Western Bay Council signs off annual report

Council CEO John Holyoake. Photo: John Borren.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has adopted its Annual Report 2020/21 after a year featuring record levels of community consultation despite the lasting effects of Covid-19.

The Annual Report 2020/21 was signed off by Council this week.

Council CEO John Holyoake says despite the prolonged effects of Covid-19 it has been a positive year for Council having connected with the community like never before on key projects to take the District forward.

Council delivered its most successful Long Term Plan ever, with an unprecedented 44,206 pieces of feedback on the 2021-2031 Plan.

The resulting 10-year budget and work programme will see the organisation spend $1.7 billion on capital projects and operating activity over the next decade.

Council also took a monumental step forward in agreeing to return the eastern end of Matakana Island (known as Panepane Purakau) to its ancestral owners.

The collaborative, inclusive, and open working relationships with iwi and the public saw Council receive national recognition, taking out the Supreme Award at the 2021 LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards along with the Minister of Local Government’s Award for Excellence in Council/Community Relations.

John says despite a complex year of activities Council’s financial position remains strong thanks to a reduction in debt, good financial performance and positive fiscal outlook.

Financially, Council finished the year with a net debt balance of $64.3 million, down $11.2 million from $75.5 million the previous year.

“This Annual Report demonstrates that as everyone continues to adapt to the impacts of the global pandemic Council has worked hard to keep our District thriving by making key decisions that preserve the Western Bay for future generations,” say John.

Further highlights from the report include:

  • Rolling out Council’s new kerbside rubbish and recycling collection service to nearly 17,500 eligible households. The new rates-funded service is designed to increase the amount of material diverted from landfill by about 60 percent – around 1800 tonnes a year.
  • Completing the Ōmokoroa Sports Pavilion and Library, at Western Avenue, in conjunction with the Ōmokoroa Sports and Recreation Society. 
  • Opening the new regional digital hub in The Centre – Pātuki Manawa, Katikati. This is the first digital hub for the sub-region and was funded through central government’s Provincial Growth Fund with a funding package for digital connectivity.
  • Completing 5.1 km of seal extensions, 6.45 km of pavement rehabilitation, and 2.2 km of new footpaths.
  • Launching an e-plan (a digital plan using maps) for the District Plan, to help make things easier for customers.

While there is still uncertainty about what the future of local government will look like, Council will continue to pay close attention to the major policy reforms currently underway: Three Waters, Resource Management, and the Future for Local Government Review, and what impact these will have on the District.

In particular the Three Waters reform, says John.

“There are some big decisions to be made by Government in the coming months on its proposed reform to transfer the management of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater councils to publicly-owned entities.

“We remain committed to our community and look forward to having a conversation on this significant issue when the time comes given this is a hot topic for many people.”

Council is required to prepare and adopt an annual report and financial summary within six months of the end of the last financial year.

The Annual Report compares Council’s actual performance for the year against what it forecasted in its Long Term Plan and Annual Plan.

For the full Annual Report visit: www.westernbay.govt.nz/annual-report

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