Wellington City Council services face the axe: What you need to know

7:02 am on 15 February 2024
Khandallah Pool, Wellington

The Khandallah Pool could be permanently closed (file image) Photo: Wikimedia Commons / DB Thats-Me / Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Closing Khandallah's summer pool, shutting a centre-city library, and significant rates hikes are all on the table at a pivotal Wellington City Council meeting on Thursday.

Those are just some of the things to be discussed at the long-term plan meeting, which will inform the direction of the council's budget for the next 10 years.

Hanging over councillors' heads is how they pay for the massive investment needed for the capital's broken pipe network.

Some services Wellingtonians hold dear may face the chopping block.

Council staff's preferred option is to spend $1.1 billion on water infrastructure over the next 10 years - a 65 percent increase on the amount allocated for the pipes in the last long-term plan from 2021.

Savings will need to be made to fund that and other council projects.

Possible cuts include closing the temporary Arapaki library on Manners street.

Council officers have also put forward proposals to reduce library and swimming pool hours but Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau will put forward an amendment in the plan to take those options off the table.

"Libraries and swimming pools are part of the fabric of our communities," she said.

"I know how much they mean to people."

The Khandallah Pool could be permanently closed - it essentially needs to be rebuilt in the coming years anyway - and the Wadestown Community Centre could be sold.

The annual fireworks and New Year's celebrations could go, as could a composting hub trial.

Meanwhile, cost-cutting measures to pay for the pipes could force some parts of the plans to remove private cars from the Golden Mile and upgrade the area to be delayed.

A rendering of the Golden Mile upgrades sin Wellington. There are wide footpaths, raingardens, buses going past, and people on the street enjoying their day.

Parts of the plan to remove private cars from the Golden Mile and upgrade the area could also be delayed. Photo: Let's Get Wellington Moving

The cost-cutting measures will not be enough on their own - ratepayers are set to face a possible 15.4 percent rate increase.

The council may put in a proposal to sell their airport shares to balances its books.

Scooter and motorcycle riders may have to start paying for parking, and paid parking could be introduced in Island Bay, Johnsonville, Kilbirnie, Newlands and Tawa.

What projects are likely to remain?

For now, some projects are not facing imminent threat.

Wellington Town Hall update

The $330 million Town Hall doesn't appear to be facing imminent threat under the council's long-term plan discussions. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

These include the $330 million Town Hall and $189m city library earthquake strengthening and renovations, the new sludge minimisation plant, and the expansion of the bike network across the city.

Where to from here?

Thursday's meeting is important as the decisions made will shape the city's spending for the next 10 years.

It will feed into the Draft Long Term Plan, which will then be voted on by all of council on 13 March, before it goes out for community consultation.

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