Looking back, looking ahead
(Posted on: May 24)
As we draw the 2018/19 council year to a close, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and look ahead to the coming year.
With our strong rural communities and thriving country town, our district is in great shape and here at the Manawatū District Council, we’re proud to play our part in this vibrant place.
Our 16 Community Committees are doing great work with projects from the Apiti and Kimbolton Gateways, to village walkways, playground fencng and signage. We welcomed 66 new citizens via our Citizenship Ceremonies, awarded 5 Community Honours and helped 32 of our talented sportspeople pursue their goals.
An increased focus on the youth of our District saw Council supporting the CACTUS Youth programme, where 36 young people undertook a challenging 8-week programme to boost their confidence and motivation. The Youth Ambassadors have also been busy, running the popular Young Achievers Awards, the Colour Run, and supporting Whanau Day.
The Makino Aquatic Centre and Library have attracted record numbers of visitors for fitness programmes, swimming lessons, learning events and community activities. We are restoring Kowhai park to its iconic status and our playing grounds are in constant use.
One of Council’s core roles is looking after the infrastructure in our District – the roads and bridges we drive on, the water we drink and what happens when a toilet is flushed.
Feilding’s new wastewater system is now irrigating treated wastewater onto Council owned farmland. This means that for the first time in 60 years, treated wastewater is no longer being continuously discharged into the Oroua River, significantly improving the river’s health.
We’re also improving our resilience to weather events. This has meant a new bridge in the Pohangina Valley, repair of the Campbell’s Line bridge and a number of Civil Defence drills involving all our partner agencies.
The Safer Journeys for Schools programme has seen the speed limits changed and electronic signage installed around the Hiwinui School, with the design work completed ready for implimentation at several other schools.
We’re doing our bit in the sustainability and climate change space. Having secured funding from the Provincial Growth Fund, planning is underway for a new recycling centre which could process a broader range of plastics and other materials.
We’ve also been working on our customer service. Moving our building and resource consent processes online has made life easier for applicants, we’ve been improving our te reo and our customer contact team ranked second out of 78 councils for their service.
Managing and making the most of the growth opportunities is one of the key challenges for our District.
With three billion dollars of government investment headed our region’s way for projects like the Manawatū Gorge Road replacement and an anticipated 1700 new homes in our District over the coming 10 years, Council will need to build new roads, footpaths, water, wastewater and storm water systems.
Our Wastewater Centralisation project will pipe untreated or pretreated wastewater from seven villages to the Feilding Wastewater Treatment plant. This is cheaper than making the necessary upgrades to the current village plants and will remove discharge from 80 kilometres of waterways. The section between Rongotea and Mt. Stewart will be done first.
We will also be replacing the Mangaweka Bridge (a joint project with the Rangitikei District Council and the NZ Transport Agency) and building a new road from Turners Road to Kawakawa Road as a first step in developing the industrial area.
Improvements planned for our parks, reserves and community facilities include returning Kowhai Park to its iconic status, constructing a walkway from James Palmer Park to Rimu Park, and strengthening and upgrading the Te Kawau Recreation Centre.
We’re also working on what the future looks like for our town centre, having asked communities all around the District for their ideas. This includes working with our neighbouring councils, government and Engineering NZ to help building owners with the new Earthquake Prone Building regulations, as the heritage buildings and traditional aesthetic of our town are important to many in the community.
We’re grateful to all those people in our community who are working to make the Manawatū a better place – whether that’s through an official position such as in a volunteering role, being on a Community Committee or as a Youth Ambassador, or unofficially by sharing skills or ideas, being a good neighbour or taking care of those around them.
We’re looking forward to working collectively on what comes next for our beautiful, vibrant District.