Mon, May 20, 2024 10:54 AM

Road repairs, ice creams and wheelie bin problems among LTP submissions


Maia Hart

Hundreds of Marlburians have weighed in on the council’s spending plan for the next decade.

From road repairs to wheelie bins and sprinkler problems, the Marlborough District Council has been inundated with requests, and those it decides to adopt could change a rates rise currently sitting at 12.65%.

Three days have been blocked out in June so people can speak to their submissions in person, before deliberations take place later that month.

The Sounds road repairs, estimated to cost $230 million in total, is the biggest piece of work in the 2024-34 Long Term Plan. Marlborough must pay $104m, and the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi will cover the rest.

Of the 360 submissions received, 166 offered opinions on how the bill should be split.

Many of those opposed the council’s preferred option, which was for Sounds residents, excluding Havelock and Picton, to cover about 30% of the $104m bill as part of their rates, with five zones to split that 30% based on which areas needed the most expensive repairs.

The individual impact depended on each property’s land valuation, meaning the likes of farmers and forestry companies could cop the highest bills.

All other Marlborough ratepayers would cover the remaining 70% of the $104m, but as there were many more of them, when the 70% was split between them, the dollar amount they would pay would be far lower than the Sounds residents.

Many submitters felt that split was unfair, and some said the cost should be shared evenly by Marlborough ratepayers.

One submitter said the council’s “woeful” financial management of the roads in recent decades had led to a lack of maintenance that worsened the damage.

Marlborough Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Hamish Morrison acknowledged in his submission that he had been slow in getting up to speed on the Sounds proposals due to “busy farm life”.

“You should all know that farm land values do not necessarily equate to large profits, especially under the current economic and drought conditions,” his submission said.

“Yet we have to contribute more than those that own a holiday home down the Sounds and who will actually be using the roads on a regular basis.”

He pointed to the French Pass zone, which included the Ronga and Opouri valleys, and “mostly farmers”.

A lot of the zone’s repairs were further into the Sounds, which meant farmers in the valleys would have to stump up for a large repair bill for a road they did not often use.

In the Kenepuru zone, which had the highest repair bill, one submitter who lived near the zone’s edge had a similar concern.

“You are asking us to pay for roading damaged to the full length of Kenepuru Rd, which we do not use,” Patrick Trippier said in his submission.

“We find this process very unfair.”

Another Kenepuru resident also said it was unfair, though they said they were willing to pay more if it got the road fully restored.

“Many non-Sounds residents used Kenepuru Rd before the storm events and presumably will do so again if the road is fixed and reopened.”

However there were submissions that supported the council’s preferred option.

“I do not believe that all properties in Marlborough should contribute to the cost of roads in the Sounds,” a submitter said.

“Most people who own property in Marlborough do not use the roads in the Sounds, and they should not therefore be expected to contribute funding for this.”

Marlborough mayor Nadine Taylor said she was pleased by the strong interest.

“It’s really encouraging, because the LTP, of course, is our plan looking forward for the next 10 years.

“It’s really important that we get that input across the breadth of council work.

“There is over $5m in additional funding requests that have come in from the community ... we will be considering each and every one of those requests very carefully.

“That’s one of the challenges that we are elected to address.”

Other requests:

- Marlborough Netball Centre requested the council “explore” options to cover up to six courts at Lansdowne Park, estimated to cost $3.1m.
- The Blenheim Business Association said the CBD had raised “numerous complications” with the wheelie bin roll-out who did not have space to store bins.
- Garden Marlborough wanted Blenheim gardens in its show be exempt from water meter charges. The draft LTP budgeted $17m to introduce universal metering in 2028-30.
- The Rapaura Tennis Club requested an extra $5000 on top of its annual grant of $15,000 for maintaining its six grass tennis courts, said to also be the Rapaura War Memorial.
- The Christchurch Methodist Mission, a registered community housing provider, wanted to be exempt from development contributions along with other community housing providers.
- Marcus Pickens, general manager at Wine Marlborough, made a joint submission with Federated Farmers for a meeting with the council on water storage and supply concerns.
- The Picton Dawn Chorus requested $225,000 or $75,000 per year for three years, to help fund staff wages and overheads.
- The East Coast Protection Group requested $20,000 to employ a monitoring contractor.
- Sarah Cowan, who ran a real fruit ice cream and coffee cart on the Picton foreshore, wanted a site on the foreshore for a semi-permanent shop.
- The Marlborough Equestrian Park asked for irrigation, budgeted at $320,000.
- The Havelock Museum requested $35,000 to “engage” a museum manager.
- Jane Orphan requested $60,000 for the 2025 Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow and $65,000 for 2027, totalling $125,000.
- New Zealand Police community constable Russell Smith wanted CCTV cameras for Havelock and Victoria Domain in Picton.
- The Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust requested $69,000 towards new theatre equipment, such as a digital console control centre, wireless beltpack and headsets and new laptops.
- Rick Edmonds requested $30,000 annually to maintain the Link Pathway Te Aro Tuhono.
- The Blenheim Community Patrol Charitable Trust requested an increase of their current grant from $5000 to $8000.
- The Salvation Army requested a $15,000 annual operating grant.


LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

Marlborough App Logo
Marlborough App
Marlborough App is owned by Top South Media. a locally owned media company.