Annual Report 2015/2016

Message from the Chief Executive

He nui ngā kai kei runga i a Moehau, me he tangata koe whai mai
There is an abundance of food on Moehau if you are a person who is prepared to seek it

Success in local government requires teamwork, focus and commitment. Our council and our communities work hard to achieve success for this district whilst acknowledging there are always improvements we can make to streamline our processes and attain better outcomes.

An organisation's annual report is a useful snapshot in understanding how that organisation services its customers. It's reassuring to me to see that our team seems to be doing its best for the community every day, actively aiming for continuous improvement. It does not mean that we are perfect and I believe that there is room for improvement but we have the people on board to make a positive difference. As such I'm pleased to present this 2015/16 Annual Report, which is my first as the Thames-Coromandel District Chief Executive.

Increased demand in the local housing market has been good news for many in our community, and the council has generally delivered on its part in meeting the increased demand on council services, like Land Information Memoranda (LIMs), building consents and resource consents.

We joined the Waikato Building Consent Group on 1 July 2016, which was the result of six months of concerted effort to align our systems and processes across the region. This is an important step to make working with us easier for our customers and for those in the industry. The Waikato Building Consent Group aims for consistency in building control services, to improve customer service and assists with maintaining BCA accreditation. It also strengthens our voice as part of the regional group to engage with government proposals and legislative change which affect the building industry.

More building puts a spotlight on other parts of our business, like our infrastructure services. We need roads to access these new buildings, wastewater pipes out of them and water supply pipes in. Our infrastructure costs money to build and money to maintain, as well as needing a team of people to support this. The vast majority of our annual expenditure is on these core services and it's important that we get them right. There have been times when we have taken on too much which are a constant reminder that we need to be aware of what capacity we have as an organisation and to only set out to deliver what we can realistically achieve.

More building does not necessarily equate to more people. We still anticipate slow population growth across the district, and we shouldn't lose sight that approximately 55% of our ratepayers live outside our area. This presents both opportunities and challenges for our services and we are lucky to have a strong ratepayer base to enable us to pay for everything that we undertake.
We have had many successes this year: Public notification of Council's decisions on the Proposed District Plan.

Ensuring our bylaws meet the needs of our council, including a review of the Dog Control Bylaw and making new bylaws for Maritime Facilities, Standards of Camping on Private Property and Fires in the Open.

Completion of the necessary pre-construction milestones for the Thames Indoor Sports Facility so that building can begin in 2016/17. Underlying all of this is a commitment by our council towards improving the way we work and doing the right thing for our communities. Thank you for your indulgence and in numerous instances for working directly alongside us as we progress.

Rob Williams