Community Development Committee (14 November)

The Community Development Committee meeting of 14 November, was preceded by a Governance Workshop held on Monday 11 November.

Governance Workshop

A Governance Workshop was presented by Vern Walsh and Steve McDowell from Meeting and Governance Solutions Limited for all new and re-elected councillors. Topics covered included: governance, conflicts of interest, meeting procedures and standing orders.  I found the suggestions on chairing meetings very useful.

Community Development Committee

The Community Development Committee Agenda included included making appointment to various community groups and receiving several reports from the community development manager, customer services manager, reserves manager, and libraries manager. A link below will direct you to the agenda containing those reports.

The meeting accepted the apologies of Cr Dowler, Cr Inglis, Cr Edgar, Cr Higgins, Cr Sangster and Cr King  for being unable to attend.

Appointments

In respect of the appointment of councillors to community groups the following appointments were made:

  • Brighwater recreation reserve: Cr King
  • Dovedale recreation reserve: Cr Norriss
  • Spring Grove recreation reserve: Cr Higgins
  • Moutre Hills recreation reserve: Cr Ensor
  • Waimea West recreation reserve: Cr King
  • Wakefield recreation reserve: Cr King
  • Wakefield hall: Cr Ensor
  • Wakefield health centre: Cr Bryant
  • Ngatimoti hall: Cr Norriss
  • Ngatimoti recreation reserve: Cr Norriss
  • Equestrian trust board: Cr Higgins
  • Mapua health centre: Cr Norriss
  • Pinegrove trust: Cr King
  • Hope recreation reserve: Cr Edgar
  • Keep Richmond Beautiful: Cr Mirfin
  • Richmond Bridge and Croquet Club: Cr Greening
  • Richmond Unlimited: Cr Edgar
  • Murchison recreation reserve: Cr Bryant
  • Stanley Brook recreation reserve: Cr Bryant
  • Tapawera recreation reserve: Cr Bryant
  • Lake Rototiti community facility: Cr Bryant
  • Golden Bay Community Facility working party: Cr Bryant, Cr Sangster, Cr Bouville
  • Moutre Hills Community Centre working group: Cr Norris and Cr Ensor.

If you have an issue with respect to any of these community facilities make sure you contact the respective appointed councillor.

Golden Bay Community Facility

It was proposed that the council staff continue to work with Golden Bay Shared Recreational Facility Inc over concept plans and site layout designs for a proposed community centre in Golden Bay. Apparently $300,000 had been set aside for this pre-development phase in this financial year, so that a report could be generated for council to consider, if it then wanted to authorise the project to proceed in the next financial year. Up to this point, about $70,000 had been spent.

I have always wondered the merit of spending money on a project, if you have no idea if you will see it through to the end. If you are not certain then you should stop spending money on it until you know you are going to follow through. Otherwise you are wasting money and time on a project that goes nowhere.

With those thoughts in mind, I objected to the proposal to provide ongoing funding for the proposed Golden Bay community centre.

In my opinion, it seemed more prudent to suspend any more expenditure on this project until such time as council knew it would commit to the project being completed. And until we have completed the annual and long term plan (LTP), there was no certainty it would be authorised by council to proceed. Given our drive to reduce debt, it seemed that there was a real risk that this project would not proceed within the time frames envisaged. Without that certainty, it seemed foolish to spend money preparing for a project that might not proceed. This is not to say the project might not proceed. If it did receive approval after the LTP process then the pre-development expenditure could restart. All we were doing was asking for a deferral of expenditure until we knew with certainty what we were doing. A bit of a no brainer really.

Alas, I was again the lone voice of objection (and single ‘nay’ voter) on proceeding with any more expenditure on this project.

I can only hope my arguments for fiscal prudence, given the impending prioritisation of expenditure (and projects) that have to be undertaken as part of the long term plan, and our drive to lower debt by prioritising projects, is finally heard by others on council. My concern, is that those sitting around the council table are scared to offend Golden Bay. But I think the people in Golden Bay need to start speaking up about what assets are important to them. Council might be surprised that such a community facility does not have much support, and that other assets that require investment, should be where council is investing its time, funds and efforts (ie Port Tarakohe). Residents in Golden Bay are just as concerned about debt and rising charges as everyone else in the wider Tasman District.

On this issue, I give council a 4/10. It must try harder.

Other Reports

A number of reports from various departments within the council were received by council. They make for interesting reading.

