The Mackenzie District Council offices in Fairlie.
The Mackenzie region continues to experience unprecedented growth which will present one of the biggest issues facing future councils, a pre-election report, says.
Growth and sustainability were keywords in the Mackenzie District Council (MDC) report released on Friday. Compiled by council chief executive Suzette van Aswegen, it was released ahead of the upcoming elections to “provide information to promote public discussion” on issues that face the district and community.
It brought together reports and finances from the past three years, an overview of 2019/20 so far, and financial projections for the next three years.
Growth, in both resident population and tourist numbers, was identified as an ongoing factor which will put increasing pressure on facilities and services such as roading, waste management and water services.
The report predicts a population growth of 13 per cent to 4880 by 2028, a 21.7 per cent growth in the over 65 population, and anticipates the development of 10 sections in Tekapo and 46 in Twizel on average every year.
“The district is going through a period of sustained growth which is likely to continue into the foreseeable future,” van Aswegen said.
“A major piece of work named Destination Mackenzie [a $750 project] will be undertaken this year which should set the direction of development going forward, as will our District Plan review.”
The report foresees further complications to development in the form of regulatory reform which is likely to affect Drinking Water Standards and waste management.
It also raises the issue of balancing community expectations with its ability to pay for facility upgrades.
While developing is necessary to accommodate the region’s unprecedented growth, doing so sustainably to “meet the needs of our present residents and visitors without compromising the ability of future generations” was another focus of the report.
This should not just mean environmental sustainability, but should feed into infrastructure and upcoming initiatives such as a Sustainable Infrastructure Strategy, the District Plan review and a Representation Review, it said.
In financial projections to 2023, roading continues to be the largest area of expenditure, including low cost low risk projects such as the western carpark in Tekapo and the replacement of Single Hill Bridge.
Other high spend areas will include water supply replacement and upgrades, community and township services, and corporate services including the replacement of council vehicles, improvements to the Fairlie council building and a records management programme.
Van Aswegen highlighted the need for future councils to continue to seek government funding for tourism infrastructure, NZTA co-funding and to review funding and rating models.
So far, no-one has put their name in the ring for the MDC council election, although Steve Howes is in the running to serve another term on the Tekapo Community Board.
The full report is available at MDC offices and community libraries in Twizel and Fairlie, the Twizel Community Care Centre and the Heartlands Centre in Fairlie, and on the MDC website www.mackenzie.govt.nz.