OPINION: Why should you care about the Long Term Plan?

STUCK: There is no money allocated for the Moncks Bay section of the coastal pathway in the city council's Long Term Plan.

Consultation on the city council’s Long Term Plan opens on Friday. Heathcote Ward city councillor Sara Templeton explains what the plan is and why you should care

Every three years the city council drafts a 10-year budget for consultation with the community, known as the Long Term Plan.

There’s a 40-page consultation document, a capital programme, the financial strategy, the levels of service, and a 30-year infrastructure plan which sets the planned expenditure, borrowing and rates.

While it’s a big document, it’s not as daunting as you’d think to get involved and have your say.

It’s all available online with searchable pdfs and consultation is open from Friday to April 13. Paper copies are also available at service centres and libraries

It’s your money and your city. Everyone has an opinion about what’s happening in their community and across Christchurch and now is the time to influence the city council budget.

Yes – yes, you can. Time and time again changes are made (including big ones) based on the consultation.

Writing submissions and speaking at the hearings does count. And make sure that you say what you want to stay in the draft, not just what you want to add or cut. Projects that are there could also be cut if there’s not enough support.

There will be Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board-run drop-in sessions and local community groups are also putting together information for their communities.

Here’s a list of key local issues that I hear about from the community and where they are currently in the draft Long Term Plan:

•Bays area skate park – most of the funding budgeted in 2020/21.

•Coastal pathway – currently no money budgeted for the Moncks Bay section.

•Sumner Village Master Plan – various stages funded.

•Scarborough playground – funded 2018/19.

•Main Rd Master Plan – Redcliffs Village streetscape and Beachville Rd streetscape funded 2018/19.

•Beachville Rd steps – currently no money on budget to replace them.

•Heathcote Expressway Major Cycle Route – Tannery to Heathcote delayed until 2025/6.

•Rapanui Shag Rock MCR – the last section, Humphreys Drive, is funded in 2019/20/21.

•Cobb Cottage – funded 2018/19. Maintenance issues are a ‘level of service’ that could be increased.

The city council’s job is to balance service provision with rates affordability, and current needs with those of future generations. It’s not easy, but we do listen – so please have your say.