Greater Wellington’s Annual Report highlights rapid adaptation
Greater Wellington Regional Council’s 2016/17 Annual Report, adopted today by the regional council, reflects a year of significant disruption and rapid adaptation to new circumstances while all the time managing to deliver service to our customers.
“The events of November and later storm-driven flooding brought a new focus on what really matters to the people of Greater Wellington,” says Greater Wellington chair Cllr Chris Laidlaw.
“It reinforced how we must raise the resilience of the region’s transport, water supply and other vital infrastructure to meet the challenges of the future.”
Greater Wellington’s annual report outlines the diverse range of projects and activities for which the council is responsible, including emergency management, flood protection, water quality and supply and economic development and caring for our environment.
Last year showed further progress on the transformation of public transport in the region. The key achievement was agreement on new customer-oriented bus contracts that will introduce high quality, low emission buses which will deliver better service and, over time, a modern, sustainable fleet.
“Quality public transport services matter to people in the greater Wellington region. New bus contracts have been signed with the promise of a steady conversion of the region’s bus fleet to full electric and far lower emissions. We are now well on the way to a new, simplified fare structure, new bus routes and an integrated ticketing regime, all of which are designed to provide a better experience for our customers,” says Cllr Laidlaw.
Significant progress was also made towards improving the resilience of Lower Hutt’s flood protection infrastructure through the RiverLink flood protection, city lifestyle and the better transport project. The outcome, when completed in some years’ time, will both protect and lay the foundations for the reinvigoration of Lower Hutt’s central business district.
Hearings on the proposed Natural Resources Plan are now over half way through, with people attending the hearings showing real interest in managing our environment.
Protecting our biodiversity by actively controlling the spread of pest animal and plants and being involved in predator free initiatives across the region, was another feature of the year. We worked closely with the rural community on planting to control erosion and with the wider community on a programme of native tree planting in our regional parks. In all, 14 significant wetlands were improved through our Wetland Programme, 89 sites were identified as having have high value biodiversity and 3,207 properties were surveyed to identify and control pest plants
On the financial front Greater Wellington also recorded a strong performance in achieving an operating surplus of $1 million, compared to a budgeted surplus of $1.3 million, despite significant earthquake related costs and the loss of dividend from CentrePort. Spending was controlled elsewhere to reduce their impact.
“The work we do at Greater Wellington touches people’s lives every day,” says Cllr Laidlaw. “From the public transport people ride on, to the water they drink or swim in and the regional parks they explore, we are working to deliver our communities the best possible experience. When we say we are working toward a greater wellington region, we really mean it.”