Tagged: Alcohol

Environment and planning (4 February)

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 4 February 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Norris and Cr Mirfin, and for lateness from Cr Dowler. All other councillors were present.

The agenda included a number of information only reports and a confidential (in-committee) session on: (1) a private plan change request from Progressive Enterprises Ltd, (2) report and recommendations from commissioner on Plan changes 54, 55 and 56 relating to the Waimea Water Management (Security of Supply), and (3) a report on weather tight home resolution case.

The open agenda included: (1) reduction of fees categories for certain off-licences, (2) environmental policy manager’s report on environmental policy programme, (3) compliance monitoring 6-monthly report (1 July to 31 December 2015), (4) resource consent manager’s report (July to December 2015), (5) 2015 air quality report. (6) pesticide residues in groundwater 2014 survey, (7) environment and planning teams activity report (the manager’s report), and (8) chair’s report.

I will summarise the highlights for me from these reports.

Public forum

Mr Hellyer raised his concerns about freedom camping in the district. He considered it an appalling situation and asked that TDC enforce some of its bylaws. He suggested some freedom campers should use motor camps (which are very cheap!).

Mr Clark gave his condolences to the family of Nick Paterson who had recently passed away. A reminder to everyone how fleeting life can be. Maxwell asked that the Waimea Water Management (Security of Supply) Plan Changes 54, 55 and 56 be considered in open meeting, instead of in-committee. He also spoke about an article in a local paper (Tasman Leader 21 January 2016) pages 4-5), which contained Councillors opinions on the Waimea Community Dam. He asked councilors come clean on where they stood on the dam and considered some councillors were sitting on the fence with “hairy fairy” comments like “holistic”.

Interestingly, many councillors did not vote, how they said they would (see full council meeting agenda and minutes (recording the vote) of 31 March 2016 at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-03-31)?

Mr Dawson also asked that council do not spend any more money on the proposed Waimea Community Dam. He suggested the current $25 million was more than enough. He warned that council should not be manipulated into dam. He asked that his questions to staff about the hydrology are given an adequate response. He also asked why there were no public forums at extraordinary (mini) full councils meetings?

Off-licence fee reduction

In my opinion, this was the most significant item on the agenda.

By way of background, the TDC has adopted the statutory regulations for fee setting (rather than introduce its own Bylaw), as set out by central government (see Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Fees) Regulations 2013 at www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2013/0452/latest/DLM5708133.html).

In this case, two local boutique businesses (Peckham Ciders and Schnapp Dragon Distillery) wrote to council asking that their off-licence fees be reduced. Peckham Ciders argued that they did not make cellar door sales and instead sold most of their products remotely via their website or directly to trade distributors. Schnapp Dragon made a similar argument, stating that while they sold products on-site (from the cellar door), they did not allow consumption of their products on-site.

Generally, the regulations use a classification and weighting system to determine fees and charges. This is achieved by adding a retailer classification risk weighting and enforcement risk weighting together to determine the overall risk weighting and corresponding fee for the application.

For example, a business that sells alcohol is classified into the following types of retailers:

Licence held or sought Type of premises Weighting
On-licence Class 1 restaurant, night club, tavern, adult premises 15
On-licence Class 2 restaurant, hotel, function centre 10
On-licence Class 3 restaurant, other premises not otherwise specified 5
On-licence BYO restaurants, theatres, cinemas, winery cellar doors 2
Off-licence Supermarket, grocery store, bottle store 15
Off-licence Hotel, tavern 10
Off-licence Class 1, 2, or 3 club, remote sale premises, premises not otherwise specified 5
Off-licence Winery cellar doors 2
Club licence Class 1 club 10
Club licence Class 2 club 5
Club licence Class 3 club 2

The relevant weighting is then combined with another enforcement weighting:

Number of enforcement holdings in last 18 months (applies to all types of premises) Weighting
None 0
1 10
2 or more 20

The total number is then used to create an overall risk rating that generates the license cost.

