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Annual Report reflects a challenging but successful year

Frimley Reservoir

This year’s Annual Report marks the conclusion of the first three year cycle of Hastings District Council’s Long Term Plan 2018-2028, and highlights the significant progress that has been made on the vision and goals Council set.

Today, councillors adopted the Annual Report and Summary for the 2020/21 year, which sets out Council’s financial performance, with a rating surplus at year-end of $866,000.

It also provides a snapshot of Council’s non-financial performance in relation to its Long Term Plan commitments and progress it has made to meet them.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the last three years had been busy and challenging for Council, managing growth, undertaking a major investment programme, and responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 lockdowns for more than a year now.

“It’s also been an exciting time for the council and the Hastings district.

“In 2018, our consultation with the community on our Long Term Plan resulted in a commitment to invest in some ambitious and transformative goals.

“I’m hugely proud of what we, alongside our community, have achieved.

“There’s been significant work undertaken across our priority areas of water, housing, city centre revitalisation, roading, and our parks and reserves, and I’m extremely proud of the results we are seeing now and what’s in place to be achieved over the coming three years and beyond.”

In 2017, the number one priority was the upgrade of the district’s drinking water supplies with $80m earmarked to be invested in the work that’s scheduled to be finished by the middle to late next year.

This includes a five kilometre water main between Havelock North and Hastings, and associated booster pump station, water storage and treatment facilities at Frimley Park and Waiaroha on the corner of Southampton St East, and eight small community water treatment and storage facility upgrades.

Addressing the housing shortage was also a key focus of the LTP, and hundreds of homes have been built in the past two to three years and hundreds more are either under construction or in the pipeline.

It’s an almost unprecedented level of house building activity and it covers the spectrum from public to affordable to market housing.

The transformation of the city centre continued this year as part of the City Centre Revitalisation Plan including widened pedestrian paving areas, planter boxes and outdoor furniture being installed on inner city streets, and Landmarks Square upgraded and beautified.

Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre re-opened after the COVID-19 lockdown to play host to numerous events and performances, and the Municipal Building project is now well underway, expected to open early to mid-2022.

The investment in the enhancement of Hastings’ parks and public spaces was recognised over the past year with Flaxmere Park named New Zealand’s Active Park of the Year in Recreation Aotearoa’s 2020 NZ Park Awards, and named a finalist for this award in 2021.

Flaxmere Park was also one of three Hastings parks to be recognised under the Green Flag Awards, alongside Cornwall Park and the Havelock North Village Green.

In addition, Hastings was named the Supreme Winner of the 2020 Keep NZ Beautiful Awards, also taking out the Most Beautiful Large Town Award, and the district was named a finalist in the 2021 awards.

Another goal was to grow investment and create jobs in the district through making industrial land available at Ōmahu, Irongate and Tomoana/Whakatū for commercial investment – now bearing fruit with the likes of Rockit Global’s HQ and 21,000sqm cool store and pack-house, Sunfruit’s pack-house, and the Apollo Foods Beverage Plant now in place.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that alongside this work, the response and recovery from the COVID-19 lockdowns became a priority.

This included Council securing $9.3m in shovel-ready funding from the government to undertake roading projects across the district, where contractors employed local people through the Jobs for Heretaunga scheme jointly operated by Council and MSD.

It also supported local employment expos to showcase job opportunities and career pathways in the horticulture, hospitality and construction sectors, and helped secure government investment to renovate seven of the district’s halls, and renovate up to 51 marae in Heretaunga and Ahuriri.

Mrs Hazlehurst said that as a district Hastings had a lot to be proud of.

“Hastings is going from strength to strength but we aren’t done yet – there’s still much to achieve and we will continue to work hard for our community.”

28 October 2021

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