The Central Otago District Council 2021-31 long-term plan was adopted last week following 18 months of work.

At a full meeting of the CODC in Alexandra, the decade-long work programme and its associated budget were agreed by councillors, discussion limited to that of reduced funding from NZ Transport Agency and the need to adjust budgets.

It includes an average rate increase across the district of 6.7% in year one (ending 2022) and five key development proposals that were presented to the public in the consultation document “Framing our Future”.

They involved the district museum function, the Cromwell Masterplan, and three community-led projects Park development, the Omakau Community Hub and the Roxburgh community pool upgrade.

A record 852 submissions were received as a result of the month-long consultation process. Community board hearings and deliberations were held in May, when boards considered ward-specific proposals before the board recommendations went to the council for consideration at hearings and deliberations on June 1-2.

All five options will be progressed by council with tweaks.

The district-wide component of the Cromwell Masterplan would be reviewed after year two once the urban design had been completed to help address concerns the council was unnecessarily removing buildings that could continue to be used as they were or be repurposed.

The CODC had also delayed implementation of the district museum function to enable sector feedback on alternative options to be worked through and reported back within three months.

As a result of the reduced funding from NZTA announced a week ago, some changes had to be made to the final budgets for roading activity, which staff discussed with councillors at the meeting.

The CODC received $4.9million less than requested and staff reprioritised the work programme to minimise the impact.

The reduction in funding did not affect year one rates but the reduction in funding and the rework of the roading programme, year two (2022-23) rates have signalled a movement from 7.2% to 7.8% on average, and year three from 7.7% to 7.6%.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said it had been a long road and much work by staff and elected members.

Community engagement meant one in 27 people in Central Otago contributed feedback on the plan.

“The Central Otago community can be proud of what it has achieved here, again being one of the most engaged communities in New Zealand with its council.”