How does the Dunedin City Council work?
Check out this 2 minute illustrated overview of the what the Dunedin City Council does and how it impacts on our everyday lives. As presented to Dunedin's high schools, but very helpful for all of us!
So then, you may be thinking 'Where does the Annual Plan fit in?'
Every three years, the Council sets (in consultation with the community) a Long Term Plan for the city. This Plan (covering the following 10 years) determines how much money is allocated to activities and services the Council provides, and what new projects are invested in.
The Council’s Annual Plan, set on the other two years, provides a draft budget for the year ahead. Community feedback is sought on areas where budgets or timing of projects differ from those outlined in the Long Term Plan.
You can see the Council's own summary of the Annual Plan 2017/18, at the bottom of this page.
This year, the Annual Plan budget only differs significantly in one activity budget line - the level of funding allocated to delivering Te Ao Turoa - Dunedin's Environment Strategy. They are asking us specifically for feedback on this point.
There are many major projects planned for 2017/18, which were agreed to in the 2015 Long Term Plan. These include:
- The Central City Plan: Major improvements of the CBD and Tertiary Precincts, including changes to public spaces, transportation changes (including the introduction of pedestrian areas), and underground infrastucture renewals.
- Upgrading and maintenance of local amenities and utilities: Upcoming projects include the refurbishment of the Ross Creek Reservoir, replacing and upgrading water, wastewater and stormwater facilities, and the introduction of LED street lights across the city.
- Transport Projects: There are number of transport projects, which are expected to make up 50% of the capital expenditure budget. The Peninsula Connection which will introduce a cycle and pedestrian path along Portobello Road. Cycleways will connect the city and the Otago Harbour, and as well as safety improvements will be made to the State Highway One cycleway.
The overall proposed budgets for these major projects are largely unchanged, but work on many of them has been delayed.
Council has also signalled that the feedback that we give this year will further inform the development of next year's Long Term Plan (which will set the levels of expenditure on various services, activities and projects for the next ten years).
Community feedback (in support of or opposition to) these projects provides an opportunity to support the improved investment choices. Sending a clear message that we want to see Council investing in solutions to environmental issues provides our elected councillors with a mandate to deliver on key Council commitments.
Below is a brief summary of the substance of the Annual Plan as provided by the Council. Alternatively, more detailed information can be accessed here.
For more information please follow the link below:
Environment Strategy Implementation
Te Ao Tūroa - Dunedin's Environment Strategy
Te Ao Turoa - Dunedin's Environment Strategy is one of the key strategies the Council has developed with the community, to direct and inform Dunedin's development.It addresses sustainability and environmental issues, embedding consideration of these matters into the decision-making process. Most importantly, it sets out a number of 'initial actions' for the Council and partners to deliver, if the Strategy is to be achieved. The Strategy has three key goals:
Dunedin being resilient and carbon zero (aiming to ensure the city impacts positively in the global environment, plans for and adapts to climate change, and manages natural resources sustainably).
Dunedin having a healthy environment (aiming to sustain ecosystems, increase indigenous biodiversity, and restore areas of ecological value).
Dunedin people caring for the natural world (aiming to ensure residents have an increased understanding of the natural world and the ability to enjoy, connect and celebrate the natural world).
Because this is a new Strategy there is no existing budget line for core Environment Strategy implementation, and so the level of funding it receives is to be consulted on with the public this year. There are two options for funding presented by the by the Council: $150,000 or $200,000. Even at the higher level of funding, only a few of the 'initial actions' are funded. The 'initial actions' identified by the Strategy (provided to the left) have been selected to ensure the have been selected to ensure the city meets these goals. The 'initial actions' highlighted for funding include:
- At the $150,000 level: 'Environment Envoy', 'Working with Landowners', and 'Managing Pests' projects.
- At the $200,000 level: 'Environmental Envoy', 'Working with Landowners', 'Managing Pests', 'City Know-how', 'State of the Environment' events and report, and 'Te Ao Tūroa grants'.
Therefore, we suggest a minimum funding of $200,000. However, we believe all 'initial actions' need to be fully funded to meet the goals of the Strategy, so we suggest requesting that Council consider sufficient budget to achieve this be allocated to Te Ao Tūroa - Dunedin's Environment Strategy. Source.
Future Public & Urban Infrastructure
Public Transport Governance Transfer
In 2013 a report, commissioned by the Dunedin City Council, provided suggestions for improvements to Dunedin’s public transport service. One of the conclusions reached by the report, was that transfer of the governance of public transport from the Otago Regional Council to the Dunedin City Council was worth investigating. This was justified on reasons of public interest, responsiveness, and coordination with other functions. The Dunedin City Council:
is well positioned to understand the overall wants and needs of Dunedin citizens, and
is well positioned to be held accountable for the planning and performance of public transport and,
is well positioned to improve the efficiency of all city transport systems and urban development, given that it is already responsible for almost all other local transport network functions and urban planning.