Cost/risk rating of premises Fees category Application fee Annual fee
0–2 Very low $320.00 $140.00
3–5 Low $530.00 $340.00
6–15 Medium $710.00 $550.00
16–25 High $890.00 $900.00
26 plus Very high $1,050.00 $1,250.00

Due to the manner in which the regulations were drafted, cellar door sales (of wine) are awarded a lower risk rating, than other businesses that sell spirit based alcohol from the door. This is good for the wine industry, who can obtain a lower risk rating by adding a cellar door operation to their business. Although it does create a strange outcome for vineyards that do not operate a cellar door?

I suspect the underlying reason for this distinction is an acknowledgement that the consumption of wine presents a lower risk, than the consumption of spirits. However, the regulations as they are currently drafted do not appear to recognise that online (remote) sales of alcohol (wine or spirits) provide an even lower risk of drink driving incidents. This is because online sales cannot be consumed at the point of purchase (ie at the vineyard or distillery), but are delivered to the home.

In my opinion, the regulations are poorly drafted and fail to make a clear distinction between the types of alcohol (ie wine vs spirits) and the point of sale (ie online (remote) vs site of manufacture). Ideally the regulations should separate out winery sales (remote or cellar door, and all other remote sales. This could be done by adding “remote sales” as a separate classification and awarding a risk rating of “2”. Unfortunately this is not the case, and TDC were left to apply another rule provided within the regulations (clause 6(4) of the regulations) – namely exercising a discretion to reduce the overall risk rating by one step (eg from “low” to “very low”). Exercising the discretion would save affected businesses $810 (over 3 years).

Staff recommended that council allow the applicants to be classified in the “very low” risk category as permitted in the Act. Council, after asking for information about the financial impact of a positive decision, unanimously agreed. Council also took the opportunity to reduce non-commercial community events and fundraising licensing categories by one step. Both changes took affect from the date of the resolutions (and were not retrospective).

TDC information on licensing can be found at www.tasman.govt.nz/services/licensing-and-environmental-health/alcohol-licensing/off-licence/.

Environmental policy programme

This report updated progress with live plan change projects in the environmental policy programme, and discussed priorities, deadlines, and staff resourcing for 2016.

Plan changes included: Richmond greenways (Plan Change 37), Wakefield review (Plan Change 57) Brightwater review (Plan Change 58) Residential zone coverage (Plan Change 59), Rural land use and subdivision policy review (Plan Change 60), PPCR Wainui Bay (Plan Change 61), PPCR Commercial Richmond north (Plan Change 62), Coastal occupation charges (Plan Change 63) Mooring review (Plan Change 64), NPSET – electricity transmission lines review (Plan Change 65), Golden Bay landscapes (Plan Change 66), Urban development review (Plan Change 67), Takaka catchments water management (Plan Change 68), Waimea Plains water quality (Plan Change 69), Richmond residential zone review (Plan Change 70), Takaka and Waimea plains FLAG projects.

Compliance reporting

The report provided a summary of the complaints, incidents, and general monitoring over a 6-month period (from 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015). Between 1 July and 31 December a total of 428 complaints or requests for service were received by the compliance team. In comparison 479 complaints were received for the same period the previous year and 482 the year before that.

Enviro-20160204-p42

A total of 25 abatement notices were issued over the period. A total of 19 infringement fines were issued for breaches against the Resource Management Act or Litter Act. A total of 2278 individual monitoring actions were recorded against 1093 resource consents as part of the Council’s targeted compliance monitoring programme. Enforcement actions in relation to water takes in the district were: 1 abatement notice, 2 infringement fines, and 3 invoices for missing readings audits.

The 2015-16 dairy farm survey started in September 2015 as farms commenced milking. As at the end of December 2015, 40 farms had been inspected. There were 6 recorded instances of non-compliances within the first few weeks of the audits. Of these, 3 farms rated as non-compliant and 3 significantly non-compliant.

