A new way forward for the Western Bay of Plenty

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The pace of change in local government is accelerating, and Western Bay of Plenty District Council is ready to keep pace.

Amid a flurry of major policy reforms: three waters, resource management, climate change and the health system – we are working hard with clear direction, financial prudence, and careful planning to ensure the Western Bay prospers through the coming changes.

While there is still uncertainty about what the future of local government will look like, we are committed to delivering better public services, in partnership with others. Whether it is maintaining our roads, rubbish and recycling, or complying with drinking water standards, what we do now sets up our communities in the future.

The voices of our community matter to us and are critical in our decisions for how to prioritise the services we deliver across the District, so they contribute to wellbeing but don’t create unnecessary challenges for future generations.

The Western Bay remains one of the country’s fastest growing provincial districts in New Zealand, so it’s vitally important that our long term planning is robust. Over the last year we have engaged with record numbers of people in our communities receiving 44,206 pieces of feedback on our proposed Long Term Plan 2021-2031.

At the end of June Council made its final decision on the Long Term Plan, endeavouring to balance the competing tensions between investment in critical infrastructure, rates affordability and responding to the many community requests for funding and projects.

I believe we are a Council that is responsive, in touch with our community, and proactively manages change. Other agencies in the public sector already see us as a reliable partner they can work with effectively.

Together we can achieve great things, and it’s exciting to see more collaboration in the region. We are working closely with neighbouring councils, central government and key agencies to continue to progress the development of the sub-region, with projects such as the Takitimu North Link and the Rangiuru Business Park. These are massive projects that will make a real difference to people.

On our home turf, this July will see the start of Council’s kerbside rubbish and recycling collection. This new service will increase the amount of material diverted from landfill by about 60 per cent – around 1800 tonnes a year.

It is changes such as this, which may be confronting to some, that will make a difference in preserving the Western Bay for future generations.

These are interesting times, but I believe with change comes great opportunity. Whatever the future may hold, I can assure you Western Bay of Plenty District Council will be ready.

  • Garry Webber is the Mayor of Western Bay of Plenty District Council
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