Tagged: Brook Sanctuary

Community development committee (19 June)

The community development committee meeting was held on 19 June 2014. Apologies were received from Cr Higgins and myself.

The meeting agenda received various managers reports as well as an update on the Ecofest expo. I have organised these various updates under topic rather than the manager providing them.

Golden Bay Service centre

A decision on funding for the centre was made in the annual plan. However, council were asked to convene a hearing panel to consider changing the classification of land behind the centre from reserve vested land to local purpose reserve land. This was to ensure the use of the land could have a wider civic purpose. Crs Edgar, Sangster, and Bouillir were appointed to the hearing panel. The council noted the Golden Bay Community Board’s recommendation for up to $30,000 to be allowed for seismic testing.

Tapawera and Brightwater reserve lease hearings

Crs Bryant, Norris, and Edgar were appointed as panel members to consider the publicly notified reserve lease applications of: (1) the Tapawera Menz Shed Group, who sought to renew a lease of reserve land that the former Scout hall building was located on, and (2) the Wanderers Rugby Club who sought to extend their building over reserve land. However, if no public submissions are received, then hearings would not be required.

Kina leases

The council has advised those parties wishing to lease parts of the Kina reserve of any restrictions council has sought to impose on the use of the reserve. We await a response.

Brook sanctuary

The agreement between the council and the sanctuary trust over the council’s financial contribution towards the pest proof fence was signed. This completed the earlier contribution from council towards completion of the fence. In my opinion, without the second installment, the earlier contribution would have been wasted. It is also noted that half of the trusts financial members come from the Tasman region so this was an activity where a sizeable proportion of the community had skin in the game. As discussed in earlier posts, the trust had reassured council that no further requests for funding would be forthcoming.

ASB Aquatic centre – water treatment

Staff advised council that the option of purchasing an ultra violet (UV) treatment system to destroy chloramines (that would improve the pool atmosphere and reduce water waste), would be prepared for consideration in the 2015-2025 long term plan (LTP).

LTP workshops for councilors were being prepared for late June and July, and these would feed into formal proposals for consideration. Generally, I have found workshops are a great opportunity to wrestle over the issues, although they do not always provide the opportunity to think outside the square.

Youth council

Crs King and Bryant were respectively appointed as liaisons for the Waimea and Murchison youth councils. Crs Canton and Bouillir were respectively appointed liaisons for the Motueka and Golden Bay youth councils.

Community grants

Grants close on 31 August and are allocated to organisations that run activities that support the councils community outcome goals. Applications can be made and submitted online. See http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/grants-funding/available-grants-funding/community-grants-grants-from-rates/.

Ecofest expo

Staff updated the committee on the Ecofest event and sought (and obtained) approval to hold an additional Ecofest event in Motueka in 2014. Staff would continue to work with nelson city council (NCC) staff on a branding and support partnership for the main Ecofest event proposed to be held at Founders Park. Staff budgeted a total contribution towards both Ecofest events at $20,900. The Motueka event is projected to cost $15,000 with $3,000 already spent. For information on the festival see http://www.tasman.govt.nz/recreation/events/ecofest/.

Portable seating

The committee approved a new policy that provided a more consistent approach to charging for hire of the portable seating for commercial and non-profit events – including new criteria for reducing or waiving hire fees. The new policy is intended to ensure that the portable seating becomes self-funding (ie, has a neutral financial impact), instead of continuing to operate at a loss. Details of the policy can be found at pages 29 to 38 of the agenda – see link below).

The policy delegates decision-making on applications for hire fee reductions/waivers to the Chief Executive Officer or delegated officer. A report on the outcome of these applications will be submitted to the community development committee on an annual basis.

Briefly, the Council purchased 3000 portable seats in 2007, as part of the council’s contribution towards the upgraded Trafalgar Park. Generally, it takes 2 weeks for the seating to be assembled into the grandstand configuration and 2 weeks for it to be dismantled.

When not in use the portable seating is stored for free in a purpose-built shed at the Nelson A&P Association Grounds in Richmond. In return the A&P Association use the seating for free during show weekend each year. Good Sports Motueka has maintained and repaired seating between uses.

In recognition of this work, seating has been provided to this group free of charge. However, no formal agreement governs this arrangement. See my earlier posts for additional background information.

Mapua reserve land

Approval from the committee was sought to commence a publicly notified intention to declare a small land parcel of land owned by Council (see page 43 of the agenda) be a reserve and subsequently be amalgamated with existing adjacent reserve land. This would ensure an adequate connection to the existing reserve land is provided for from Aranui Road. The developer of land on the corner of Aranui Road and abutting this proposed strip of reserve land agreed to fund the notification process. Costs to council would only be future maintenance of the reserve strip.

Libraries update

During May 2014 all public internet computers and printers held in libaries were replaced as part of our partnership agreement with Aotearoa People’s Network Aotearoa (APNK). New and upgraded software was supplied with the computers.

Visitor numbers for May 2014 totaled 39,989. Active members at the end of May 2014 totaled 24,366. Visitor numbers for the year to date are 5% lower than last year. Most of this reduction appears to be happening in Motueka, with vistor numbers in Richmond and Golden Bay generally remaining constant since 2010. Items issued during May 2014 totaled 55,523. Issues for the year to date total 599,502 which is 3% lower than last year. Use of the library’s online resources shows continuing growth. Session numbers and downloads for the year to date are 10,563 or 46% higher than last year. In my opinion this is a significant trend.

When you look at the falling visitor numbers in Motueka and the growth trend in online usage, council need to tread carefully when it comes to spending decisions on new library buildings. In order to make an informed decision on any future investment in new library buildings, I would suggest that it would be prudent of council to defer any such decision towards the end of the long term plan (LTP) – perhaps 2020.

For some great visual aids on library statistics see pages 56 to 57 of the agenda.

Agenda and 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/2014/2014-06-19.

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Community development committee (8 May)

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.

Public forum

Mr Clarke asked that the estuary power lines be relocated.

Manager’s report

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.

Kina leases

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).

Communications

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.

Call centre

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.

 

 

 

Community Services Committee (27 March)

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.

Various reports

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.