For the 3 rated non-compliant, one related to the discharge not meeting the setback requirement to a property boundary. The other two related to minor ponding o f effluent on the ground’s surface but did not pose any threat of run-off to water. For the 3 rated significant, the offences included the direct discharge of effluent to water, significant ponding of effluent on the ground’s surface that resulted in run-off into a waterway and a farm with no contingency in place to avoid a discharge to water. All 3 were dealt with through abatement notices and infringement fines.

Enviro-20160204-p49

Resource consents

The report presented a summary of the performance of the resource consent team regarding compliance with statutory timeframes for the first half of the 2015-2016 financial year.

Overall, 481 resource consent applications (including variations to existing consents) were processed, with 99.8% compliance with statutory timeframes during the 6-month period. Around 35% of all applications had time extensions applied (similar to last year).

The permit replacement processes for all water takes in the Wai-iti Zone, and the first batch of 40 water permits affected by the Waimea Augmentation proposals (Lee Valley Dam), had begun at the time of this report. Water users were able to continue to exercise their old permits in the interim period until new permits were completed.

In my opinion, the consent performance was very good, given resourcing issues (mainly due to staff changes) and increased workload.

Timeliness Results (July-December 2015) Non-notified Applications

Type of Application Number Complete Percentage Within Time Median Processing Days **
2012 * 2013 * 2014 * 2015 *
Non-notified Applications (No Hearing)
District Land 237 203 213 231 100.00% 13
Subdivision 67 68 71 58 98.00% 21
Coastal 14 21 25 10 100.00% 15
Discharge 81 53 101 78 100.00% 20
Regional Land 12 22 13 20 100.00% 22
Water 28 46 61 67 100.00% 19
Total: 446 425 484 464 99.80% 17
Others *** 7 12 18 17 n/a n/a
Non-Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 0 0 4 0 n/a 0
* Numbers include applications to change conditions of existing consents.
** Processing days include time extensions. Time extensions are typically required for large and/or complex subdivisions including associated discharge permits for wastewater and stormwater disposal for new rural residential allotments. Time extensions are also applied for the bulk processing of replacement water permits for water management zones.
*** The “Others” category includes Rights of Way (ROWs), Designations, Outline Plans and Certificates of Compliance.

Timeliness Results (July-December 2015) Notified Applications

Type of Application Number Complete Percentage Within Time Average Processing Days *
2012 * 2013 * 2014 * 2015 *
Publicly Notified Applications (No Hearing)
All 1 0 2 5 100.00% 62
Publicly Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 11 2 0 3 100.00% 168 ***
Limited Notified Applications (No Hearing)
All 7 5 2 4 100.00% 78
Limited Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 1 2 42 ** 5 100.00% 333 ***
Totals 20 10 46 17 100.00% n/a
* Processing days include time extensions.
** The limited notified applications in 2014 included 27 discharge permits for rural subdivisions.
*** The applications with long processing times all involved requests from the applicants to give them time to attempt to resolve issues with submitters.

Summary of Decisions

Type of Decision Number
Declined by Committee 0
Granted by Committee 2
Declined by Independent Commissioners 0
Granted by Independent Commissioners 11
Granted by Mixed Panel 0
Declined under Delegated Authority 0
Granted under Delegated Authority 468
Requiring Authority Decision (Designations) 0

Air quality

The report updated the Environment & Planning Committee on results of air quality monitoring in Richmond undertaken during the winter of 2015. Based on current trends, during normal winter weather TDC is on track to achieve the current requirements of the National Environmental Standard Air Quality (NESAQ). The NESAQ is set by law and TDC is required to meet it.

Enviro-20160204-p62

Over the last winter the NESAQ was exceeded 3 times for 24 hour average particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10). This is the second best result on record since air quality monitoring began in Richmond in 2001 and much lower than the total number of exceedences recorded during 2013 (nine), although one more exceedance than that recorded during 2014 (two).

Enviro-20160204-p64

The majority of smoke related complaints related to outdoor burning, with 15 complaints in the Richmond area, 12 in the Moutere Waimea area and 36 within the Motueka area.

Pesticides

The report discussed Council’s participation in the National Survey of Pesticides in New Zealand Groundwaters and presented the results of the latest round of sampling.

