Lower Hutt commits to $39m river promenade as rates rise by average 4.3 per cent
Lower Hutt's residential rates will rise by an average of 4.3 per cent, as the council ramps up plans to rejuvenate the city.
Hutt city councillors signed off a 2.3 per cent increase in rates but, when the impact of a recent sharp increase in residential valuations is taken into account, the average is 4.3 per cent.
The council received 1300 submissions, with almost 71 per cent supporting plans to rejuvenate the city by investing in infrastructure and projects such as the $39 million river esplanade.
A change to the financial strategy allows the council to borrow up to 150 per cent of its annual income.
The adopted plan sees net debt peaking at 121 per cent of revenue.
Councillors had a lengthy debate on the feasibility of sporting hubs in Wainuiomata and Petone.
Some politicians appeared uncomfortable over the future of the $7.1m Petone Sportsville project.
Mayor Ray Wallace said that, after years of discussion, it was make or break time.
He supported spending $300,000 on design plans but said that, if the Petone clubs could not show they were 100 per cent behind the project, the council would have to walk away.
Features of the plan include:
* $4m for a community hub in Naenae and $7m for a Wainuiomata hub.
* $39m for RiverLink, the council project to turn the city towards the Hutt River.
* $7.3m on wharves, including demolishing Pt Howard.
* Additional funding for infrastructure work on the Petone Library ($1.5m), Naenae Pool ($2m), the Dowse Art Museum ($650,000) and the Hutt Recreation Ground ($700,000).
* An additional $3.7m for the council's Events Centre budget.
An attempt by Wainuiomata councillors Campbell Barry and Josh Briggs to rein in spending on RiverLink failed.
Wallace said the regional council's planned work on the stopbanks created an opportunity the city council could not ignore.
As well as a riverside promenade and improving access to the river, it includes a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Melling Station with the central city.
"The Hutt River is one of our most treasured assets, and this joint initiative is a once in a lifetime opportunity to significantly reduce the impact of flooding on the CBD and areas further south.
"We see this project as a catalyst to allow the CBD to grow with increased development of commercial and residential space in the city centre."
Although average residential rates rise by 4.3 per cent, residents in areas that experienced a higher than average increase in house valuations can expect a bigger increase.