Significant regional progress outlined in Annual Report
Greater Wellington Regional Council today officially accepted its Annual Report for the 2010-11 financial year that ended on 30 June 2011. This was a year of significant achievements for the Council across its full range of activities and across the whole region it serves, Council Chair Fran Wilde said.
“Major events and achievements include the rail package agreed with Government and the official opening of land acquired to be a regional park at Baring Head.
“The rail package saw the transfer of all commuter rail assets, including rolling stock and station facilities, from KiwiRail to Greater Wellington. This agreement gives us certainty of funding from the Government and among other initiatives will enable the old Ganz Mavag fleet to be refurbished over the next few years.
“Baring Head is an iconic piece of real estate that was previously privately owned for farming. Now preserved in public ownership as part of the East Harbour Regional Park, the environmental and cultural values held in this land can be protected and enhanced for the benefit of future generations,” Fran Wilde said.
“Other significant events include the adoption of a biodiversity strategy for the region; the development of a new parks network plan; real time information being provided for public transport commuters; and major progress on Hutt River flood protection work.
“The Wairarapa Water Use project became more formalised with the establishment of a governance group involving local councils, iwi and potential water users in Wairarapa. This project could have major benefits for the region in all aspects of wellbeing.
“Local government needs to constantly look at ways of being more effective at dealing with complex issues that span current political and cultural boundaries. Greater Wellington works closely with a range of groups round the region – the volunteers who help with our parks and streams, landowners with whom we work on soil erosion and environmental protection measures, schools and businesses with travel programmes, iwi in a range of activities and, on a regular and bigger scale, the region’s local authorities.
“We also welcome interest in our work from individuals who may not have any particular group affiliation. During the year under review, several hundred people throughout the region helped with the early stage of the development of our new Regional Plan and there will be further opportunities for involvement in the near future as we progress the plan ( a series of workshops are being held in November). This work is being led by our Natural Resource Plan Committee (Te Upoko Taiao) itself a collaborative model with regional iwi. We are taking a bottom-up approach and the objective is to produce not only a new set of regulations but also a set of non-regulatory tools that will together future proof our regional environment.
“As a regional council we also have a role in ensuring that our economy is both resilient in the face of unexpected change and able to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. A range of our activities support this, including commuter transport, a healthy environment and bulk water supply. We are also part of a partnership with the city and district councils of the region through the Wellington Regional Strategy, which is aimed at sustainable economic development. While some delivery improvements are needed, Greater Wellington and the region’s territorial authorities have agreed to continue promoting economic development at the regional scale and we will be reviewing the delivery in this forthcoming year.
“This will be a year widely remembered for the catastrophic Christchurch earthquake. Although this event was outside of our region, many people from Greater Wellington Regional Council were part of the response, either on secondment in Canterbury or providing support services from here. This quake has provided valuable information and experience as we prepare for a similar event in this region.
“Regional Councillors have not forgotten the tough economic times that we all face. In the past year our rates increase was held to 2.23% – not an easy task given the commitments already in place for major capital works projects, such as public transport and flood protection on the region’s rivers.
“Providing value for money for regional ratepayers and residents is foremost in this Council’s thinking as we plan for the future,” Fran Wilde said.
A full copy of the Annual Report can be downloaded at www.govt.nz/annual-report-2010-11 from Friday 18 November 2011.