Environment committee meeting (17 March)

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 17 March 2016. Apologies were accepted from Mayor Kempthorne and Crs Inglis and Mirfin. All other councillors were present.

The agenda included: (1) protected tree update, (2) building control manager’s report, (3) regulatory manager’s report, (4) presentation report from Nelson environment centre, (5) River water quality monitoring programme review, (6) Environment and planning activity report, and (7) Chairs report.

Public forum

Public forum included presentations from Karen Steadman and Murray Dawson.

Karen (a real estate agent and resident) spoke about the rural review and allocating a rural zone in Murchison to allow lifestyle blocks and more subdivision. She thought the community needed to attract people to the area in order to sustain the town and that affordable homes were required.

Murray Dawson spoke about the need for weirs and suggested that weirs be considered as an alternative water augmentation option to the Waimea Community Dam.

Protected trees

Council agreed to remove 13 protected trees from the Protected Tree Schedule.

The trees were ranked originally as either Category B or C trees. There were no Category A trees. The request was based on the council arborist’s assessment that the trees no longer met the STEM assessment criteria to qualify as protected trees, because they had been storm damaged, had developed poor form, or had deteriorating health.

The trees were located in Takaka, Riwaka, Marahau, Appleby, Richmond (at the far end of Appaloosa Avenue), Brightwater and Wakefield and are comprised of a mix of species. A map of the relevant tree locations is enclosed in the agenda (at page 21 to 41).

Building control

Council received the building manager’s report for the period from 1 March 2015 to 29 February 2016. Highlights included:

  • IANZ audit. Completed in October 2015. Four corrective actions were issued with a clearance date of February 2016. The most significant issue was skilled resourcing levels. All corrective actions have now been resolved with the BCA being reaccredited in February 2016. A further audit will be completed in October 2016.
  • Go Shift. TDC joined the Go Shift initiative that will lead to consistent consenting and inspection practices across 21 councils in the Lower North Island and Top of the South.
  • Team rebranding. Building Control rebranded as Building Assurance.
  • Staff. 6 staff are departing and 6 replacement staff have been recruited. In response to the IANZ audit, some staff capacity and capability has been lifted. Any cost implications will be covered by reduced spend in direct costs and non-rate income, so as to avoid any impact on general rates.
  • Building consent fees. A review will take place in the first quarter of 2016-17 financial year.

The number of consents issued is illustrated below (and shows a 9.2 % increase across all work streams).

20160317-p49

Regulatory compliance

Council received the regulatory manager’s report for the period from 1 March 2015 to 29 February 2016. Highlights from the manager’s report included:

  • Restructuring. Building Section became a stand-alone entity in April 2015 and the Compliance Section (previously part of Environmental Information) came into the Regulatory fold. There have been no staff changes or additions. Three members of staff reduced their hours by 4 hours per week; this has in part, allowed an increase in administrative support for the department which will commence on 1 July 2016.
  • Development contributions (DCs). The DC policy was recently challenged in the court and successfully defended. However, the commissioner’s comments indicated that the use of better defined catchments would make our Policy less likely to be challenged in future. Staff intend brining a report to council on this issue.
  • Freedom camping. There were 152 complaints received over the period 1 May 2015 to 29 February 2016. Eighteen Infringement Notices were issued at Motueka Beach Reserve and Control Services have spent approximately 250 hours on policing and enforcement activities (they are contracted for a total of 120 hours).
  • Oil spill response. The regulatory manager is the only Regional On-Scene Commander (ROSC) at TDC. This is not a cause for alarm as Nelson council have two ROSC employed as contractors and TDC work in tandem with them.
  • Civil Defence (CD). The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) recent “Monitoring and Evaluation report”, showed that the Nelson Tasman CDEM’s overall score was-82.1%, the highest in New Zealand.
  • Rural fire. The Government has progressed a Fire Service Review that will ultimately see the NZ Fire Service and Rural Fire Forces combine to make a single service.
  • Alcohol and food licensing. This has increased by an average of 12% with only Special Licenses showing a fall in applications. Other licensing (Food and Health premises) has increased by 15%. The effects of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act have been effectively absorbed into the team roles.
  • Food safety. The new Food Act requirements have started to take effect from 1 March 2016. Over the last three years only about 30% of eligible food businesses moved over to the new requirements before the 1 March deadline.
  • Noise complaints. This have risen by over 12%, primarily through complaint of noise from parties.
  • Insanitary housing. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) dealt with 3 insanitary dwellings over the period. In all cases cleansing orders were issued to ensure compliance.
  • Dog registrations. 99.46% of known dogs were registered at 29 February 2016 (total dogs 1,044, registered 10,450, unregistered 57). Two prosecutions were taken for dogs attacking humans.
  • Parking. Parking infringements dating back to 2006 that have been processed to court, but are still outstanding, totals $101,855.00. Infringements issued: 1671 (2014-15), 1961 (2015-16). Fines issued: $79,149.00 minus cancellations of $8,742.00 (2014-15), $84,586.00 minus cancellations of $14,834.00 (2015-16). Revenue: $70,407.00 (2014-15), $69,752.00 (2015-16).
  • Harbour master. The Harbour master has done about 48 days at sea over the last 12 months. A number of derelict boats have been notified for removal within the district and the Harbour master currently has five vessels to dispose of. The Harbourmaster has also towed eight recreational vessels to safety, and attended and co-ordinated the recovery of three vessels that had sunk. The new harbour master’s boat is nearing completionwith a pre-handover inspection completed on 10 February.
  • Port Tarakoe (Takaka). After 5 years in Port Tarakohe the Santa Monica (42 metres long, 392 tonnes) has moved to Westport.

River water quality

Council’s River Water Quality Monitoring Programme is currently being reviewed. This is the first major review in 16 years of operation. Implementation of the revised programme is expected in July 2016.

The major change proposed I the review is to increase the sampling frequency to monthly, with sampling to occur at all flow conditions (currently council only samples at low flows), while reducing the number of sampling sites by about half. There should be no impact on budgets from this change.

Presentation report from Nelson environment centre

Carolyn Hughes presented on water conservation and Nelson Environment Centre’s (NEC) proposal for smart metering and promoting behavioural change within Tasman District communities. NEC sought funding from TDC to cover trialling this initiative. NEC was asked to provide cost estimates to staff and for staff to report back on the impact on existing budgets.

Environment and planning activity report

Council received the managers report. Highlights included:

  • Wetlands. Staff are planning for two meetings with land owners of wetlands in Golden Bay in the next couple of months.
  • Native habitat survey. The next part of the Native Habitat Survey under the auspices of Native Habitats Tasman (NHT) is also about to move in Golden Bay towards the middle of this year.
  • Rainfall. Data on rainfall is viewable from TDC webpage (by clicking the relevant point on the map) at www.tasman.govt.nz/environment/water/rainfall/.
  • Finance. At 67% of the way through the year, expenditure is under budget overall and non-rate income overall is slightly ahead of budget. So looking good.

Council approved the specified delegations to staff so they could properly execute functions assigned to TDC under the Food Act 2014.

Council also agreed to establish, with Nelson City Council, a Regional Pest Management Joint Committee and appointed Crs Bryant, Ensor and Norriss to the Regional Pest Management Joint Committee.

Chairs report

Highlights from the chairs report include:

  • Westport link road. Gary Howard, Mayor of Buller, has met with both the Murchison and Tapawera community councils and gave a brief outline of Buller’s roading proposal from Little Wanganui near Karamea, through the Wangapeka to the Motueka Valley. The plan can be viewed on the Buller District Council website link at: http://bullerdc.govt.nz/council-to-discuss-a-new-roadlinking- nelson-and-westport/.
  • Rural land use changes. The rural land use & subdivision plan change, Proposed Change 60, has been open for submissions since January, and the submission period closed 14 March. Three open public briefing meetings were held at: Wakefield, Takaka and Motueka.
  • Developer’s Forum meeting. A half year report to the Minister of Housing on the Housing Accord showed there is a lot of development going on with 110 new residential sections and 199 new residential houses, compared to a six-month target of 65 and 150 respectively.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2016/2016-03-17.

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