The community development committee meeting was held on 8 May 2014. Apologies were received from Cr King and myself.
The agenda (comprising 165 pages) included the following topics: (1) an update on the velodome project, cyclone ita recovery work, new library facilities, (2) the draft open space strategy, (3) an update on the kina leases hearing, (4) funding of the Brook Waimarama sanctuary pest proof fence, (5) an update on council communication related programs and events, (6) the ecofest and environment awards, (7) call centre activity report, (8) natural burial ground information, and (9) other pending activities.
While I was not at the meeting I did forward several observations to the chair, (together with an update report to council as council representative and chair of the Richmond Bridge and Croquet Club management committee), which I highlight below.
Mr Clarke asked that the estuary power lines be relocated.
The community manager’s report covered a number of activities. A few highlights are summarised below.
- Velodrome: Construction of Saxton Field’s velodrome is currently out for tender. By way of background, both TDC and NCC agreed to relocate the velodrome from Trafalgar Park to Saxton field as park of the Trafalgar park revamp (in anticipation of the rugby world cup).
- Library facilities: The Richmond library’s imaginarium is offering a new digitizing service – due to acquiring slide and negative scanning equipment. Residents are invited to share online any slides related to world war 1 as part of our centenary celebrations.
- Cyclone recovery work: Cyclone Ita caused some damage to a number of council reserves (mainly toppling trees). Staff (and contractors) have been busy tidying up the damage.
Special thanks (and boquet) to those contractors who undertook tidy up work on some roads (on their own initiative and at their cost). Great to see such great community spirit.
Open space strategy
A draft open space strategy document was tabled for approval and public release (for a 6 week consultation period). The document is part of the current financial year’s budgeted program of public consultation. The strategy is aimed at improving the councils management of reserves and intended to identify acquisition and development priorities as a result of future growth.
My first impression of the document (which is contained in the agenda from pp 29 to 102) was that it was too long (albeit a good read) and seemed to outline what actions council was already undertaking. I came away wondering what feedback they actually wanted and wondered if this was more for internal consumption. While the document did provide a short introduction and a few key questions, I think it could have benefited from an executive summary (for those who could not be bothered reading all 70 pages) together with all the questions that the council wanted feedback on, clearly articulated up front (or in a separate questionaire). I thought the council’s earlier “urban development questionaire” was a far more effective document in getting reader engagement and feedback on important community topics.
Readers of this blog will be aware that the council entered into a funding agreement with a private group (who formed a company called “Kina Reserve Ltd”) in order to purchase 10.7 ha of land known as the LEH Baigent Reserve. In return for KRL contributing $413,531 towards the council’s purchase of the land, council undertook to begin a public consultation process over leasing out a smaller parcel of the land for the establishment of some boat sheds.
A hearing panel was formed and 12 submissions were received. After considering submissions the panel concluded that 5 leases (of just less than 35 years) be granted for the purpose of boat sheds, without any right of renewal. That the boat sheds reside within a 55 metre area and that all 5 leases fall within a total area of 1,000 metres. Various other environmental conditions were also imposed. Any boat sheds that were constructed would also have to go through the normal consent process.
My main concerns were about ensuring the lease did not trip any subdivision rules (now or in the future), and that there would be no ability to transfer ownership (eg via trusts changing the make up of beneficiaries).
In my opinion, this was a very successful outcome for everyone involved. The community acquired 10.7 ha of land for public use and some private individuals received a very limited period of private use as reward for assisting the council in its purchase. While I think it might be overstating the arrangement to suggest council could not have done it without private funding (given council seems to find funds for other activities), this is still a very good outcome for the ratepayers.
Brook Waimarama sanctuary
In the 2013-14 annual plan, council agreed to grant the Brook Sanctuary $157,899 towards its pest proof fence (subject to it obtaining other funding). In the draft annual plan for 2014-15 council proposes payment of a second final installment (being $155,046) towards construction of the fence.
Before the council can make these payments, staff require authorisation to enter into a funding agreement with the Trust. The agreement confirms the two installment funding arrangement and notes that the second installment is subject to approval in the 2014-15 annual plan. The agreement directs that the funds only be used for the purpose of constructing the fence. A copy of the agreement is contained in the agenda (at p 129).
The community relations manager provided an update on various activities. These included: (1) online activity – including 2,537 draft annual plan visits, (2) monitoring of Fresh FM downloads\pod casts, which are available from the tasman website, (3) an increase in TDC twitter and facebook followers, (4) riparian planting activities in Golden Bay in conjunction with schools, landowners, and fonterra, and (5) 3,000 people attending the positive aging expo. TDC’s involvement cost ratepayers $869.57.
Ecofest and environment awards
There are two activities that TDC and NCC jointly fund and support. The event and awards are held every two years (ie biennially). The first is Ecofest and the second are the environment awards. Earlier this year, council supported the concept of a touring Ecofest event in light of Trafalgar centre closing due to earthquake risk concerns. And that the environment awards form part of the Ecofest event. Recently, NCC announced that it would not be supporting the ongoing funding of the event and sought expressions of interest from the private sector to hold the event at Founders park (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/9887226/Ecofest-may-become-one-day-event). I think what NCC is suggesting makes a lot of sense. I considered TDC should also support NCC in its approach.
In light of NCC’s pending decision, council decided to hold off making any further decision until NCC had made theirs. The aim being to continue to work with NCC on any future event. Council also resolved to cancel the environment awards (as a stand alone event) for 2013-14 given the limited available funding from both councils.
The customer services manager provided a useful report on call centre activity and building consents – including some useful tables (pp 158-159 of the agenda). Over the period from October 2013 to March 2014 the number of logged (and tracked) service requests has increased. Staff report that customers are responding favourably to the improved customer service and follow up’s that are now happening.
Natural burial grounds
The council has 12 operating cemeteries (Bainham, Collingwood, Kotinga, Fleets Road, Waimea West, Spring Grove, Foxhill, Mararewa, Murchison, Richmond, Motueka and Rototai. The last three being the main cemeteries. An average of 110 burials (and a similar amount of cremation interments) happen each year.
Natural burial’s are becoming popular (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/9934484/Dealing-with-death-in-a-Kiwi-way). Natural burial grounds are currently available in Motueka and Rototai. Another is proposed in Spring Grove. A natural burial is typically shallower (below one metre), involving a bio-degradable casket, does not involve embalming, and is covered in native shrub planting. Information on this type of burial is available from the council’s website (see “Cemetery Standard Operating Procedures 2011” at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/services/cemeteries). Discussion was invited on undertaking a review of the the current rules.
Agenda an minutes
The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2014/2014-05-08.