Our must-do projects

Our must-do projects


Climate change

Climate change is an issue of international importance and is the subject of emerging national direction.

Working together and being proactive are key to effective response. With the benefit of our Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment, and our region-wide and inhouse emission inventories underway or almost completed, we are progressing right across the organisation to plan and respond to climate change.

Our immediate priorities, particularly Otago’s freshwater, means we have maintained our resource levels associated with climate change over the short-term, and there is an expectation the level of work will build over the long-term. Importantly, we would like to partner regionally on our approach to climate change.

WE CONSIDER CLIMATE CHANGE IN EVERYTHING WE DO.





Environment


LAND, WATER AND BIODIVERSITY

When it comes to managing water, land and our biodiversity priorities we need the best possible information. This means we need to invest more in our monitoring networks and environmental studies.



AIR

We’re pausing most of our air quality work – except for monitoring – over the next two years to reduce the rates increase in year 1.




Safety and resilience

Risk management and building resilience is a key focus for ORC. The challenge is to support our communities to understand the implications of risk and to make informed decisions.




Transport

Supporting economic growth and connecting communities and businesses.




Regional leadership

We’re investing more in partnering with Kāi Tahu, in community engagement, and in responding to regional issues such as urban development and climate change.



Environment


Land and water

We need to understand Otago’s environment better.

When it comes to managing water, land and our biodiversity priorities we need the best possible information. This means we need to invest more in our monitoring networks and environmental studies.

We're planning to:

  • Establish new monitoring programmes, especially in estuaries and coastal waters
  • Build a better understanding of the effect of land use on water
  • Expand our current freshwater monitoring network to give effect to national legislation
  • Work towards meeting the monitoring requirements for indigenous biodiversity

Our communities also need easy access to reliable, comprehensive information about Otago’s environment, including our catchments. We’ll be redesigning the way we share information about our environment to make sure that it’s good quality, well communicated and well used.


Everything is interconnected in nature. That’s why we’re transitioning towards integrated catchment management.


From 2023-24, we’ll begin to facilitate the preparation, implementation and review of integrated catchment action plans in collaboration with local communities, catchment groups, mana whenua and other interested parties.

Integrated catchment action plans will mean:

  • We have a set of compatible catchment objectives for freshwater, biodiversity, pest management, natural hazard risks and climate change adaptation in Otago’s catchments
  • The community, mana whenua, ORC, catchment groups, government bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will collaborate to develop a road map to achieve catchment objectives
  • Environmental initiatives in Otago’s catchments will be well-coordinated across all parties
  • ORC’s interventions in catchments will be well targeted

Over time these plans will drive ORC’s work programme managing freshwater, biodiversity, biosecurity, natural hazards risks and climate change.


In the meantime, we’re strengthening our land and water management.


We recognise how important Otago’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, aquifers and coast are to the region’s identity and wellbeing.

We're continuing our work programme to review and notify the Regional Plan: Water by 2023. The plan sets out policies and rules to protect the important values of water. It will align Otago with national legislation on freshwater management. Our review process will continue to engage local communities, mana whenua and key stakeholders.

This LTP also consolidates our unplanned increase in capacity to regulate our current regional plans, particularly water. The increase occurred in 2020-21 following external and internal reviews that resulted in increasing our consenting and consent monitoring teams. The regulatory activity has also been supported by plan changes that improve direction and clarity for us and our consent holders.

The Regional Plan: Coast, which seeks to protect coastal values, will be reviewed and notified in 2025-2026.

While all of this is happening, we’ll continue to support catchment groups in their efforts to improve Otago’s water. Our ongoing support for the community will include advising land managers on best management practices and on how to comply with new national legislation (including obligations to prepare farm environment plans).


Biodiversity

We’re listening to the community’s concerns about biodiversity, our leadership role and level of service.

All aspects of our approach to biodiversity and biosecurity will be strengthened over the next 10 years. This includes planning, science and monitoring, activities such as restoration and threat management, and community awareness and engagement.

We will:

  • Facilitate a regional biodiversity hui and strategy
  • Increase our knowledge and develop a monitoring framework and research programme
  • Increase our commitment to and expenditure for pest management such as possums, and completion of a freshwater lakes management plan, and regional wilding pine management strategy
  • Continue to and over time increase our support for local community biodiversity projects through the ECO Fund and support for Catchments Otago
  • Progressively integrate biodiversity protection and restoration into farm support programmes and, in the longer term, into farm environment plans


Air

We’re pausing most of our air quality work – except for monitoring - over the next two years. Beyond that, we’ll be striving to develop more effective solutions to manage air pollution in Otago.

