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Motueka gets better deal in TDC project timings

September 25th, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka is receiving a better slice of the TDC cake over the coming nine months, following Council decisions to approve or bring forward some infrastructure projects.

As reported in TDC's Newsline September publication, final meetings of the current Council approved some changes to the Long Term and Annual Plans, thanks to a much improved financial position.

The full Council meeting on September 15th agreed to begin the process of classifying 59 reserves in Motueka, starting with a draft plan for the future management of all the reserves in the area. Public feedback will be sought from November.

Council also approved funding for the third and final stage of undergrounding of overhead power and telecommunications lines in High Street Motueka from the minor improvements programme budget.

Wit the second stage - from the clocktower to Whakarewa Street - nearing completion, the third stage will see lines from Poole Street to just north of Fearon Street moved underground.

Another plus for the Motueka Ward will see the re-prioritisation of the upgrade of the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri water plant into the coming year, ahead of work on the Collingwood and Pohara water supply treatment plant upgrades.

Present Councillor Peter Canton says these changes show TDC is thinking a bit more than in the past about Motueka's needs, and are a good sign for the future.

"I have a feeling that after a long period of belt tightening, particularly for Motueka, we're starting to see Motueka's voice being heard a bit more."

TDC finished the 2015-16 year (June 30th) with net debt at $129m, a huge $44m less than forecast in its annual plan.

A portion of that reduction is because of delays to some large capital projects. Other reasons include favourable interest and borrowing conditions and higher than anticipated income, partly due to a higher population growth than forecast.

While careful attention to finances remains a strong influence on Council decision making, it is being recognised that favourable conditions allows for a little more flexibility for the 2016-17 year.

All candidates for the Motueka Ward at the upcoming elections have said they want to advance the town's stormwater upgrade and library/hub projects to earlier time slots than currently allocated in the Long Term Plan.

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