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Mapua investment provides lessons for Council

July 1st, 2016
[TDC press release]

[Editor's note: Although this article does not refer specifically to Motueka, the overspend by Council at the Mapua wharf development is of interest to those debating Council's role in commercial activities in Tasman. There have also been rumours of money being allocated from Motueka to pay for the cost overrun.]

Tasman District Council will fund the extra costs associated with work at the Mapua Wharf precinct through income from its commercial activities and by bringing forward next year's budget for landscaping at the wharf.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said it would be regrettable if ratepayers' impressions of what has been achieved at Mapua was tarnished by memories of a process we are not proud of.

"The usual process for approving extra spending on a project like this was not followed, and staff have clearly acknowledged their reporting needs to improve.

"We are committed to remedying the process problems that occurred here as well as rebuilding the trust and confidence of residents in our ability to deliver high-quality projects that meet a range of community needs.

"Remember, the end result for Mapua and the whole District is a fantastic recreational space that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come.

Mayor Kempthorne said despite the issues with the process, the spending was additional investment, not wasted expenditure.

"We're already seeing the dividends in both the number of visitors and the financial returns.

"The unbudgeted work that was undertaken at the wharf addressed legacy issues around insufficient parking, drainage, health and safety and water supply. There were also archaeological finds during the project that added significant extra costs.

"Ratepayers are not being asked to bear the costs of either the Shed 4 development or the other work that has taken place at the wharf. Income from our commercial activities, including the rents from Shed 4, will be used to repay the loan funding, and income from the sale of a surplus block of land will go towards it as well.

Mayor Kempthorne said the income from the commercial activity goes towards reducing the District-wide rates requirement.

"Ratepayers have urged us to reduce rate increases and display strong financial management, and the commercial income is a key plank in allowing us to reduce our reliance on debt and rates income."

"We are not shying away from maximising our commercial investments, but we have certainly learnt from this experience."


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