Councillors have been listening to oral submissions for two days, and have heard many viewpoints on the range of proposals outlined in the LTP 2018-2028 consultation document.
During today’s deliberations, Council undertook to install two filtered water stations in the city – at locations yet to be determined. Should demand require it, Council would look at whether to build additional stations in the future.
Councillor Graeme Taylor spoke in strong support of funding the two stations. “We’re in the business of providing choice and those people who wish to make that choice and travel to the dechlorinated water station will now have that choice.” Council officers will now begin to investigate possible locations for the two stations, ahead of a final decision on the matter.
Day one also saw strong support for a number of other Council proposals. Councillors were in favour of spending $21.4m on the first 12 rejuvenation projects laid out in the Ahuriri Masterplan. Deputy Mayor Faye White echoed the positive mood of the Councillors around the table, saying “these projects will enhance the area and build on using our natural environments sustainably and encourage tourism.”
There was open discussion on the proposal to invest in a new Napier Aquatic Centre on a greenfields site on the corner of Tamatea and Prebensen Drives. A number of Councillors spoke in opposition, citing a preference to return to the 50m pool development option, but the majority were in favour, with the inclusion of some caveats. These were, namely, that some good outdoor space be built into the new complex, that a geotech report into the new site be completed and tabled, that Council agrees the tender process and that a post-move development plan is put in place for the current pools site in Onekawa. Councillor Annette Brosnan, who resides close to the potential new site, spoke warmly of the proposal and of the opportunities it will present for current and future generations, the vastly increased water space it affords, as well as the increase in green space that the redevelopment of the Onekawa land will provide.
The National Aquarium of New Zealand expansion project also got the green light to proceed to the detailed business case stage, pending central Government approval. Half of all submissions on this LTP project were in favour – 19% were against and 31% declined the question. Councillor Claire Hague described the tangible excitement around the project she experienced while out in the community during the consultation period. Meanwhile Mayor Bill Dalton reassured Councillors that the project needs to go through a number of ‘gateways’ prior to the design and build phase – and that the project can’t progress without central Government and external funding support. Councillors were in support of endorsing the project given the partnership opportunities with entities like Weta Workshop, Air New Zealand and the University of Waikato and were, in general, supportive of the Aquarium’s ability to create a unique tourism experience, grow economic and employment opportunities, and extend kids’ capital in Napier.
All recommendations made during deliberations will now go to a full Council meeting to be adopted on June 29 at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s chambers.
Discussions on leasehold land, balancing Council projects, and general submissions are ongoing and may spill into tomorrow.