In Tasman, 15 groundwater sites are sampled at 4-yearly intervals and tested for the presence of pesticide residues. Tasman has participated in this programme since 1998 completing 5 surveys to date.

Overall, the 2014 sampling confirms the continued presence of trace level pesticide residues in groundwater at some locations (seven). Whilst showing some variability, no sites show any significant increases in pesticide residues compared to the previous sampling results.

The pesticide residues detected in Tasman groundwaters during the 2014 sampling round were:

  • Simazine pre-emergence herbicide (field half-life: 26 – 186 days),
  • Terbuthylazine herbicide for grass and broadleaf weed control (field half-life: 60 days),
  • Dinoseb herbicide for grass and broadleaf weed control (field half-life: 100 days).

Enviro-20160204-p76

Environment and planning activity report

Highlights from the managers report include:

  • Marine protection areas. There are two marine reservations in Tasman – Tonga Island and Whanganui Inlet. Both will transition into new reserve status under the proposed law changes.
  • RMA reform. The LGA and Productivity Commission have released think pieces on the future of the RMA (see www.lgnz.co.nz/home/our-work/publications/a-blue-skies-discussion/, and www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/2682?stage=2).
  • Woodburners. Nelson council (NCC) is proposing a limited number of Ultra Low Emission Burners (ULEBs) be allowed in Airshed B2 (including Stoke, Wakatu and Enner Glynn) and Airshed C (including Port Hills, City Centre, The Brook, The Wood and Atawhai). If there are further improvements to air quality over the next few years, the plan change proposes that burners could also become a permitted activity in Airshed A (including Bishopdale, Victory, Toi Toi, between the colleges, and Washington Valley) and Airshed B1 (Tahunanui and Tahunanui Hills south of The Cliffs). TDC is unlikely to have any spare capacity in the Richmond Airshed to allow a change in the current woodburner policy.

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/2016/2016-02-04.

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Environment and planning (19 November)

Environment and planning (19 November)

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 19 November 2015. Apologies were received from Cr Edgar. All councillors were in attendance (with Cr Bouillir and Cr Sangster arriving late from their drive over the Takaka hill).

Cr Mirfin noted that the minutes from the last meeting were “a bit light”. I certainly share this concern. This is also a growing concern for a number of residents who show an interest in issues that council debates.

The agenda included: (1) national policy statement freshwater management, (2) private plan change for Wainui Bay (spat catching), (3) Alcohol licensing costs, (4) Food Act, (5) Annual Biodiversity report, (6) environment and planning services activity report, and (7) the chairs report. There were no public forum presentations. Much of the meeting was deciding to receive reports and approve public notification of them. I intend to highlight the main topics of interest.

A confidential (in committee) session was also held in relation to: (1) proposed rural land use subdivision plan change, and (2) building claim settlement. Workshops followed.

National policy statement freshwater management

The Freshwater Management national policy statement (NPS) was first introduced in 2011 and amended in 2014. The Freshwater Management NPS is being progressively implemented with full implementation by 2030. The work programme includes: completion of water allocation and flow management for the Waimea Plains water management zones, establishing community based advisory groups (FLAG groups) to develop water quality and quantity management provisions for Takaka and the Waimea Plains, scoping a land disturbance review )sediment and erosion control guidelines), and mapping of all wetlands.

Concerns were raised about the cost (and progress) of the FLAG groups. Some wondered if it was more cost effective (and timely) to just drive the process through public consultation, rather than engage stakeholders through the FLAG groups. While there was some merit in upfront timeliness, there was always the risk of downstream costs arising through appeal processes.

From my own experience, it is much more efficient to engage (and address issues) before going over the cliff edge, than addressing them on beach (under pressure). It also provides greater community engagement and transparency, as its all on the web to read (see http://www.tasman.govt.nz/environment/water/water-resource-management/water-catchment-management/water-management-partnerships-flags/). That said, it is incumbent on staff to ensure delivery expectations are met and any slippage (or scope creep) is avoided. Which is always hard when dealing with unpaid stakeholders.

