Environment and Planning Committee (19 December)

The Environment and Planning Committee meeting was held on 19 December 2013. Cr Sangster, Cr King, and myself were unavailable for this meeting. I was also unavailable for the extraordinary full council meeting that was held directly after.

A small number of reports were submitted for council’s consideration, which were contained in the agenda (see link below). The agenda comprised the following reports to council:

  1. Flood modelling report for Brightwater and Wakefield was received by council. It is anticipated that flood modelling results and their implications for Brightwater and Wakefield will be presented to the public as a series of workshops and\or open days in early 2014.
  2. Navigational bylaw review report. Council approved for public consultation the revised navigation bylaw. The council was obliged to review the bylaw since it was first approved in 1994. Only a small number of changes were made. Submissions on the bylaw are due on 28 March 2014. It is anticipated the bylaw will come into force in December 2014.
  3. Urban density symposium report. This symposium was held on 21 November 2013. I attend the afternoon session due to being engaged in council meetings in the morning. The symposium presented some interesting views on future urban development. In particular the issues that confront good compact density development (for example, acoustics). I was especially interested in an observation from a developer who suggested that the majority of compact density developments conducted in Tasman were done by residents, who were subdividing their properties. Developers in Richmond were generally not interested in developing compact density housing due to a lack of market interest (and profit) in such developments. I also found the various maps of Richmond, very interesting (see Residential Growth and Development Discussion paper (pages 40-49 at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/tasman/projects/environmental-projects/richmond-urban-density-project).
  4. Manager’s report from the environment and planning team. Highlights included a summary of changes arising from the Building Amendment Act 2013, new earthquake prone building obligations on councils, and the teams financial statements which showed that for the year to October 2013 operating income was budgeted at $4,549,228 and operating costs at $,4,487,243 (comprising wages at $2,827,636, being just over half of the teams operating expenditure). The challenge for council (and management) is to ensure that staff are deployed productively, so that the wages bill does not increase. For example, if certain activities of council provide larger revenue streams than other areas, management need to allocate staff to the more productive revenue streams, rather than just seeking more staff. The art of good management is to get things done through people at the least cost for maximum profit. An art that is shown to be lacking when mangers seek more staff from council, rather than managing their teams more efficiently.
  5. The establishment and appointment of members to the Waimea freshwater and land advisory group. Those appointed included: Cr Mirfin (council representative), Matt Hippolite (iwi representative), Lawson Davey, Gavin O’Donnell, Andrew Kininmonth, Mirka Langford, Philip Woolaston, Nick Patterson, Heather Arnold, Martin Rutledge, and Pierre Gargiulo.

The agenda and minutes can be found at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2013/2013-12-19.

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