Future Decisions - Let's Get Wellington Moving, Economic Development & building resilience in our water supply

by Charlotte,

We think it’s important to highlight some upcoming projects even though we are not yet in a position to seek feedback on specific choices. Many of our programmes involve key partners and have timeframes that are agreed collectively – sometimes these don’t match the three-yearly review timelines of our long-term planning programme. Some of these are covered below.

The first of these is the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme:

Let's Get Wellington Moving

We are working alongside the NZ Transport Agency and the Wellington City Council on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme, an ambitious plan to transform the city’s transport system and build the sort of city we all want to live and work in.

While we don’t yet know the preferred option, we are aware it will impact on our transport planning and funding. It’s important you know that we have made provision for these changes. We have made an allowance for a $67 million contribution towards a new mass transit system beginning from 2021 through to 2026. This will pay our share of the cost of new infrastructure to support mass transit. Funding has also been set aside by both the Wellington City Council and NZ Transport Agency.

We don’t know the final preferred option, so we have worked with our partners to identify an initial funding allocation. This is based on an estimate of the average costs for implementing the scenarios recently the subject of public consultation through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme. Once we know the preferred option, we will consult on the options and any changes to cost. We expect this to be during 2018/19.

Our funding commitment shows our intent to progress with this important project.

The second area we want to highlight relates to economic development projects and programmes:

Our approach to regional economic development

A key issue for Greater Wellington is ensuring that we get the maximum value from our investment in economic development programmes.

One of Greater Wellington’s key programmes is the Wellington Regional Strategy, developed in partnership with city and district councils, and implemented by the Wellington Regional Strategy Office and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA). Our WREDA funding (about $4.2 million a year in this 10-Year Plan) is for regional growth and developing partnerships with other organisations to pursue economic development opportunities. WREDA’s core role is understanding the region and delivering investment, skills retention and development and growth in targeted sectors – outcomes set by the Wellington Regional Strategy.

Over the next year we intend to review how we invest in regional economic development to achieve the best outcomes for the region.

There are options to consider, for example, we could change the focus of the activities undertaken by WREDA towards specific outcomes. We could change the delivery model to focus on delivering economic development at a local level. Another option might be for Greater Wellington to focus on its core role in providing regional infrastructure. There may be other options that we identify.

We are currently preparing a Regional Investment Plan in partnership with the region’s city and district councils and central government agencies, and will develop an action plan to focus on public investment in the region.

Lastly, we would like to highlight the future decisions on water supply:

Cross-harbour pipeline

In our previous 10-Year Plan, we consulted on the proposed construction of the cross-harbour pipeline – an option for securing a water source for Wellington city in the event of an earthquake. Our current plan continues to provide for this, at an estimated cost of $116 million (up from $101 million in the last 10-Year Plan). Since then, we have identified that harbour bores, which connect directly to freshwater sources, might be a more cost-effective solution. The harbour bores would cost an estimated $60-70 million. We are currently investigating and expect to make a decision about a preferred option in the coming months. Depending on the decision we might need to amend our plan.

Planning for a new water source

The projected population growth across our region will result in increased demands on water supply. We have made provision in our Infrastructure Strategy to develop an alternative water source from 2032/33 to meet future demands. While this does not fall within this 10-Year Plan, the investment proposed is significant. The cost is estimated to be around $320 million.

We will look at other options that could delay the need to invest in expensive new infrastructure. These might include mechanisms to promote water conservation such as water metering. Any decision would require extensive consultation with the four city councils and wider community.

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