Tagged: Dogs

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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Environment and planning committee and extraordinary full council meeting (16 July)

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 16 July 2015. Apologies were received from Crs Bryant, Edgar, and Mirfin. All other councillors were present.

The agenda included: (1) Golden Bay (Mohua) landscape project, (2) resource consent manager’s report, (3) contact recreation water quality annual report, (4) dog control policy and practices report, and (5) the manager’s report. Presentations were also received from the public and are briefly summarised below. At the conclusion of this meeting, an extraordinary full council meeting was also held. This is discussed below.

Public forum

The public forum received presentations from: (1) Gillian Bishop and Kevin McClintock on the importance of the Waimea inlet, and (2) Liz Thomas and Petra Stephenson regarding a rural land use petition that was tabled.

Golden Bay (Mohua) Landscape Project

The final report on the Golden Bay/Mohua Landscape Project was received from the small group. The rthe final report describes and evaluates 6 outstanding natural landscapes (ONLs), and 10 outstanding natural features (ONFs) in Golden Bay (Mohua) area. The draft (and final) reports are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/tasman/projects/environmental-projects/golden-bay-landscape-project/. At the time of writing this post, the final report had not yet been uploaded. It is expected to be uploaded once council has considered it as part of a plan change consultation workshop.

Changes to the draft report include a more detailed description of the qualities of the ONLs andONFs and a clearer narrative explaining how the Small Group came to its view in relation to each ONL and ONF. The biggest change from the draft report is a reduction in the number of ONFs. Many of them are now included within ONLs.

I took the opportunity to congratulate the small group for their efforts. It was always going to be a difficult process that had caused a great deal of robust discussion (and tension) amongst the group. I thanked them for their efforts in having that debate on behalf of the public.

Council resolved to support option 1 in the agenda, and hold a workshop in September 2015 in preparation for a draft plan change and public consultation on the proposed designations in early 2016.

The reasons for the project are summarised at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/tasman/projects/environmental-projects/golden-bay-landscape-project/golden-bay-landscapes-project-plan/. Essentially, its a statutory obligation of council.

Resource consents

The manager’s report presented a summary of the resource consents team performance for the 2014-15 year. A total of 1,319 applications were lodged, with 38 being withdrawn or cancelled, and 56 incomplete applications being returned. A total of 1,097 applications were completed.

Of the 1,097 applications completed 7 hearings were required. Of the 69 publicly or limited notified applications, 7 were able to be granted without a hearing because all issues were resolved.

Applications Lodged During 2014-2015 Year

Category 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Certificate of Compliance

2

10

6

4

7

3

Coastal

20

21

16

55

36

17

Discharge

124

202

133

152

171

231

Water

61

247

134

173

189

349

Land Use District

431

478

548

474

438

480

Land Use Regional

141

31

42

35

36

39

Designation

10

4

0

2

0

5

Outline Plan

19

15

14

6

8

15

Subdivision

188

137

151

120

130

131

Rights of Way

9

13

8

6

12

12

Totals 1,005 1,158 1,052 1,027 1,027 1,319

A total of 484 (45%) of all resource consent applications completed, had time extensions applied, 70% of those at the request of or with agreement from the applicants. 41% of non-notified applications had time extensions applied in the 2014-2015 year, compared with 24% in 2013-2014. 80% of the notified applications completed during 2014-2015 had time extensions applied, compared with 70% in 2013-2014.

For the 2014-2015 year, there were 7 non-notified applications involving 12 consents that were completed out of time, resulting in 7 fee discounts. These discounts totalled $3,000 excluding GST (compared with $436 in 2011-12, and $3,000 in 2012-13 years).

Timeliness of Non-notified Applications

NonNotified2015

Timeliness of Public and Limited Notified Applications

PublicNotified2015

Contact Recreation Water Quality Annual Report

Tasman District Council has monitored swimming holes and coastal beaches since the mid 1990s in accordance with national guidelines and responsibilities under s 35 of the Resource Management Act. A total of 11 sites (7 freshwater and 4 marine) were sampled for faecal indicator bacteria between November 2014 and March 2015.

There were a total of 11 exceedances of national guidelines, out of a total of 221 samples taken. All marine sites except Pohara were fully compliant this season in all weather.

Pohara Beach exceeded four times in dry weather. After sampling at a total of 4 sites along Pohara beach it was found that the beach water contamination originated from the Pohara Creek plume and that it only spread as far west as the campground boat ramp at worst. Pohara Creek was confirmed as a potential source of this contamination in 2005-2006 and again this season.

A sanitary survey was successfully undertaken over the 2006-07 summer. A significant faecal discharge was discovered and the household’s sewerage system was repaired to ensure it connected with the municipal system in 2006.

