Carterton Mayor John Booth tests his bag-packing skills at Carterton New World. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

The words “long term plan” may cause a few eyes to glaze over, but it’s probably the most important council document there is.

That’s why Carterton has taken its consultation to the next level.

Gone are the days of simply holding a workshop or public meeting.

This year, councillors have been hitting the streets – well, bars, restaurants, and shops – to make sure their long term plan ideas reach as many of their 9000 or so residents as possible.

And with items like the expansion of rubbish and recycling services on the list – including food waste collection – and a whopping 9.4 per cent average rates hike, thorough community consultation is critical.

The long term plan – or as Carterton calls it, the Ten Year Plan – is a consultation document that sets out the council’s intentions for the next decade.

The plan is reviewed every three years to align with the district’s priorities and to address issues.

Over the weekend, Carterton residents may have run into a few of their councillors and Mayor John Booth in what is the council’s new method of consultation.

On Friday night, the team hit the Royal Oak tavern to talk about the long term plan over a pint, and on Sunday, the team bagged their residents’ groceries at Carterton New World – chatting casually about what the next 10 years in the town should look like.

“We just wanted to up our game,” Mr Booth said.

“The Royal Oak was an interesting experience.

“There was a group of farmers, a group of loggers, and a group of other locals.

“The questions were pretty intense at times — a lot of our urban ratepayers are facing quite a large rate increase, and they wanted a further explanation.

“An interesting comment from one or two people was, can you stop Carterton from growing so fast because it means we all have to pay for the infrastructure.”

Mr Booth said people were asking some really good questions, “which is the point of all this”.

“For Carterton, in the next 10 years, we are really sticking to our knitting,” Mr Booth said.

“We’re not doing anything fancy.

“Affordability is really critical in this community – so it’s all about key infrastructure, replacements, upgrades, sticking to those main areas.”

Carterton District Council’s public consultation on the Ten Year Plan closes on May 23 with public hearings and deliberations scheduled for May 31 to June 1.

Council will finalise the Ten Year Plan on June 20, and adopt it on June 27.

South Wairarapa District Council on the other hand is a step further along the timeline with their long term plan process, having held its public hearings this week.

In this council’s public consultation period in mid-April, three public meetings were held across the three towns: Greytown, Featherston, and Martinborough.

Two hours into the Featherston meeting, Mayor Viv Napier attempted to draw the meeting to a close, but was rebuked by former mayoral candidate Liz Mellish, who said it was council’s job to stay and answer all residents’ questions.

The council’s chief executive Paul Crimp told residents that spatial planning, district-wide promotion, and support for youth had been identified as areas of focus for the council’s long term plan.

The average residential rates increase for South Wairarapa towns would be: Featherston, 7.2 per cent; Greytown 5.5 per cent; and Martinborough, 5.3 per cent.

The council will adopt its long term plan on June 27.

Masterton’s long term plan was much bigger than the decision on its town hall.

It sought feedback on big ideas – things such as moving the library to somewhere with a view of the river, making access to green spaces less of hazardous dash across multiple lanes of traffic, and providing better access between the town centre and the railway station.

While $3.63 million over 10 years is included in the council’s long term plan consultation document, a further $6m was signalled as a possible option to expand ideas in years six and seven.

 

If all the “four big ideas” contained in the council’s ‘Shaping Our Town Centre’ come to fruition, more money would be needed but would be consulted on in future long term plans.

The average rates increase would be 6.7 per cent for the 2018/19 year.

In the next three years the average rates increase will be 6.3 per cent and over the 10 years of the plan, the average annual rates increase will be 5 per cent.

Masterton District Council’s long term plan hearings are scheduled for May 29-31 and will be adopted on June 27.