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Funding key constraint on providing growth infrastructure

November 14th, 2016
[TDC press release]

The Tasman District Council is aware of the demands growth is placing on development infrastructure in the District, and is working to balance growth demands with an affordable works programme, Mayor Richard Kempthorne says.

"It is incorrect to suggest the Council has been caught flat-footed by the rate of growth," Mayor Kempthorne said.

"There is enough land zoned for residential development in the District and that is because of the forecasting and planning we have done in the past.

"Providing services to that land is a different part of the equation, and one that is heavily dependent on our ability to fund the provision of those services.

"In the interests of keeping debt and rates within a manageable range, we have a programme for funding services that is spread over the 10-year period of our Long Term Plan.

"If we fast-track work to allow developers to put more sections on the market more quickly, that comes at a cost - and we know that there is no great appetite in our community for increased debt."

The Council has used the Government's Statistics New Zealand projections, and these have significantly underestimated growth, he says.

"It is also worth pointing out that a record level of net migration nationally is contributing to what we're seeing in this region. That kind of population increase is being driven by a huge range of factors, including political events overseas, that would have been close to impossible to predict."

However, staff were working with developers on some innovative approaches to provide services and respond to the demand that exists now, he said.

"For example, in Richmond West we are discussing a proposal to bring forward water and stormwater infrastructure to unlock that area - that would allow construction of up to 700 homes."

Mayor Kempthorne said staff were in the midst of working through the Council's Growth Model, which would give an updated picture of where and how much growth was expected to occur.

"At that point we will need to have another conversation with the community about providing more development infrastructure, and how it is funded."

Mayor Kempthorne pointed out that there was 46 hectares of residentially-zoned land in Richmond, Mapua and Motueka - enough for 469 sections - serviced and able to be developed now. There was a further 41 hectares (426 sections) either under construction or awaiting consent.

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