Some interesting facts:

  • Patronage figures for the Aquatic and Fitness Centre for September 2013 were 25,199, an increase of 714 users from September 2012. Financial disclosure of the centre’s performance is included in the report enclosed in the Agenda (see links below).
  • There were approximately 4,000 visitors to the Ecofest Expo at the Trafalgar Centre. Numbers were down on the previous year, which was attended by around 5,000. Overall expenditure was $93,229 and income $102,913. Sponsorship of approximately $53,740 value was gained.
  • Nelson City and Tasman District Councils work to promote reducing night time winter pollution through the Good Wood scheme. This is a voluntary joint project. At present, 7 firewood merchants are a part of the Good Wood scheme.
  • The Community Consultation grants are allocated for the purpose of providing funding assistance to ratepayer and community associations to assist consultation within their respective communities. There is a total of $22,550 available, the total allocation is $22,145.58 for the 2013-014 year . The funds are allocated to: Rotoiti District Community Council, Wakefield Community Council, Dovedale Residents Committee, Motueka Valley Association, Brightwater Community Association Inc, Tapawera & Districts Community Council Inc, Mapua & Districts Community Association, Tasman Area Community Association Inc, and Murchison & Districts Community Council. Richmond does not appear to have an active ratepayer association?
  • Council produces several magazines. These include: (1) the Boredom Busters magazine. The publication is funded by Council with support from sponsorship from Nelson City Council, Canterbury Community Trust and from advertising revenue, (2) the Mudcakes and Roses magazine as an action under the Positive Aging Strategy. The publication is funded by Council with support from sponsorship from Nelson City Council, Age Concern, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board and from advertising revenue, (3) the Summer Guide, Hummin’ in Tasman magazine. The publication is funded by Council with support from advertising revenue. A break-down of funding was not provided, but I intend to find out.
  • Key statistics relating to the Tasman District Council website are: (1) Mobile devices 17% of visits, (2) 43,236 unique visitors viewed 394,968 pages, (3) Popular web pages are consistently property, rates, cemeteries searches, and river flow as web cameras.
  • New projects include: (1) an Online Grants form, and (2) integrating a new version of Silent One document management system and the website content management system.
  • A key project proposed for Saxton Field is the new cycling velodrome. The project planning is well underway. This will be the first major project to be constructed on the Tasman District Council owned land within the Saxton Field complex.
  • A cross-departmental project team has commenced work on the review of the Tasman District Growth Strategy. The Growth Strategy review needs to be undertaken prior to the review of the Activity Management Plans, which will subsequently feed into the next Long Term Plan review in 2015.
  • From 1 July to 31 October 2013 our Call Centre has answered in excess of 31,000 calls. Customer Service staff have logged over 7,400 requests for service, issued 270 Land Information Memorandums and processed over 23,016 transactions in our four Customer Service Centres.
  • Library visitor numbers for August and September totalled 74,603. The busiest day was the first day of the holidays on September 30 when 1,943 visitors were counted. Visitor numbers for the year to date are 4% below last year. Use of the library’s online resources continues to increase strongly.

Closed sessions

Discussions in respect of the Moutre Hills Community Centre report and  Land Purchase SportPark Motueka report were held as a confidential session. I have to admit I could not understand why the Moutre Hills Community Centre report had to be held in a closed session. Without disclosing the contents of that report (and acting in the public interest), arguments were made to defer consideration of the proposal contained in the report until after the long term plan (LTP) had been agreed. Although it was also argued that the proposal would not result in any future costs or financial risk to the council that required suspension or deferral of the proposal. Accordingly, a working party was appointed (see above) to further investigate the proposal.

Grants and Community Facilities Rate Subcommittee

As some might be aware, council distributes grant money to the local community. Some of it is our rates money. But some of it is from central government grants. Surprisingly, very few grant applications were made for the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund or Creative Communities Scheme grants. Both are fully funded from government grants.

For those who might be interested, the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund provides $20,081  per year and the Creative Communities Scheme provides $34,885 per year. Both are funded from central government. The only cost to council is administering these funds. The Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund takes 20 hours per year of council staff time, and the Creative Communities Scheme takes 32 hours per year of council staff time.

In contrast, Community Grants provide $164,000 per year, which is fully rates funded, and takes 140 hours p/a of council staff time.

Agenda and Minutes

For copies of the Agenda (comprising reports) and minutes see http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2013/2013-11-14

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