Next year your Council will complete a piece of work which will impact on Hamilton for decades to come.
Our 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan will put the building blocks (and budgets) in place to strongly set the direction of our city for the next 10 years – and beyond.
It will aim to help our city and people recover from Covid-19, as well maintain our existing assets and ensure we are well placed to cope with and leverage growth. It will also aim – where we can afford it – to address the changing needs (and wants) of our community.
The Plan will be very specific in how that work will be paid for, including what portion will be paid for by ratepayers. This piece of work will be finalised around June 2021 and the decisions we make then will be important to everyone in our city.
The Long-Term Plan process forces Council to prioritise because the reality is that we simply cannot afford to fund everything. Some trade-offs and tough decisions will need to be made. Some of them may not be popular, but that is the reality we face.
In recent weeks, Council has developed a document which outlines clearly what the priorities are for this Council as we start the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan process. Those priorities are based on real feedback from our community over the past 12 months.
We’ve taken that feedback on board, considered issues like growth, capital investment, debt and community well-beings. And we have come up with five priorities for Hamilton that will guide our decisions over the coming months. They’re all outlined here on this website.
A city that’s easy to live in
Our first priority is to shape a city that’s easy to live in. It’s about being small enough to enjoy a sense of community...but big enough to be vibrant and interesting. Over time, we’re aiming to be a 20-minute city. That means prioritising safe walkways and cycleways. It’s about investing in our existing neighbourhoods – not just pouring resources into new ones. And it’s about encouraging a mix of housing options – including affordable housing.
Where people thrive
Priority two is about shaping a city where our people thrive. We want to create opportunities for people to leverage the wonderful lifestyle and opportunities Hamilton has to offer. We will focus on wellbeing in its broadest sense...doing what we can to ensure Hamilton people are well-housed and that there are plenty of green spaces and access to community amenities.
We’ll invest in the right infrastructure – the important things first – to ensure businesses can succeed. We must continue to work closely with partners to help get things like the K'aute Pasifika investment across the line, or make progress on major projects like the new Peacocke community. We can’t do everything we need to, alone.
Hustle and bustle
Our third priority is around making our central city a place where people love to be. We want our central city to be the vibrant heart of a cosmopolitan centre that’s designed around people and culture and the natural environment. We want a city that’s alive with hustle and bustle!
That will mean prioritising projects which strengthen the connection and access between the city centre and the Waikato River. We will be actively encouraging inner-city living options which assist more people to be in the central city, all the time.
Our fourth priority is shaping a fun city with lots to do. Everyone has a different notion of ‘fun’ – whether it’s sport, singing in a choir, seeing an exhibition or taking a walk. What we all like is having choices.
We want to build on Hamilton’s growing reputation for hosting outstanding events that bring economic benefit and that Hamiltonians love. But we’re also keen on smaller, community-based events that help us celebrate and utilise some of our wonderful outdoor places .
A green city
Our fifth and final priority sounds simple – but it isn’t. It’s shaping a green city. I’m proud we are putting a stake in the ground on this. This Council is more committed than ever to environmental issues. And this priority completely reflects what Hamiltonians want – I hear that all the time.
In addition to the five priorities outlined here, Council must continue to invest in those projects required to keep the city running. When it comes to our Long-Term Plan budgets, that infrastructure will take an enormous piece of our finite budget. We must provide and maintain water services, adequately plan for huge growth, maintain roads and ensure waste can be disposed of safety. Those things are non-negotiable.
Every single one of our five priorities is premised on one thing; improving the wellbeing of all Hamiltonians. Early next year, Hamilton City Council will be doing a major push to ensure that when it comes to our draft Long-Term Plan all Hamiltonians will have an opportunity to have their say before we commit our city to budgets which will impact on our lives for decades to come.
These are exciting and important conversations to have and I am privileged to be in a position to lead them.