Funding pressures and other priorities mean most of our air quality work (except for air quality monitoring and scientific analysis) will be paused from July 2021 to June 2023.

However, Otago faces significant air pollution challenges in winter, especially in Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell, Alexandra and Milton. Most emissions are from home heating.

In the past, we’ve addressed air pollution through an air quality programme that included providing subsidies for cleaner heating options. Although emissions from home heating have significantly reduced, we have not met the national standards for air quality.

As a result, we need to rethink our approach, review our policies and rules on air emissions, and implement a new, more effective air quality programme.

From 2023-24, we’ll swing into action to develop and implement an effective air quality programme that focuses on strengthening rules on air emissions, and on working with local communities and partners for better housing and cleaner air.


ENVIRONMENT TABLE SHOWING WHO PAYS IN YEAR 1 In the first year of the Long-term Plan it is expected our work on the environment will cost $25,425,000. Funds for this work programme are split between the following: General rates with $13,875,000 Targeted rates with $3,309,000 Fees and charges with $200,000 Grants with $3,877,000 Other income with $964,000 Reserves with $3,200,000 ENVIRONMENT BUDGETED EXPENDITURE GRAPH This graph show expenditure in this area increasing over the next 10 years. Year 1 spend is $25,425,000. Year 2 spend is $27,512,000. Year 3 spend is $28,501,000. Year 4 spend is $30,756,000. Year 5 spend is $32,107,000. Year 6 spend is $34,687,000. Year 7 spend is $35,829,000. Year 8 spend is $36,743,000. Year 9 spend is $37,548,000. Year 10 spend is $38,399,000.



Safety and resilience


Risk management and building resilience is a key focus for ORC. The challenge is to support our communities to understand the implications of risk and to make informed decisions.

Our priority focus areas for the next 10 years in safety and hazards are flood protection, drainage control and river management. Climate change is a critical and related issue. We’ll develop a comprehensive spatial approach to natural hazard risks to inform future priorities, at the same time as undertaking specific projects for the risks we already know about.

Our proposed LTP contains an Infrastructure Strategy. It identifies the flood and drainage schemes that we manage and highlights six key issues that influence the services we provide. From these issues we understand that:

  • There is complexity that needs to be better understood about how climate change and development impacts on catchments
  • We need to improve our asset management planning to better understand how change impacts on our service and the decisions the community faces
  • Our plan to maintain service levels is shadowed by uncertainty about our communities’ expectations regarding managing changing risk (e.g. climate change impacts) and the associated costs

We work collaboratively on these issues with government, city and district councils, and technical advisory groups.

Our plan is to maintain current services and address the issues outlined above. Key components of work include:

  • Climate change adaptation investigations
  • Taieri and Clutha flood protection scheme reviews
  • Flood damage repair programmes
  • Asset management improvements
  • Pump station infrastructure and technology improvements
  • Fish passage adaptation investigations


SAFETY AND RESILIENCE TABLE SHOWING WHO PAYS IN YEAR 1 In the first year of the Long-term Plan it is expected our work in this area will cost $17,500,000. Funds for this work programme are split between the following: General rates with $3,116,000 Targeted rates with $9,611,000 Fees and charges with $408,000 Grants with $1,700,000 Other income with $736,000 Reserves with $1,929,000 SAFETY AND RESILIENCE BUDGETED EXPENDITURE GRAPH This graph show expenditure in this area over the next 10 years. Year 1 spend is $17,500,000. Year 2 spend is $18,976,000. Year 3 spend is $18,103,000. Year 4 spend is $18,155,000. Year 5 spend is $18,585,000. Year 6 spend is $18,218,000. Year 7 spend is $20,269,000. Year 8 spend is $18,090,000. Year 9 spend is $18,314,000. Year 10 spend is $19,557,000.



Transport


Otago’s regional transport system, including public transport, aims to support economic growth and connect communities and businesses.

Our Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) shapes decisions and actions about Otago’s land transport system. The RLTP’s strategic direction reflects central government’s direction, who in addition want to:

  • Improve accessibility to transport and create more choice in how we travel
  • Reduce the impacts of transport on climate change
  • Improve urban environments and public health
  • Reduce deaths and serious injuries

We are engaged in a planning process with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency that will influence future expenditure and funding decisions we make over the next 10 years. As part of this process we’re completing a new Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2021-31, which is required by 30 June 2021.