During considerations of the report in 2014, whilst indicating support of the change “in principle”, the DCC voted to “defer any final transfer for up to three years” for reasons associated with the uncertainty caused by the transition to the Otago Regional Council’s new operating model. Three years is up! So we’d love to see investigations start, and engagement with our community about a possible change during next year’s Long Term Plan consultation.
Strategic Cycle Network
The Strategic Cycle Network provides a holistic plan for continuing and increasing the use of bicycles as a transport option, as well as ensuring the efficacy of the underlying infrastructure that enables the safe use of bicycles Dunedin. The Strategic Cycle Network provides a platform of collaboration between stakeholders; including local cycleway advocacy group (e.g. Spokes), the NZTA, and the Council.
Cycling is a viable and premium form of transport which is not only environmentally friendly, but also fosters a broader range of positive consequences. The implementation of the Strategic Cycle Network stands to make our communities safer, more accessible, and more connected. Its implementation also makes alternative transport an easy and attractive option for those who are interested but not keen to use the current facilities.
We believe that a greater emphasis on alternative transport options, such as cycling, is integral to the progress of many of the Council's plans and goals. Given that funding to enact the plan is immediately available, we urge the Council to undertake implementation as soon as possible. This is of further urgency as the longer we wait, the more money the Council will have to spend implementing the Strategic Cycle Network - the NZTA/Council funding contribution ratio is incrementally changing, progressively putting the onus on Council to front larger portions of the budget. Currently there is no funding in the draft budget for 2017/18, and this needs to change!
In November 2013, Council resolved to request that staff consider the use of temporary trials of pedestrianisation and shared spaces during the development of the Central City Plan. The Council also requested a report in time for Long Term Plan deliberations, outlining the financial requirements that would provide for these trials in forward budgets.The Central City Plan involves implementation of a series of initiatives and upgrades in the central city area - changes to public spaces, underground infrastructure renewals, and transport improvements.
Energy & Emissions
The Energy Plan 1.0
The Council developed and adopted the Energy Plan 1.0 as an action under its Economic Development Strategy. It has four goals:
1. Save costs and enhance quality of life resulting from energy-efficiency improvements.
2. Boost the city’s energy security and ability to adapt to change.
3. Reduce Dunedin’s climate change and environmental effects.
4. Take advantage of economic opportunities in a changing energy context.
It's about creating future-focused jobs relating to smart energy solutions, as well as aiming to address city-wide carbon emissions, energy security and energy efficiency. Eight actions are identified:
- 'Night Sky City': Dunedin has energy efficient external lighting and is an internationally attractive night sky destination (focused on street lighting improvements)
- 'Cosy Homes': Every Dunedin home will be warm and cosy by 2025 (focusing on housing quality and energy efficiency)
- 'Energy Leaders': Dunedin saves energy and money, inspires local energy innovation and opens new economic opportunities (a partnership of major city energy users)
- 'Energy Fast Track': Dunedin supports grassroots energy innovation and enterprise (targeted support for community energy initiatives)
- 'Baseline Energy': Dunedin’s energy data is accessible and progress is measurable (establishing baseline data and monitoring progress)
- 'Biomass': Dunedin explores and grows its potential to produce and use biomass energy (encouraging the switch to biomass fuels)
- 'Dunedin Electric Vehicles': Dunedin adopts electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support their use (promoting uptake of electric vehicles and developing supporting infrastructure)
- 'Food Resilience': Dunedin promotes sustainable food as part of a thriving local economy (campaigns and initiatives to support a sustainable local food economy)
These are all important ambitions, and Dunedin needs action on all of them as soon as possible. The Plan is great, but we'd like to see more progress! We'd like Council to review the level of funding allocated to implementing the Energy Plan 1.0, and ensure that there is enough funding in the 10-year budget to enable all of these actions to be kicked off, not drip-fed over a decade.
Emissions Management and Reduction Plan
In 2014, the Council measured its emissions and adopted the Emissions Management and Reduction Plan to reduce the emissions resulting from the Council’s own operations. The Plan hopes to achieve a 5% reduction in overall emissions from 2013/14 levels from by 2018/19, and a 20% reduction in non-landfill emissions from 2013/14 levels from by 2018/19.
Regarding current progress on the Plan, the 2014/15 inventory was 2.8% higher than the previous year. This is going in the wrong direction! Council has requested reports on options that would accelerate the delivery of the Emissions Management and Reduction Plan. We propose that this plan needs to be adequately funded and support the urgency the Council has shown in requesting reports regarding accelerating the implementation on the plan.