Public to have say on issues

16:00, Mar 21 2014

Clean air, higher rates in the south of the city and the demise of Vibrant Invercargill are matters the public will be able to debate in the next couple of months.

The Invercargill City Council's draft annual plan was released yesterday, with the council asking for feedback on everything from the creation of the inner-city co-ordination role to donations to the Bluff Coastguard and Breathing Space Trust.

Major challenges the council faces are also up for discussion, including the way it should fund earthquake assessments of buildings, how it should cover potential government road funding shortfall and a water management policy that is likely to hit council in the pocket..

Council chief executive Richard King said the city's failure to meet air quality standards had also forced the council to look at ways of improving Invercargill's air, with a pilot scheme proposed to reduce emissions from homes through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority project.

Mr King said that would involve the council borrowing money and then lending it to ratepayers at a higher rate to help them replace inefficient heating systems with efficient heatpumps.

The owner would then pay off that loan through their rates each year, he said.


The council had failed to meet air quality standards more than 13 times in the past year and Environment Southland was pressuring the council to do something about it, he said.

The controversial end of Vibrant Invercargill is also in sight, although ratepayers are being asked to choose exactly how they want the inner city promoted.

Mr King said the $80,000 a year the council provided for promoting and working with inner-city businesses would remain the same, but who used that money was up for discussion.

A survey last year showed people wanted an inner-city representative to work closer with the council and it was responding to that by changing Vibrant's role, he said.

Invercargill residents could choose whether they wanted a town centre co-ordinator based at the council, for Venture Southland to take over the role, or for a separate group to continue running it.

Those living in south Invercargill could be further out of pocket as the community is asked to consider stumping up funding for South Alive.

An idea for south Invercargill to have a higher rate increase to fund the co-ordinator role at South Alive is also being touted.

Mr King said it was only an idea at this stage, but a similar thing happened in Bluff, where the town was rated differently to support the community board.

South Alive chairman Colin Anderson was not forthcoming on the details of the proposition, but said he had approached the council six months ago about it. He confirmed the money would be used to continue the co-ordinator role, held by Janette Malcolm.

Cr Rebecca Amundsen, one of only two councillors who live south of Tweed St, said she was uncertain about the support the proposal would get, but thought it was important for people to give their views.

The draft annual plan will be discussed at Tuesday's extraordinary council meeting before it is put out for submissions on March 29.

The submission period closes on April 30.



Food for thought in the annual plan.

1. Proposed targeted rates for south Invercargill to support South Alive.

2. A one-year trial of providing loans to homeowners to improve their heating systems and improve Invercargill's air quality.

3. Do you want a town co-ordinator? The council is proposing to get rid of Vibrant Invercargill and replace it with a town co-ordinator based at the council, or giving the job to Venture Southland.

4. Changes to fees for animal control. All dog owners will automatically be charged a standard fee and will then have to apply to be considered a responsible owner. Currently, dog owners are automatically considered responsible. Fees will also increase.

5. The council is asking for ideas on ways to deal with earthquake-prone buildings. The council has $100,000 in its budget to address new legislative requirements but wants feedback on whether the council should be helping to strengthen or fund building assessments.

The Southland Times