Annual Report shows continuing growth in Selwyn

Mayor Sam Broughton

Continuing growth and development has been highlighted in the district council’s annual report for the 2016/17 year.

The report, adopted at the district council’s meeting, shows Selwyn’s population is now estimated to be 56,000 with growth expected to continue in the coming years.

The district council achieved 86 per cent of its performance targets for the year with 70 per cent of residents rating the district council’s overall performance as “good” or “very good” in this year’s residents opinion survey.

Building activity has remained strong with 2527 building consents issued during the year, to a total value of more than $600 million.

Mayor Sam Broughton said the district council is supporting the growth with investment in services, infrastructure and community activities across the district.

“Selwyn people value the quality of life they enjoy here,” he said.

“As a district council, we are working hard to protect and maintain that, and help residents and businesses make the most of the opportunities our district offers,” he said.

A project was launched this year to update the Selwyn District Plan, which controls the activities allowed on different properties, guides future development and makes provision for protection of the district’s environment and heritage.

Progress on Rolleston’s town centre also took a significant step forward, as ministerial approval was granted to allow redevelopment of part of Rolleston Reserve for a library, community space and commercial and retail centre.

Foster Park in Rolleston has been expanded with a new hockey mini-turf, along with three new sports fields, additional landscaping and the design and development of a children’s playground.

Car parking extensions here and at the Selwyn Aquatic Centre will support the growing importance of these facilities as district sport and recreation hubs.

In Darfield, the redevelopment of the skate area at Westview Park was completed, while the Leeston skate bowl was also revamped.

Earthquake strengthening of district council facilities is now mostly completed with work at Darfield Library finished this year.

The new Dunsandel Community Centre, which replaces the former hall damaged in the September 4, 2010, earthquake, was largely completed during the 2016/17 year and is now in operation.

Significant roading projects included the opening of the new 2.6km Coalgate to Glentunnel cycleway and the construction of 530m of new footpaths.

Other projects were the upgrading of Masefield Drive, Rolleston, the extension of Broadlands Drive and the installation of a new roundabout at the junction of Springston Rolleston and Broadlands Drive.

Water service projects included the continued installation of water meters on properties connected to district council water supplies, which will result in properties paying a reduced fixed water rate plus a volumetric usage charge.

Water supply improvements are helping to provide higher quality water for our growing population, while a number of improvements to water treatment systems were also completed.

Through the year, the district council administered more than $268,000 in discretionary grants, and delivered more than 100 community events across the district.

Highlights included the successful launch of CultureFest, showcasing the district’s diverse cultures, which was held in conjunction with Rolleston’s 150th anniversary celebration.

The Annual Report notes the impact of the Port Hills fire, with the total rural firefighting cost to the district council calculated at $7.9 million. The majority of the cost ($7.4 million) has been covered through insurance with the Rural Fire Fighting Fund.

Expenditure for the year was $105 million, compared with a budget of $94.6 million.

The main variances included finance costs being below budget due to reduced borrowing, the unbudgeted costs associated with the Port Hills fire, and the higher cost of sales from Izone land sales being well ahead of budget.

Revenue for the year was $169.8 million compared with a budget of $120.9 million, largely due to growth being ahead of forecasts.

Rates revenue was above budget, while growth also contributed to higher than expected revenue from development contributions and vested assets.

Development contributions are retained for future infrastructure provision and cannot be used to reduce rates, while vested assets are a non-cash item and are also not available to reduce rates.

The district council received higher dividend revenue from investments in Orion New Zealand Ltd and Transwaste Canterbury Ltd, while land sales revenue was also above budget due to sales in Izone being ahead of forecasts.

The value of the district council’s net assets increased by $110 million for the year to a total value of $1.503 billion.

The full 2016/17 Annual Report will be published in late November.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think of the district council’s latest Annual Report? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi.

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