Wainui Bay mussel spat catching

Wainui Bay mussel spat catching farms are considered nationally and regionally significant for quality and quantity of mussel spat. The private proposal seeks to extend the current resource consent in Wainui Bay beyond 2024, in order to provide commercial certainty. Council resolved to notify the public of the proposed plan change. The proposal is located on the councils webpage at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2015/2015-11-19/PrivatePlanChangeRequestWainuiBaySpatCatching.

Alcohol licensing costs

Council is required by law to publicly report the costs of providing alcohol licensing (see Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012). Alcohol charges are set by statute (and regulation). Council is authorised to make bylaws for fee setting (see Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Fee-setting Bylaws) Order 2013), but has chosen to adopt by default the national regulation (see Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Fees) Regulations 2013). This is because it is considered that establishing a bylaw would be a “significant cost” and council is better to just adopt the fees in the regulations.

In my opinion, the fee setting in the regulations could do with some serious fine tuning. Clubs and community events are given higher risk ratings than perhaps seems justifiable and this results in higher fees for these activities. If there is a trade off in the risk rating process, it needs to be for activities that have resulted in public nuisances or offences. This would incentivise greater compliance, or risk ratings and higher fees. Another anomaly is the treatment of online sales. This is something that the government needs to urgently review. Online sales need to be given a separate classification and risk rating in the regulations.

Period: 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015

Total fees received: $197,946.00
Portion of fees passed to central government agency (ARLA) $13,970.00
Fees retained by council $183,976.00
Cost of administration $101,232.27
Cost of inspections $236,070.58
Cost of enforcement $5,5179.66
Total cost to council $342,482.51

Subsidisation by council is: 54% user pays and 46% rates funded. Staff aim to reduce the subsidation ratio to 60:40 through streamlining processes.

Interestingly, Ministry of Justice civil and constitutional unit general manager David King is reported as saying that the reforms aimed to improve New Zealand’s drinking culture and reduce the harm caused by excessive drinking. Mr King stated that:

The new system fairly reflects the cost of alcohol licensing . . . [it] aims to ensure licensing costs are met by the alcohol industry rather than ratepayers, who currently subsidise about 50 per cent, $5.4 million a year, of the system.

Empirical evidence (from Tasman) would suggest that the regulations still result in cross subsidisation of 50% or more. Perhaps its time for the Ministry of Justice to review if the regulations are working?

Food Act 2014 – new regulatory process

The new Food Act 2014 is soon to come into force. The Act provides for the council to provide registration and verification functions (from 1 March 2016). Similar to the Supply of Alcohol Regulations, the Food Act places food businesses into different risk categories which are then to operate under different regulatory controls.

The new feature of the Act is the separation of the registration function from the verification (audit and inspection) function. Only the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and territorial authorities (like TDC) will be able to register food businesses. No change here.

However, verification is being opened to the private sector. This means verification functions can be provided by TDC, or an approved provider (like AsureQuality). Food businesses will either develop their own food control plans or be part of a registered national programme. Most small food businesses will fall under a registered national programme. At this time, there have been no draft templates or examples of national programmes. However, there is nothing stopping a business developing and submitting their own food control plans.

All private providers will have to apply for verification status. TDC is deemed to hold verification status for verifying “food control plans”. However, council will not have deemed verification status for verifying “national programmes”. Instead, TDC will have to apply (like private providers) to MPI for approval and show it has met all regulatory requirements (like a documented quality management system).

The total cost of acquiring approver status has not been determined by MPI yet. Estimated costs are $193.75 plus $155 per hour to process the application. The amount of time to process an application has yet to be disclosed. Staff anticipate that developing a documented quality management system will involve substantial staff time (and cost).

Council resolved not to provide a verification function given the uncertainties and potential cost. In my opinion, it seems strange to deem verification status for councils in relation to food control plans, but not national programmes (where there is likely to be cookie cutter approach).

