The community services committee meeting was held on 27 March 2014. Councillors King, Ensor, and Bryant submitted their apologies. All other councillors were in attendance.
The agenda comprised the following items: (1) presentations from Focus Wakefield and the Brook Sanctuary Trust, and (2) various reports on reserves and library activities. The meeting also took the opportunity to address a procedural matter of rescinding an earlier resolution.
Public forum and presentations
The public forum received a very good presentation from Malcolm Saunders who raised concerns over whether council should be funding the Brook Sanctuary “protection fence” ($155,000 in the 2014-15 draft annual plan) and residents concerns over storm water management in the Richmond South area.
Focus Wakefield committee presented their proposal to transform the corner of the Wakefield village green as part of its community beautification programme. To date, the Focus Wakefield group has received some grant money from council in early 2013, but intend to obtain sponsorship to fund the remaining part of its project.
A presentation was also received from Brook Sanctuary Trust. This was a very good response to the questions raised during the public forum. The Trust acknowledged that the “protection fence” had raised several challenges. However, the Trust pointed out that they had modelled their protection fences on the experiences of much older sanctuary that had very successfully provided protection over 42 water courses. This gave the Trust confidence in the protection fencing they were constructing. The Trust also confirmed that about 40% of Trust members came from the Tasman region and undertook to provide council an indication of the financial contribution that Tasman residents had given the Trust. In my opinion, these numbers indicate that our community does support this initiative enough for council to be involved. And I’d also suggest that given this council’s very small financial contribution in contrast to the overall cost of establishing the Brook Sanctuary (which is also substantially less than Nelson council’s contribution), that the residents of Tasman are getting a very good deal.
Reports were submitted by the manager and staff of the community development department. Items of interest to me included:
- the receipt of $50,000 from the Canterbury Community Trust to complete the upgrade of the Motueka recreation centre that begun in 1987 and would go towards the cost of a $103,000 lift. An application to the Lotteries Commission for the remaining funding was being lodged by Sports Tasman.
- eight applications were received for the remaining $8,394.56 of the TDC’s creative community grant money. The next round of government funded grant money for rural people to travel to sports events closes on 30 April 2014.
- various reserves and parks maintenance activities, including the replacement of equipment in Hippits reserve (near Chelsea Avenue) due to health and safety concerns. Having recently visited the reserve I had to question why the play ground equipment needed any work. They only item that was rusting was the flying fox rail, which could be removed for less cost, rather than be replaced. All the other equipment was fine. I invited other councillors to query expenditure on their reserves, but none was forthcoming. Again, I really do question whether we are over investing in playground equipment. And wonder if we are going to purchase new equipment that we invest in equipment (as they do in Singapore) for the not so young.
- pre-purchasing natural burial plots next to existing plots is forbidden under current rules. Cr Sangster questioned why this rule was in place for some areas given the land was quite stable. He also noted that our cemeteries are actually maintained quite well, in comparison to photo’s of some other cemeteries (see agenda, page 31). I noted with interest, the european way of above ground tombs, and wonder whether at some point NZ will adopt a similar approach, given the shortage of suitable land. It’s not as if the problem of grave robbers still exists? I also took the opportunity to ask about councils policy on allowing cemeteries to be used as flood plains, as is the case in Richmond. TDC recently allowed a storm water resource consent that permitted the new Olive Estate development to discharge water down the roads of the new GJ Gardener development and onto the cemetery. I had to question if this was very wise or at all sympathetic to those buried. Especially, the area dedicated to returned services association, which was very near a very small stream and undoubtedly would be flooded. While I can understand public sports grounds being used as flood plains, I do not think we should be allowing cemeteries to be used in the same way.
- information on library useage was quite informative (especially the figures on page 36 that showed each libraries useage). Noticeably useage went up in 2010 and has since dropped slightly in 2013 (driven principally by Richmond and a lesser extent Takaka libraries). Motueka library appears to have fairly constant use from 2010. Online use has begun to take off since 2011, driven mainly by ebooks, audio information, and research databases (including newspapers).
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes of this meeting can be found at: http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2014/2014-03-27.