Annual Report 2016/2017

Opening of Thames Powerco Skate Park, 6 May 2017

Our Council adopted the 2016/2017 Annual Report at its 31 October meeting.

The Annual Report provides a snapshot of how we delivered on projects, services and spending compared to forecasts for the financial year in the Annual Plan.

Message from the Chief Executive and Mayor | Mai i te Kaiwhakahaere Wahine a Te Meia

An Annual Report provides a snapshot of what Council has been delivering during the year. 2016/17 has been a busy year.

We have delivered on 84% of our capital works programme - a significant positive improvement on previous years. The total Council operational spend this year was $80 million, which was in line with our budgets for the 2016/17 Annual Plan and had us in a strong enough financial position to respond to some big costs from serious weather and fire events. We are proud of being an organisation that is reasonably resilient in response to emergency events.

Our coastal infrastructure has seen some upgrading with the Tairua Wharf and boat ramp development completed. With 400km of coastline, our District enjoys the benefits and challenges of having an array of coastal communities, and coastal infrastructure. More work needs to be done on our boat ramps and marine facilities as funding allows. We also need to contemplate what effect climatic changes may have on our coastal communities. For this reason we have been working on a range of strategies relating to coastal management and coastal hazards. We look forward to receiving community feedback on these in October/November 2017.

Council completed the upgrade to the Thames water supply and brought forward the other upgrades for the district to ensure we comply with the NZ Drinking Water Standards. Our investment in core infrastructure is timely as local stormwater and wastewater systems have been put under pressure by the weather events of the last six months and the nationwide focus on safe drinking water has renewed community interest in our water networks. We continue to engage with the challenge of providing infrastructure (whether it be water, wastewater or solid waste) that provides a level of service that meets the expectations of our resident and peak season visitor populations - and the demands of central government.

There has been a focus on our community and recreational facilities across the district, with the development of walkways that provide an improved amenity and leisure option for residents and visitors alike. The second stage of the Mercury Bay Cemetery continues; and preparations for the Mercury Bay town centre upgrade are well underway for commencement in 2018.

The Thames Skate Park, Pepe Loop Track and Thames Indoor Sports Facility are an example of what can be achieved when Council works with interested groups and stakeholders. We were successful in receiving a government grant for upgrading the Hot Water Beach toilets. Formation of meaningful partnerships and pursuing user pays options are all ways we will look to ensure the "best bang for our buck" - and reducing the burden on our ratepayers.

In 2017 Rob, our Chief Executive, took some time to evaluate how the organisation is actually responding to the needs of our communities. This culminated in a change in organisational structure which we are confident will ensure we deliver the best service to you, our customers.

Our staff and elected members are currently working together to develop a 2018-2028 Long Term Plan proposal. This sets out the types of projects we propose to undertake during this time period, and how these are prioritised and funded. Your knowledge and understanding of this district is important to us, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to read, engage with, and contribute feedback, to this document in March/April 2018.

Mayor Sandra Goudie & Chief Executive Rob Williams