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This past month, my work has focused on talking to groups and individuals across the community about Porirua’s future. I’ve been seeking feedback on the city’s draft Long-term Plan (LTP) in which the Council sets the direction and budget for the next thirty years.
It’s a rare opportunity to look beyond the urgent priorities of the moment and towards the kind of city we want to build together in the long term.
We’re facing a number of steep challenges, including ageing infrastructure, the demands of future growth, building resilience, and future-proofing the city against the threat of climate change. None of this comes cheap, which is why we’re allocating more than $1 billion over the life of the plan to upgrading our water infrastructure and road networks.
In dozens of meetings, residents are telling me they understand that failing to make these investments today, and over the coming years, will cost more in the long-run.
This message was delivered to me loud and clear during one particularly memorable recent meeting – at Te Rauparaha Arena with pupils from 17 Porirua schools.
Over several hours, one group after another approached me with smart, specific questions and ideas about the city’s future.
When it comes to our local environment and the threats posed by climate change, our youth are of one voice. Nothing matters to them more.
On Porirua harbour in particular, these discussions left me in no doubt – we must continue to do better. “Without the harbour,” one kid told me, “there is no Porirua”. Her words were not lost on me, and I promised them – as I promise you – that nothing is a greater priority for me as Mayor than restoring and improving our harbour. And that’s why a significant portion of our proposed new spending focuses on doing exactly that.
27 Apr 2021