Thursday, 14 May 2015

Verbal Submission to CCC Long Term Plan

Peter Townsend, Leeann Watson
Thank you for allowing us to submit to the LTP. This year our submission is more detailed than those we have presented in the past because we consider this LTP to be the most critical in the living history and one that will have more influence in determining the future direction of our city than any other plan to date.

Our written submission will have been considered by you all and we are happy to answer any questions you may have on its content shortly.

There are however a few matters we would like to emphasise.

It is fundamental that the CCC plays its vital role in providing levels of service that’s its community expects. We are fortunate to live in a first world country where first world levels of service can easily be taken for granted. Those levels of service have been tested by the tragedy of our earthquakes but should not be compromised given the opportunities we have to do things differently and to restore our city’s services to the highest level possible.

The CCC and indeed the community is fortunate that there are assets available to the community that can be used to help. We need to consider how best they can help to provide a healthy, resilient and liveable city.

How can we ensure that the value of those assets provides optimal outcomes for the citizens of Christchurch?

How can we ensure that we can continue to provide the best levels of services and our community is served right across all of its needs as well as it can be?

In this context, a short term issue is solving the Council’s shortfall estimated at $1.2billion and climbing. The long term issue is how the strategic assets can be made to work in a way that continues to provide value to our community and makes Christchurch more internationally significant. Realising cash from the sale of assets and introducing strategic equity partners to drive value back into our community through the optimal operation of those assets is critical.

There has been some debate about the ownership of Council assets such as libraries. The Council is the logical and necessary provider of library services. That this service continues via the Council, is not debatable. What is clear however is that the Council does not need to own the asset (in this example a library building) to continue to provide a quality library service.

We have some reservations about underspend with respect to existing core capital assets.“Sweating” the assets presents significant risks in terms of maintaining high levels of service and in terms of increasing operating costs over time. Careful analysis is required to get the balance right. Delaying the capital spend does not avoid the capital cost long term.

Finally we would like to comment on the need for our city to have an aspiration. What do we really want Christchurch to be, to do, to stand for!

How does that fit in with an aspiration for our region – Canterbury? And where are the interdependencies?

Where does Christchurch city fit in terms of its role in the wider South Island, New Zealand and internationally?

We need to better define what we aspire to be so that we do become the most attractive and liveable city in Australasia, where people, including our children and our grandchildren choose to live.

The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce is committed to assist the CCC to return to delivering the highest possible levels of service to its people – our Community and you can be assured of our support in that quest.

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