Annual Report 2014/2015

Message from the Mayor and Chief Executive

This year, much of the attention of elected members and council staff has been on the  successful adoption of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan. While it is important to focus on our future, we also can't lose sight of what is going on around us, and to contribute to that spirit which makes the Coromandel unique. We are proud to present our 2014/2015 Annual Report which sets out our successes - for the year and explains where progress has been slower than anticipated. We are proud to be a council which can honestly say we are doing our best for the residents and ratepayers of the Thames-Coromandel District.

We have had a busy year with progressing our anchor projects, in particular the planting of the first trees of our World War I Memorial Forest Project (Te Wao Whakamaumaharatanga), and ensuring the success of our community empowerment model, with Community Boards actively involved in local decision making which has a real impact in their communities. This includes spending on local roads and economic development projects, to involvement in setting the direction for bylaws and policies and influencing the budgets within the Long Term Plan. In June 2015 we opened the Pauanui Community Hub, now housing the Pauanui Library and Information Centre, and throughout 2014/2015 we made solid progress on our plans for the Thames Indoor Sports Facility, including the granting of resource consent for this project. The partnerships we have with our communities are fundamental to the successes we have as Council.

We also extended our network of sealed roads by 14 kilometres to a total 471 kilometres through dust sealing, traction sealing and acquisition of existing sealed roads.  A number of district-wide stormwater renewals were completed, and we made significant progress in connecting Ohuka Park in Mercury Bay to the district water supply. It is important to acknowledge the hard work of our infrastructure teams and Council's infrastructure committee here - upgrades, renewals and maintenance of these assets is seldom exciting though they make up our biggest budget lines and are the bread and butter of our operations.

This was an important year for our proposed District Plan project, with staff, commissioners and elected members undertaking a huge amount of work around reviewing submissions and facilitating eleven public hearings. We look forward to advancing the District Plan review in 2015/2016.

We also had some setbacks. A number of our infrastructure projects ran over time and have not fully delivered what we intended. Progress has been slower than we would have liked on our Great Walks project, however we are confident that we can catch up in the year ahead and we should keep in mind the old adage that Rome wasn't built in a day. Learning we have received $1 million of Lotteries grant funding towards this project was great news to end the year on. We continue to strive towards better servicing the needs of our communities and making improvements on the year before.

In 2014/2015 we spent a total of $14.3 million on capital works less than our projected spend of $24.4 million. This has been a challenge for a number of years and as Council we have a real focus on setting realistic goals. As a result, we have a renewed focus ensuring each workstream we undertake is accurately planned and we are determined to better deliver our projects in coming years.

For us as well as our communities the report is a timely reminder of the need to continue to look after our assets while increasing our on focus economic development on the Peninsula and promoting ourselves as a premier tourism destination and a great place to live and work.

We look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the coming year and to continuing the conversation with our communities on the future of our district and how we as an organisation can meet their needs and expectations.