Written Q&A from Annual Plan Consultation – Greytown, 20 May 2020

Questions and answers from ratepayers:

Q1: Thank you SWDC for continuing the AP process under Covid-19 restrictions. Many residents may not understand the shortage of recreational space in Greytown let alone the impact on the community if we miss out on this opportunity to secure a council-owned asset. Our towns are continuing to grow so if this opportunity is lost does the council have other viable options or a plan B in place? – Jackie Gray, Greytown Sport & Leisure Society

A1: [Beijen] The current proposal is being considered in the Annual Plan (AP) process and we’re reacting to a current situation. If the community – through the submission process – disagree with this, any alternatives will be considered as part of the Long Term Plan (LTP) next year. So, yes there’d be a Plan B reaction from Council, as there would still be an unfulfilled need for recreational green space in Greytown but we’re unable to say at this stage what that space would be.


Q2: I agree with Jackie. What is plan b? If those two green spaces are gone, there is only one community/council-owned space in Greytown for recreational activity. If Memorial Park is the only space , how does council plan to administer multiple sport codes at the one park as no single code has More right to use those spaces over another just because they have always been there’. The sale of the east street properties will put more pressure on the council to fairly allocate access to the remaining space. – Shane Fawdray

A2: [Beijen] Refer A1


Q3: If the council were to buy the Greytown Rugby Club land on East St, will there be an opportunity to pull the fence down along East St to open this greenspace up and to look at putting in a walking track around the outside, maybe even a skate/wheels park so the entire community can enjoy this space?- Tim Fenwick

A3: [Beijen] We understand there has already been discussion between Greytown Sport and Leisure and the Greytown Rugby Club and that plans are in place to make the grounds and the Clubrooms more user friendly for the wider community. This has included a suggestion of removing the fence, so that certainly would be an option.


Q4: How much was Stella Bull reserve sold for and what was the reserve contribution to council from Tararua Junction? – Nathan Fenwick

A4: [Wilson] We’ll get back to you with that information.

Post-meeting clarification:  The Stella Bull Reserve sold for $1.5 million. [Reserve contribution from Tararua Junction to come]


Q5: There is information currently circulating Greytown that the rates increase is between 13% and 18%. Could you please tell us if this is correct? – Gary Hewson

A5: [Beijen] The rates increase is 13% (18% is the increase in operating costs which is only one element of Council’s budget) but Council is spreading this increase over 5 years by taking out a low-interest loan. Therefore, the net effect is an average 2.54% increase.

[Wilson] Noted 67% of Council’s income is from rates. It’s critical to ensure we’re using both sides of the balance sheet. The amount of funding (income) we need to meet the objectives in this annual plan is an increase of 13%. In terms of the actual impact to ratepayers, Council’s decision was to borrow at a very low-interest rate to smooth the direct impact to ratepayers. So, confirming an average 2.54% is the increase you would see on your rates bill.


Q6: The opportunity to create a full-size gym facility for all of South Wairarapa young and old and only contribute 25% to the build cost and have a ‘free build site’ with a guaranteed tenant overseeing maintenance is an obvious opportunity the Council has recognised. Plan B has been mentioned tonight. Does the Council have plans to provide a similar facility if it doesn’t partner the College and leverage this unique and rare opportunity? – John O’Connell

A6: [Beijen] No, this is a unique opportunity. If it does not proceed but the community still feels a facility is needed, then submissions could be made to the Long Term Plan (LTP) next year.


Q7: Does each town have a reserves fund? What is the current state of the Greytown one? How much are developers required to contribute? – Katie

A7: [Wilson] Yes, each town has a number of reserves. These are taken from development fees and used towards infrastructure, including water, roading and greenspace. Each development is required to provide a percentage cost (about 3% of value) and this goes into the reserves. There are funds in the Greytown reserves but not nearly enough to cover the proposed sports hub development. Council is able to get a loan at very low-interest rate to fund the proposal. The cost of land in Greytown is escalating, so if we waited for there to be enough money to purchase this type of land, the value of the land would continue to outstrip the value of the reserves.

Post-meeting clarification: Approximately 18% of developer contributions are deposited to the Restricted Reserve Fund, which is available to provide for the acquisition and development of reserves and open spaces in response to population growth arising from subdivision. The infrastructure portion which makes up the bulk of contributions sits in the Infrastructure Reserve, which has a different purpose. 

As at the end of last financial year, the Restricted Reserve had a balance of $996,000, of which the Greytown portion was $660,500.


Q8: What was the reserve contribution for “the orchards” retirement village in Greytown?- James Emery

Post-meeting note: The Council agreed to set aside the reserves contribution component of the fee ($247,500) given the applicant’s agreement to provide open, green space, walk areas and grounds for public use, which would benefit the whole Greytown community. This decision by Council was consistent with the Commissioner’s recommendation and decision.


As set out in the District Plan, Council can charge developers a reserves contribution of 0.25% of the total value of the subdivided land in rural zones (Rule 23.2.2) and can waive the fee if certain criteria are met, including that the activity “enhances an existing reserve or the open space of the locality” (Rule 23.2.3).


Questions arising from submissions/on key topics:

Q9: What’s happening with SWDC’s website? Why can’t we pay all our rates and fees online?

A9: [Wilson] We’re currently in the process of upgrading our website. It is our intent that stakeholders will be able to transact with Council either by forms or online payments before the end of the year.


Q10: Why does the SWDC building team continue to be the hardest to deal with? It’s deterring development in the district. Developers would rather go to Carterton or Masterton.


A10: [Wilson] Assurance that SWDC building team provides a robust and rigorous service. It’s very important that when we sign off a building consent or Code of Compliance that the building meets the requirements of the Building Act. This assures current and future homeowners that the property is safe and secure and their investment protected from a regulatory perspective.


[Beijen] Feedback we’ve received is that there’s been a consistent and steady improvement in customer satisfaction in this area. This can only improve further with increased capability.


Q11: Can transfer stations (except recycling) be made primarily a user pays service so those who compost, recycle and minimise our waste are not penalised by those who don't?

A11: [Beijen] We’re working towards this with our waste minimisation strategy, along with the other Wairarapa councils. Also requesting public feedback to determine exactly what form this will take. [Wilson] We’ve received submissions from rural ratepayers who don’t have the benefit of kerbside recycling, and therefore are required to pay to dispose of general waste, so we need to get the balance right in the way we charge for our waste disposal.

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