I would have thought if councils are deemed to be able to verify high risk activities they should also be deemed to verify lower risk activities? The distinction makes no sense, other than it requires councils to incur additional costs. Surely if the council is good enough to verify a high risk activity, it is more than capable of verifying a lower risk activity? Basically, council should be deemed to provide verification services for both food control plans and national programmes. If councils do not offer verification services for small business, the private sector will (in the short term) take advantage and charge higher prices for verification services – hardly business friendly.

Interestingly, MPI’s response to the distinction (from my own enquiries) is that:

Businesses that will be required to operate under a national programme include a large variety of manufacturers that a number of TAs [territorial authorities] have not been working with so it not appropriate to provide automatic recognition to TAs to verify these businesses.”

Adding that:

MPI is considering further the recognition process for TAs that may wish to verify retailers that operate under national programmes and will provide more information to TAs in the near future.

It also concerns me that a new Act is about to come into force and a lot of administrative issues are still being resolved by MPI. This is most unsatisfactory. Especially for councils, who are very conscious of additional financial burdens being placed on them by central government. How can councils be expected to plan for the future if relevant financial information (like fees and costs) have not be resolved by MPI. Again, this is a serious issue that government need to review.

Interestingly, MPI’s response (to my enquiries) is that:

MPI is currently working on the assessment process for councils and other agencies to become recognised to verify businesses under the Act. At this stage we are unable to say how long will take, and therefore what the final cost will be. … we hope to send this information to councils before the end of the year. One of the reasons for this is that we are currently looking into ways that the recognition process could be simplified for councils wishing to verify national programme businesses that they currently inspect under the Food Hygiene Regulations (as mentioned). Councils are automatically recognised to verify template food control plans, so will only need to apply for recognition to verify national programme businesses or custom food control plans.

I will be watching with interest to see how this plays out.

Check out the MPI overview of the new Food Act and compliance tool at www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-act-2014/overview/.

Annual Biodiviersity report

This was an information only report. Generally, council’s biodiversity programme is focused generating reports on lowland ecosystems, mostly located on private land. And involves a district wide survey of natural areas outside of the conservation estate to assess the ecological significance of these areas. The reports are provided to landowners to assist in management of the identified sites. As at 30 September 2015, 469 sites had been inspected with 309 reports generated. Many reports have been used as reference documents when considering planning applications, and policy reviews. Landowners (farming or forestry) have also used them for funding applications for pest control and restoration planting.

Council obtained central government funding ($26,000 per year) through to June 2017, but will be fully funding this work from July 2017 (due to an absence of any external funding). Current costs are $62,000 per year and are planned to reduce to $56,500 from July 2017. It is expected that the remaining ten ecological districts will be completed within the next 10-12 years.

Environment services activity report

Highlights from the managers report include:

  • Shop trading hours. Local authorities will have the ability to put in place a bylaw allowing trading on Easter Sunday. Essentially, the political issue (and cost of consultation) has been shifted to local government. While this delegates the decision making to the regions, it comes at a cost. Ideally, government would have also provided the financial support to implement this shift in decision making.
  • Hearing delegation. Council resolved to appoint a commissioner to hear the proposed Waimea water management plan change and make recommendations to council. This allows council to rehear the matter if it disagrees with all or any part of the recommendations. The council could appoint the commissioner to hear and “decide” the matter. If it did this it could not revisit the decision. From my experience, there appears very little practical difference. Most councilors are reluctant to revisit recommendations due to the cost of a rehearing. Nor are they keen to engage with the affected parties to mediate any compromise over issues that council might disagree with.
  • Building consent fees. The consents team incurred a deficit of $41,661 due to additional costs in meeting statutory timeframes from resource shortages. The increase should address this shortfall. Comparatively, TDC fees will still be lower than Nelson or Marlborough councils. For example, a single story dwelling will now cost $3,394 in Tasman, $3,900 in nelson, and $4,070 in Marlborough. For work below a value of $50,000, fees are now similar.
  • Richmond CBD. The Richmond town centre project was separated into (1) the stormwater upgrade and reinstatement project, and (2) urban density and design (and parking standards review) project. Richmond councillors were delegated with reviewing associated documentation in relation to urban density project. Unfortunately, staff and I were not in full agreement (at our subsequent meeting) on what needed to go into the consultation documents. I had hoped for a map, to show the areas of possible effect (perhaps showing different walking distances). Something that would grab the attention of the public when they were skimming the document. In my opinion, a map would easily let ratepayers know what areas might be affected – and if they might be affected. Instead staff wanted to use text (eg “within 10 minutes walk of the CBD”). Staff reasoned (based on some external advice) that a map indicating walking distances might generate a negative reaction. After some discussion, a compromise was reached to display a map at public presentations (ie at the Mall and Library), rather than on the consultation documents. In my opinion, staff need to be more courageous and transparent – and less scared of receiving negative reactions from the public. The public are pretty smart, and if it’s a good story, will be supportive. It’s about having an honest and upfront culture.
  • Financials. Generally, expenses are operating within budget and income is ahead. In response to my query about the extra wage related and overhead costs, staff advised that it was due to staff working longer hours (and charging extra fees).
  • Rainfall. Total accumulated rainfall appears to be lagging the average. Either, there’s a big rainfall coming, or its getting dryer.

