Napier City Council has released its 2022/23 Annual Report. It shows that drinking water remained the issue of greatest concern to the community, with satisfaction in Napier for the year at 38%, well below the New Zealand benchmark of 73%.
The Report summarises Council’s performance from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 and outlines the work undertaken to achieve the outcomes and initiatives of the Annual Plan 2022/23 and Long Term Plan 2021-31.
NCC reported total revenue of $154.4 million for the period, with expenditures and other costs of $163.5 million.
For the Report, SIL Research engaged with Napier residents to determine satisfaction levels with and perceptions of Council services. Results from the survey help form Service Performance Measures for some of Council’s activities.
The Report states the presence of chlorine in the water supply was a significant factor and some respondents reported purchasing water filters or using alternative water sources. However, satisfaction increased by 10%, showing a significant improvement when compared to the 2022 results.
The Report also noted that work had been done to address the issues, including new bores being drilled and brought online in Awatoto, and a new bore drilled in Taradale.
These new sites will eventually form part of larger borefields, which are still in the planning phase. The bores will connect to shared treatment plants and feed Council reservoirs.
The Council also installed and commissioned water quality panels at its existing bores which measure key indicators like chlorine levels, turbidity (clarity) and PH.
It has design processes underway for two major pipelines needed to modernize Napier’s drinking water network.
The Mataruahou trunk main will take water from the new bores in Awatoto up to the to-be-built reservoir on the old Napier hospital site. The main in Taradale will take water from the new Taradale bores up to the reservoirs in the Taradale Hills.
Drinking water provided through Napier’s urban reticulated network was uninterrupted during and following Cyclone Gabrielle.
Council was able to situate generators at key treatment plants to ensure ongoing and safe provision of drinking water in spite of the loss of power to the city. Water conservation measures were put in place, not because of shortage, but to reduce the strain on the damaged Wastewater Treatment Plant in Awatoto.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the report was an opportunity to reflect on how the organisation has navigated a tumultuous year.
“We’ve had many challenges as a community and as a Council. Obviously, Cyclone Gabrielle has been our biggest test. With that in mind, the Report demonstrates that our community and our council staff have accomplished much by working together to get us through what has been an incredibly tough time for many.”
Work undertaken in the past year included repairing the Wastewater Treatment Plant after it became inoperable through flood water inundation, and investing in the plant’s resilience to ensure it would withstand any future weather events.
Other recovery work in the past financial year included supporting affected communities and helping businesses recover in the badly affected Awatoto industrial area.
Wise said there was a need to stay focused in what continued to be uncertain times.
“We’re still faced with a high cost of living, ongoing recovery work, and various government reforms with uncertainty over how they might progress. This is particularly true of water services reforms and local government reforms,” she said.
“We need to stay focused on what our community needs, and at the same time, be ready for whatever impacts these reforms might make on our services and finances in the coming years.”
Other Operating Expenses in 2022/23 were $15.3 million above budget, mostly accounted for by Cyclone Gabrielle and included the emergency response, and roading, clean-up, and landfill costs.
“I am heartened by the overall performance of our organisation in light of the challenges of the initial cyclone response and the ongoing recovery. Despite this, we’ve got one of the strongest balance sheets of any Council in the country,” Wise said.
“I look forward to now focusing on the future by turning our minds to the Three-Year Plan, which we’ll be consulting on in March next year.”
Due to the disruption caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, the Minister of Local Government suspended the legislated requirement for Napier City Council to produce a Long Term Plan with a ten-year horizon. Instead, Council will produce an unaudited, three-year plan for the period 2024-27. The focus of the three-year plan is to be on cyclone recovery.
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