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$15.3m to spend: council changing priorities for assets to be upgraded

News from WCC
Reprioritising $15.3 million capital investment in publicly-owned Wellington City Council projects, ranging from street upgrades to proposals to upgrade the Zoo, the Cable Car, the Basin Reserve and the Museum of City and Sea, is to be discussed by Wellington City Council this Wednesday.

The list of proposals is contained in a report to the Council’s Governance, Finance and Planning Committee that examines ‘capex’ (capital expenditure) for this financial year (2014-15).

The Council’s first ‘mid-term capex review’ would, if accepted by the committee (comprising the Mayor and all Councillors), enable spending shortfalls to be redirected more quickly to the range of projects.

Over the last decade, not all capital projects have been progressed in the year they were budgeted for. Rolling forward all of the same money for all of the same projects only compounds the situation.

Mayor Wade-Brown says this year the Wellington City Council will take a new approach. “Some underspent capex will be redirected to projects that have already been planned and can start immediately,” she said.

“The Museum of Wellington City and Sea, the Zoo, the Basin Reserve, Carter Planetarium and the Cable Car Tunnel lights will support well-loved destinations that attract both residents and visitors.

“Better management of project phasing will result in more momentum for the Capital A more flexible approach will see more action in Wellington. The proposed projects all make Wellington an even more attractive destination to live, work and play.”

Cr Justin Lester, Chair of the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee, says the mid-term review is a practical response and ensures projects that are ready to commence get underway immediately, rather than sitting on our hands because other projects have been delayed.

“Investing in publicly-owned assets, including street and laneway upgrades, will give Wellingtonians a real sense that this Council is a Council of action,” he says. “The proposed Victoria Street upgrade and the makeover of Masons Lane between The Terrace and Lambton Quay would contribute to the walkability and amenity of the CBD.

“Let’s prioritise projects that are good for the city. There’s been an underspend for a number of years now, let’s get on with what we can so that Wellingtonians see tangible progress.”

Cr Lester says the programming of capex projects – where money is spent on the building of assets ranging from pipes and roads to sportsfields, libraries and the waterfront “to name a few” – is complex.

“It is great that our Council is working hard to increase flexibility in this area. If we can remove any hurdles then we can get on with doing good things for the city.”

A link to the 2014-15 capital expenditure review paper (report 2) is here. [1]