We’re responsible for providing sustainable, safe and inclusive transport that connects our community.

We contract operators to provide bus services in Dunedin, bus and water ferry services in Queenstown, and to provide the Total Mobility scheme. Orbus, our public transport network, is our largest work programme.

Our LTP supports this strategic direction by outlining how we will continue to improve Otago’s public passenger transport services. This includes planning, working with partners on the long-term vision for public transport across the region and on the delivery of infrastructure that supports public transport services in Dunedin and Queenstown, and renewing contracts (with service improvements) for Dunedin and Queenstown public transport services as required.

The next 10 years will be a challenging but exciting period for our public transport system as it responds to changes from population growth and movement, to shifting economic drivers due to COVID-19. Technology is improving and more accessible, at the same time we have national goals to lower carbon emissions. Public transport will need to be the preferred mode of travel for more people more often to support our economy and contribute positively to our environment and communities.

An example included in this LTP is the funding for a business case to significantly improve public transport in Queenstown. It's part of the Way To Go programme of integrated and complementary land transport projects supported by our councillors. They are designed to create an enduring, safe and affordable transport system that offers more accessible and convenient travel options.

We also need to be able to deliver a high-quality service whilst remaining financially sustainable for our customers, ratepayers and our funding partners. Investment in the network needs to be at a rate our communities can afford. The LTP assumes we'll achieve existing funding levels from Waka Kotahi of 51%. If this funding support is not achieved it will impact on future services, bus fares, and/or rates.


TRANSPORT TABLE SHOWING WHO PAYS IN YEAR 1 In the first year of the Long-term Plan it is expected our work in this area will cost $32,451,000. Funds for this work programme are split between the following: General rates with $745,000 Targeted rates with $7,290,000 Fees and charges with $250,000 Grants with $12,985,000 Fares/other income with $8,517,000 Reserves with $2,664,000 TRANSPORT BUDGETED EXPENDITURE GRAPH This graph show expenditure in this area over the next 10 years. Year 1 spend is $32,451,000. Year 2 spend is $35,406,000. Year 3 spend is $37,255,000. Year 4 spend is $44,393,000. Year 5 spend is $42,575,000. Year 6 spend is the same at $42,575,000. Year 7 spend is $44,215,000. Year 8 spend is $44,312,000. Year 9 spend is $45,428,000. Year 10 spend is $46,328,000.


Regional leadership



We’re investing more in partnering with Kāi Tahu, in community engagement, and in responding to regional issues such as urban development and climate change.

Supporting governance, good decision-making, and connecting and engaging with our communities are all aspects of our work.

We’re investing in strengthening our partnership with Kāi Tahu and will be working to integrate Matauranga Kai Tahu into our way of working and decision making. We are also investing in improving our engagement approach and capability across the organisation, including partnering with our communities to develop plans for protecting and managing waterways, and rabbit control work.

We’ll continue to support the Mayoral Forum and we’ll do more to identify and develop our understanding of broader regional wellbeing issues. This will enable us to respond in the best way possible to community needs. Wherever possible our responses will be developed in partnership with communities and stakeholders.

We provide direction on resource management to Otago’s city and district councils. This includes continuing our review of the Regional Policy Statement. Meanwhile, we will increasingly be involved in urban development, as required by national legislation.


As part of our role in regional leadership, we consider climate change in everything we do.


Our immediate priorities, particularly Otago’s freshwater, means we have maintained our resource levels associated with climate change over the short-term, and there is an expectation the level of work will build over the long-term. Importantly, we would like to partner regionally on our approach to climate change.


REGIONAL LEADERSHIP TABLE SHOWING WHO PAYS IN YEAR 1 In the first year of the Long-term Plan it is expected our work in this area will cost $21,622,000. Funds for this work programme are split between the following: General rates with $15,556,000 Targeted rates with $188,000 Fees and charges with $5,300,000 Grants with $75,000 Other income with $270,000 Reserves with $233,000 REGIONAL LEADERSHIP BUDGETED EXPENDITURE GRAPH This graph show expenditure in this area over the next 10 years. Year 1 spend is $21,622,000. Year 2 spend is $22,917,000. Year 3 spend is $23,848,000. Year 4 spend is $24,524,000. Year 5 spend is $25,474,000. Year 6 spend is $25,879,000. Year 7 spend is $26,464,000. Year 8 spend is $27,472,000. Year 9 spend is $27,891,000. Year 10 spend is $28,615,000.


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