20151119EP-Rainfall-p78

Chairs reports

Cr Bryant advised that a second steering group meeting on a shared “Land Development Manual” was held on 21 October 2015. In his opinion, there are ongoing challenges (and some unresolved matters) to align the engineering standards for Tasman and Nelson. However, he was optimistic of a positive outcome for both councils.

In my opinion, the winners of this process will be both developers and ratepayers – by making it easier and more cost effective for everyone to comply with one set of common standards – certainty should increase and costs decline. This is also another example of a commitment towards a “shared” approach to local government issues.

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/2015/2015-11-19.

Media

Nelson Mail (15 December 2015) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/75082540/Tasman-District-Council-to-increase-building-consent-fees

Nelson Mail (25 November 2015) www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/aquaculture/74386525/Wainui-Bay-spat-catching-farms-seek-certainty-with-private-plan-change-request

Nelson Mail (29 October 2015) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/73338768/Community-input-into-Queen-St-design

Nelson Mail (20 January 2016) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/76363857/richmonds-queen-st-carriageway-in-for-a-full-remake-tdc-says

Nelson Live! (19 February 2016) www.nelsonlive.co.nz/news/2016/02/interest-in-queen-st-makeover/

Dominion Post (1 March 2015) www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9777663/Small-clubs-say-new-laws-on-liquor-hitting-hard

 

 

Environment and Planning Committee (28 November)

The Environment and Planning Committee was held on 28 November 2013.  Apologies from Cr Murfin, Cr Edgar, and myself were made.

The meeting agenda included a number of reports and consent applications, including: (1) Abbey Bar and Grill gambling venue consent application, (2) adoption of the provisional local alcohol policy, (3) adoption of the local approved psychoactive substances policy, (4) historic sheep dip sites and vessel maintenance contaminant areas report, (5) air quality report, (6) dairy farm effluent compliance report, (7) shorebirds update report, and (8) rural fire presentation and environment and planning staff activities report.

Gambling Venue Application

The committee granted the applicants request for 6 gambling machines.

The committee noted that the councils current gambling policy did not provide for a sinking lid on the number of gambling machines allowed to operate in the Tasman District. All it provided for was a cap on the total number of gambling machines. It is noted that Club Waimea (in its submissions) suggested to Council a sinking lid policy should be adopted.

A total of 220 gambling machines are permitted to operate within the Tasman District. At present, 186 gambling machines currently operate in the Tasman District (81 gaming machines operate in Richmond, with another 105 operating outside of Richmond).

Whether it should or should not provide a sinking lid policy does not appear to have been discussed according to the meeting minutes and was probably outside of the scope of the committee’s consideration of the application.

Alcohol Policy

The committee resolved to approve the provisional alcohol policy which is to apply from 18 December 2013 (subject to any appeal). If no appeal is lodged the provisional policy is deemed to be adopted from 18 January 2014 and come into force from 24 April 2014.

