Engineering Services Committee (3 April)

The engineering services committee meeting was held on 3 April 2014. Apologies were received from Crs Bryant, King, Norriss and myself.

The meeting received a number of staff update reports (not requiring decisions) on the following topics: (1) the great taste trail, (2) the proposed Takaka wastewater treatment plant upgrade, (3) erosion risk in Pukekoikoi, and (4) flooding issues near Neds creek in Murchison. The engineering services manager also provide a brief update on the engineering team’s recent activities.

The Tasman Cycle Trail (aka the Great Taste Trail)

In 2010 the Council decided to provide capital funding for the construction a 175 km cycle trail – known as the Tasman Great Taste Trail (the Tasman cycle trail). The project was broken up into different stages. Stage 1 comprises Richmond to Wakefield, and Richmond to Kaiteriteri (via Motueka) – a total distance of 76.6 km. Stage 2 will be from Wakefield (via Tapawera) to Riwaka – a total distance of 98 km. Stage 1 (Wakefield to Richmond to Kaiteriteri) has now been substantially completed. A useful map of the entire trail is provided in the agenda (pp 14 to 23).

With any capital investment comes maintenance costs, which are the responsibility of ratepayers (summarised in the table below). This year’s maintenance cost for the trail is $83,000. It is estimated that between $177,000 to $191,000 will be required annually for maintenance once the entire 174.6km trail is complete.

Tasman Cycle Trail Distance Maintenance costs Maintenance cost per km
Stage 1 (completed)
Trust managed trail (council grant funded) 33.6 km $63,000.00 $1,875.00
Shared paths 16 km $8,000.00 $500.00
Roads 15.5 km Nil Nil
Reserves 11.5 km $12,000.00 $1,043.00
Total 76.6 km $83,000.00 $1,083.00
Stage 2 (to be completed)
Trust managed trail (council grant funded) 58 km $94,000 to $108,750 $1,620 to $1,875
Roads 40 km Nil Nil
Total 98 km $94,000 – $108,750 $1,620 to $1,875

 

What is clear from the above table, is the hidden costs associated with extending the cycle trail. In particular the annual maintenance costs of any extension. The question that the community need to consider (and in particular those who live in Wakefield who want an extension) is whether the cost of maintaining any extension will provide a sufficient increase in income to afford the corresponding increase in targeted rates required to sustain the cycle ways upkeep. Further, any funding decisions will have to weigh up the competing importance of other projects (for example, storm water projects required to protect peoples homes and enable commercial and residential development).

If council is to commit to any extension of the cycle trail it will invariably have to commit to some form of investment in tourism if it is to ensure the community are able to get the necessary increase in income to pay the corresponding increase in rates. The alternative is to not proceed with any extensions until we can truly afford them.

Takaka Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

Staff sought approval to develop construction drawings and specifications for an open market tender for the upgrade solution for the Takaka wastewater treatment plant. The total estimated cost of the work is $3.7 million and the work would be undertaken in a 6 stage approach to control budget risk. The upgrade would include constructing a floating wetlands, thus reducing the need for major civil works.

This is a substantial capital investment for Takaka and one residents of Takaka need to acknowledge is more important than any new recreation centre. Hard choices need to be made and council have to balance capital investment around the district. A danger is council over capitalise its investment in an area that does not have a lot of projected growth. The current economic environment requires that we be much wiser with where we spend our money. If we are prepared to sweat our roads, then surely the community should be willing to sweat the nice to have investments like recreation facilities. While I appreciate promises have been made by the past council, this council has to operate within a new economic reality (one perhaps the former council was not prepared to operate within) and prioritise expenditure. This means infrastructural expenditure must always come ahead of nice to have expenditure like recreational facilities. Its just common sense.

Pukekoikoi – Erosion Risk

The purpose of the report was to provide an update on the risk of a possible failure to a small section of the cut batter adjoining the Pa reserve site at Pukekoikoi caused by erosion. Staff advised that any failure would be limited and isolated, but that the risk did exist. Staff proposed to build a small clay bund directly onto the underlying clay soil re- covered with topsoil.

Murchison Stormwater – Neds Creek

Staff outlined flooding issues adjacent to Neds Creek, Murchison, potential solutions, indicative costs and proposed actions. A number of solutions were outlined. The recommended solution involved three stages of work at a cost of $2.9 million (excluding any land purchase). A final decision would be required as part of the forthcoming 2015-2025 Long Term Plan (LTP) storm water activity management plan.

Utilities Update

Staff reported that the overall stormwater network had been well maintained in February and that regular stormwater inspections had ensured adequate targeted clearence of debris prior to any forecasted heavy rain events. However, I note that the stormwater pipes (and ditches) along Bateups Road still require some attention.

Staff also reported on the waste collection and the impact on Eves valley landfill. The landfill will require further council consideration as it nears capacity (and the end of its useful life). Some useful tables and graphs on waste and landfill capacity are included in the agenda (pp 69 to 70).

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2014/3April2014.

 

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