Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust’s submission and look forward to considering it fully in due course,” says a spokesperson for Tauranga City Council.




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8 Comments

Tom Ranger

Posted on 06-06-2021 12:05 | By Tom Ranger

@Informed. Agreed. Regulations need to change.

Growth

Posted on 05-06-2021 19:44 | By Informed

Some good points, but growth doesn’t and can’t’ pay for itself. The current regulations governing councils prevent recovering the cost of growth from the drivers/developers of growth. Plus councils are forced to plan and enable growth, as this is also binding law. So it’s a catch 22, with current residents paying the price.

So, what WOULD be sustainable?

Posted on 05-06-2021 17:07 | By morepork

1. Cut administration costs. Let natural attrition take care of recruitment and improve overall costs and efficiency by getting every Department to cut their own budget by 10%. Raises in pay based on KPIs and performance only. 2. PRORITISE projects with feedback and engagement from Ratepayers and Citizens. (Online polling is a great idea) 3. ESSENTIAL maintenance can be covered from existing revenue if it is managed properly. 4. Aim for TRANSPARENCY, RESPONSIBILITY, and proper standards of behavior. Stop the yelling and shouting and start the listening and thinking. NEW and NICE-TO-HAVE projects go on hold until we can be seen to AFFORD them. No attempts to buy votes etc.; Politics stays out of it... Public Service is NOT a career; it is a way to give back to a Community you value. Finally... Morepork for Mayor! (There is equal likelihood of that, as there is of anything above...)

Public transport not the answer

Posted on 05-06-2021 16:23 | By Kancho

For many people public transport is a viable option, nor cycling. Not everyone computes to an office and stay there all day, probably a minority in fact. I like many can’t make public transport work even though retired and have the extra time needed. When I was in the workforce I spent a lot of unavoidable time in a vehicle. I can’t imagine how time wasting and frustrating that has now become with the non productive time spent in traffic. Can’t see how public transport can make any difference to a lot of people. Growth is strangling our way of life and outstripping infrastructure and costly to fix The budget needs to be focussed on absolutely essential work first. Congestion costs productivity and therefore a financial loss. Water and wastewater are essential not cycleways or pretty parks etc

Take action!!!

Posted on 05-06-2021 15:44 | By The Professor

It’s about time Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty residents take serious action. We need protests and Road blocks to disrupt life in the region, until the clowns in the Councils and the Government start listening to us and stop neglecting us and our region. Refuse to pay your rates......if enough people do this then the Councils will need to listen. Safety in numbers.....they can’t put us all in prison for refusing to pay. We are all too soft and the Councils know it......which is why they are walking over us!!

I's unsustainable allright

Posted on 05-06-2021 12:50 | By TheCameltoeKid

What’s unsustainable are these proposed rate rises on Tauranga and Western Bay residents. This consultation/submissions process is a complete farce when a decision has already been made and submissions get ignored in favour of their go-too statement, "the majority of submissions are in favour of this decision." This pandemic dosen’t look like it’s going away anytime in the future so myself and for and the vast majority of residents the last place we want to be now or in the future is on public transport. This submission process that these councils use is a Sham that’s forced on councils to fool the people that the Democratic process is being followed. Just take notice that the final statement about the Trust’s submission is welcomed by an "Unnamed" council spokesperson. My bet is it’s already in the shredder.

Sobering

Posted on 05-06-2021 12:25 | By Kancho

Telling it like it is. In spite of TCC spin , infrastructure it’s stretched but they think the answer lies in growth. Smartgrowth has been a joke for years as water supply shows , a new treatment plant is due but already probably to late and sources of water still a problem. But infrastructure in every form is lagging. We can all see what growth has brought us. Congestion is bad and now the Labour government has put in hold much needed work. Rates are high and many fixed income and working poor will not be able to sustain these continual rises of rates, water, rubbish, etc. There will just not be enough money for this growth and it’s allied problems in the making. No help from a green fixated government so Tauranga is going to suffer.

The trouble is

Posted on 05-06-2021 09:39 | By earlybird

they don’t care, they don’t listen and they don’t tell the truth. They simply hide the truth in the spin. I accept that there must be rate rises to maintain and replace aging infrastructure, The rate rises MUST be affordable and MUST NOT be wasted on dodgy projects. Growth MUST pay for growth. I can’t help feeling that Tauranga will be MUCH worse off in a few years time if this LTP goes ahead. The commissioners will, of course, have buggered off somewhere else by then.

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