In 2015, sewage and stormwater pipes from several key properties were dye tested and sewer lines inspected. No obvious source of faecal contamination was found. The source of contamination remains unknown. Staff will be taking a fresh approach to testing in 2016.

Laboratory costs of around $12,000 made up the vast majority of the annual budget apart from staff time and vehicle running costs. Summer student employees do most of the fieldwork required.

Coastal beach locations

WaterQuality2015_1

Red results are over alarm levels (>280 Enterococci/100ml) and orange results are in the alert range (140-280 Enterococci/100ml).

Freshwater locations

WaterQuality2015_2

Red results are over alarm levels (>550 E. coli/100ml) and orange results are in the alert range (260-550 E. coli/100ml).

Sampling results (and locations) are displayed on a council webpage located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/environment/water/swimming-water-quality/.

Results for toxic algae monitoring in the regions rivers in are displayed on the councils webpage located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/framework/main.php/water/rivers/river-water-quality/monitoring-toxic-algae/?url=/environment/water/rivers/river-water-quality/monitoring-toxic-algae/.

Dog Control Policy and Practices

The Council reviewed its Dog Control Policy and Bylaw in 2014 adopting the Dog Control Policy 2014 and Dog Control Bylaw 2014 on the 18 September 2014.

Number of dog owners in the district is 6,778 (including probationary owners 1, disqualified owners 0). The number of registered dogs in the district is 10,391(comprising rural dogs 5,663 and urban dogs 4,728).

The number of dogs classified as dangerous was 9. The number of dogs classified as menacing was 68. A toital of 119 infringement notices were issued. The report provides a detailed summary of the types of complaints received by council.

Recently, dog control services had put out for tender and awarded to Control Services Nelson Ltd.

30 June 2015 was the deadline for registrations. At the time of the report, 70% of dogs had been registered. Penalties for late registration would be added in August.

Overall, dog control appears good, with very few incidents considering the number of dogs and dog owners in the region.

Manager’s report

Highlights of the report include:

  • Aquaculture. The Ministry of Primary Industries announced (on 5 June 2015) 2011 ha of new space available for aquaculture in the region. Council will need work with iwi and marine farmers to identify and allocate 20% of the space, as part of the settlement of Maori claims to commercial aquaculture.
  • National Environmental Standard on Plantation Forestry. The new standards propose standardising RMA rules for forestry activities across the country. In my opinion, while this might be beneficial for large forestry operations that cross a number of different regions (with different rules and plans), it fails to reflect the different environmental conditions of those different regions – which is the basis of the concept of sustainable development and management (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/71259064/nelson-city-council-submits-to-national-forestry-standards and http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/70328763/forestry-standards-will-harm-regions-biodiversity). Staff were asked to draft a submission on the proposal.
  • Water quality advisory groups. Waimea Flag and Takaka Flag have released its overall water management objectives for feedback. The Waimea Flag group is currently focussing on understanding more about potential changes to nitrate leaching under different land use patterns and the effect this has on the aquifer water quality in relation to the drinking water standards. Councilors raised questions over costs and staff undertook to report back on the issue.
  • Low impact design. On 2 June, a discussion workshop was held in Takaka about what is commonly referred to as low impact design (LID) standards for land development and its relevancy to the Rural Land Use and Subdivision Draft Plan Change 54. Crs Bouillir and Ensor were in attendance.
  • Development contribution refunds. Refunds are to be made to those people who paid contributions now that Coastal Tasman pipeline project has been removed from the LTP. The sum of the refunds is $915,967 and the credits total a further $37,442.
  • Dam safety regulations. The Government has decided that dam safety is better suited to being managed under the Resource Management Act (RMA) rather than the Building Act. Accordingly, the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2008 have been revoked under the Building (Dam Safety) Revocation Order 2015, with effect from 30 June 2015.
  • Spa pool exemption. Section 6 of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act allows the council to allow an exemption from fencing by way of resolution where the exemption would not significantly increase the level of danger. Staff consider that spa pools with lockable covers would comply with the exemption test. In the spirit of removing unnecessary red tape, council resolved to provide an exemption from fencing a spa pool with a lockable lid.
  • Water data. The Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) web site has recently been upgraded to include real-time data on river flow, groundwater and rainfall levels at over 1000 sites around New Zealand (see http://www.lawa.org.nz).
  • Air quality. Only 2 exceedences of the National Environmental Standard occured this winter in the Richmond.
  • House insultation rates subsidy. The Council has been operating the Warm Tasman Voluntary Targeted Rate (VTR) scheme programme since 2010. This programme enabled home owners to apply for a voluntary rate on their property that paid for the costs of upgrading insulation or upgrading a wood burner in the Richmond Airshed. The number of applications had dropped away over the last few years to 14 in 2014-15 (20 applications in 2013-14). Staff recommended terminating the scheme. The basis for this was the cost of administering the scheme. In my opinion, the argument was unconvincing. Numbers had dropped away, which meant very little time was actually spent on administering the scheme. On this basis, there seemed to be little gained in terminating the scheme. The majority of council resolved to terminate the scheme.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2015/2015-07-16.

