04 June 2020

Three community groups have received financial boosts following Bay of Plenty Regional Council Annual Plan deliberations.

Water Safety Bay of Plenty and Western Bay Museum were granted $20,000 each while Māori economic development organisation Toi Kai Rawa Trust also received $250,000 through the Community Initiatives Fund.

Regional Council Chair Doug Leeder says the funding is in line with the strategic direction of the council.

“This support reflects the role we play in maintaining a vibrant region as well as making sure our communities are safe and resilient”, Mr Leeder says.

The Council also agreed to set aside $41,000 for education ensuring the community are aware of the new Motiti Island protection provisions.

Regional Councillors resolved to work towards a zero percent general rates increase and will set rates for 2020/21 at its Council meeting scheduled for 25 June.

“The direction to keep general rates increases at zero percent gives certainty to people in the Bay of Plenty, and helps to relieve the pressure that some territorial local authorities in our region are facing when looking at setting rates in this unprecedented time.”

“In addition to using financial reserves, further internal efficiencies have been found for this year in the order of $2.3m in additional savings.” Mr Leeder says.

Some of these savings have come as a result of the new COVID-19 environment which has seen catering and hospitality costs reduced; no international travel and reduction in 50% of domestic travel; and the push towards a paperless work environment.

Council also endorsed and agreed to fund $300,000 towards a Regional Recovery Project that encompasses the development of a Bay of Connections led Regional Recovery Strategy and Work Programme.

Key focus areas for this annual plan are continuing to respond to Maori partnerships and climate change.

Over recent months Bay of Plenty Regional Council has allocated

  • $650,000 for the Regional Pest Management Plan
  • $180,000 additional expenditure to prepare for implementing Government’s actions for Healthy Waterway’s package
  • $5 million contribution to the Awatarariki Fanhead Managed Retreat
  • $45,000 for Climate Change Fund development.

During the year Council will also complete its COVID-19 recovery programme which is due to be approved in September.