The committee heard submissions on the draft policy on 23 September 2013 and subsequently deliberated on those submissions on 26 September 2013. The outcome of those deliberations was the proposed policy.

Psychoactive Substances Policy

As alluded to in an earlier post, I had already attended the psychoactive substances hearings from which a recommendation was made to the Environment and Planning Committee. That recommendation was to adopt the policy. In my opinion, the policy is robust and according to the Ministry of Health is compliant with the law as drafted by the government. The new laws allow Councils to restrict the areas in which such substances can be sold. The policy does this as much as the law will allow. In summary, the policy provides:

  1. Premises licensed for the sale of approved psychoactive substances must be located within the central business zone, as defined in the Tasman Resource Management Plan, in Richmond, Motueka or Takaka.
  2. Premises licensed for the sale of approved psychoactive substances are not permitted within 100 metres of a kindergarten, early childhood centre, school, library, community centre, reserve, playground or place of worship.
  3. New licenses for the sale of approved psychoactive substances are not permitted from premises within 150 metres of an existing premises holding a licence (interim or full) to sell approved products.

A map of where licensed premises can be located is contained in the policy (see the Agenda, item 9.3).

Historic Sheep Dip Sites and Vessel Maintenance Contaminant Areas

In early 2013, council staff, with funding from the Ministry for the Environment, undertook an investigation of potential contaminated areas in regard to historic sheep dips (involving arsenic, zinc, and dieldrin) and vessel maintenance areas (involving anti-fouling agents copper and zinc). It was found that historic sheep dips did exceed, by up to 25 times, approved human health levels of arsenic and dieldrin. Similarly, larger slipways showed extremely huh levels of contamination.

Council staff will be reporting back on options for managing vessel slipways where contamination is present.

Air Quality

During 2013, Richmond recorded 9 breaches of the national environmental standard for smoke levels (PM10). This is lower than the 16 breaches in 2012. If the reduction in breaches continues, Richmond is on track to meet the national environment air quality standards by 2015, well before the 2020 deadline. Graphs illustrating the air quality of Richmond in comparison to Nelson can be found in the agenda (from pages 74 to 79).

Dairy Farm Effluent

Tasman District has 144 dairy farms with active effluent discharges in 2012-13. Of these, 139 farms operate under permitted activity rules. The remaining 5 farms are required to be inspected annually.

In 2012-13, 49 farms were inspected for compliance as a result of the previous years follow-up, new complaints, or farmer requests. This resulted in 88% (43 farms) full compliance, 8% (4 farms) non-compliance (a technical or minor adverse effect), and 4% (2 farms) significant non-compliance (an immediate adverse effect). One of the farms graded significantly non-compliant is a repeat offender and council will be initiating court proceedings. The other farm has since complied with abatement notices.

Shorebirds

The report showed that the Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Ruddy Turnstone have declining populations in the Tasman District (a reduction of 25% between 1983 to 2012). There are various reasons for the declining populations, including: reclamation of asian tidal flats, and the disturbance of high tide roosting areas by dogs, horses, people, and various crafts.

Environment and Planning Activities

The manager’s report covered a number of topics including: (1) national policy statement on freshwater, (2) Tb vector control programme update, (3) changes to development contributions arising from the new legislation, (4) proposed improvements to the usability of the Tasman resource management plan (TRMP), (5) building code standards for lifting a building’s floor level, (6) assessment of tsunami risk management, (7) delegation of power to appoint freedom camping enforcement officers, (8) rural fire network update, and (9) financial reporting of the departments monthly activities (attachment 5 of the agenda at page 133 to 139).

Interestingly, the council cannot compel new buildings to be constructed on piles (to mitigate flooding) although they can insist on minimum floor clearance heights where there is evidence of adverse effects (eg, a history of flooding).  In relation to financial information, the environment and planning department (for the 2013-14 year), plan to receive operating income of $3.5 million and have similar operating costs (which comprise wages of approx $2.1 million and professional fees of $0.5 million).

Links to Agenda and Minutes

The agenda and meeting minutes can be found on the following webpage (see http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2013/2013-11-28).