Nelson City Council’s 2020/21 draft Annual Plan was released 17 March, as communities worldwide grapple with the challenge of the Covid-19 virus.

With pandemic plans in the process of being rolled out, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says Council will need to be mindful of the virus’s impact on Council’s work programme. 

“The work undertaken by Council is key to the functioning of the Nelson economy, and maintaining our programme of works will assist in providing economic certainty for local businesses during what will be a testing time.”
The Consultation Document proposes a rate rise of 3.7%, 0.6% higher than set out for 2020/21 in the 2018 Long Term Plan. 

The increase is to ensure Council is funded to carry out necessary work and deliver the services that the Nelson community needs.
However, Mayor Reese says she is committed to looking for savings before the Annual Plan is finalised at the end of June.
“I will continue to work with the Chief Executive over the next two months, to go through the plan in detail and see where we may be able to find further cost reductions without impacting Council performance.”
Key changes in the Annual Plan include bringing forward crucial work on our stormwater and wastewater systems to protect against flooding, which impacted on the region in 2013.
With the frequency of storms expected to increase, Gracefield Sewer Diversion is key to reducing overflow during heavy rainfall events. 

Stormwater system upgrades on Mount and Konini Streets will get underway, helping to control overland flows that have previously caused slips in the area.
Creating a sustainable transport culture is another key focus for the Plan with several projects aiming for completion this year. 

These include a move to zero-waste, ticketless parking machines, the introduction of electronic ticketing on our bus system and new shared pathways, making it easier for Nelsonians to choose to leave the car at home.
The issue of housing affordability is also addressed in the Annual Plan with Council proposing that the entire proceeds of a sale of community housing to a third-party social housing provider go towards a Housing Reserve. This money would allow Council to work with partners who can deliver more social and affordable housing in our city.
“Nelsonians have told us that increasing the supply of social and affordable homes is important to them and it is a key priority for Council over the next three years. The proposed Housing Reserve will allow Council to help strategically with projects that meet a pressing need.”
The Annual Plan contains several new developments for the Maitai River Precinct, including a brand new pop up playground situated next to the Elma Turner Library and further plans for more open public space and improved links to the city.
In addition, a trial for food waste collection is among new initiatives in the Plan. 
The food waste trial will last for 12 months and will be available to 220 households in Nelson. Diverting food from landfill is a key factor in reducing methane emissions.
The 2020/21 Annual Plan is out for public consultation from now until 17 April.
To see the full Annual Plan consultation document and make a submission go to the Nelson City Council website..