Extraordinary full council meeting

The meeting was a result of a request under section 2.15 of standing orders. The meeting was to discuss the full council’s prior decision to dispose of the portable seating on 18 June 2015. I was not present at that meeting as I was in the UK attending my brothers wedding. However, I was intrigued to see another instance of councillors re-litigating earlier decisions of council. This discussion was confidential as was the discussion on 18 June 2015. Although I really could not see why it could not have been held in public.

The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2015/2015-07-16.

Environment and planning committee (29 January 2015)

The environment and planning committee met on 29 January 2015. All councillors were present, except for Cr Ensor, with Crs Edgar, King, and the mayor arriving after the start of the meeting.

There was no public forum.

The meeting comprised the following information reports and items: (1) the proposed treatment of coastal occupation charges, (2) the proposed environmental policy programme and projects for 2015, (3) the state of the environment report, (4) 6-monthly environmental compliance report, (5) 6-monthly resource consents report, (5) dog control update report, (6) biodiversity report, (7) committee chairs report, and (8) the environment manager’s report (which included updating the committee on: a recent coroner’s report, approved plan change 22 for the Mapua-Ruby bay development, freedom camping, warmer healthier homes project, waimea rural fire authority, and TDC’s submission to the productivity commission).

Coastal occupation charge

This matter was discussed extensively at the environment and planning committee meeting of 13 November 2014, where it was agreed by participating councilors that TDC would not implement a coastal occupation charging regime. Staff were directed at that meeting to draft an appropriately worded plan change in accordance with that decision.

Accordingly, the committee unanimously resolved to approve the release of draft plan change 56 which stated that TDC would not impose a coastal occupation charging regime at present. This resolution will subsequently be presented to full council for approval, as all binding decisions of council must be made by the majority of the full council.

Coastal occupation charges are fees imposed on users of public spaces within the inshore marine coastal area and seabed. Effectively, the charges are a rent on the use of public marine spaces and replace the former Harbour Act lease and license regime. For example, the use of the sea bed for moorings, jetties, wharves, boat ramps, cables, pipes, or marine farms, could be charged by council if a coastal charging regime was established by council.

Why would council go through the hassle of making such a statement? Well, council is required by law (under ss 64A and 401 of the RMA) to consider whether it will implement coastal occupation charging regime and make a statement on such a regime. This requires the council to either state in its regional coastal plan that charges will not be imposed, or propose policies and rules for the implementation of such charges.

To date there have been few councils who have taken up the opportunity to charge for the use of the inshore seabed. No doubt this is a reflection of the complexity and cost of drafting, consulting, and implementing such a regime. From my perspective, there seems little net financial benefit for the community in implementing such a regime at this time. Given marine farming in this region is still in its infancy, the money that would be raised from such a regime, would probably only offset the cost of establishing and administering the regime. Such a money go round would benefit no one other than the council administrators. Further, it is far better to reduce (or avoid) any new red tape for businesses – especially when you want an industry to get a good foothold in Tasman, for the greater good of the regional economy.

A detailed evaluation report of the costs and benefits of adopting a coastal occupation charging regime is attached to the agenda (see pages 13 to 30). Interestingly, the evaluation report concluded that all coastal occupations (except jetty,wharves, and boat ramps) had greater private benefit than net public benefit and marine consent holders should compensate the public for the loss of use. No doubt when the marine farming industry become more established (and can afford to pay) costal occupation charges will be revisited by a future council.

2015 environmental policy programme

In the middle of 2014, a number of workshops were held so that councillors could review and prioritise the 34 proposed environmental programmes, that had been identified for consideration under the 10 year (2015-2025) Long-term Plan (LTP). These projects included: mooring and coastal occupation charges, significant landscapes, rural land use, storm water management, urban design, residential zoning, and water quality management. See the agenda (pages 31 to 50) for a full list of all projects and more detail.

The committee resolved to receive the planning manager’s report and directed staff to begin scoping the possible size, cost, and nature of prioritised projects for future council consideration, before any approved commencement of any project.

State of the environment for land and soil

The 2014 report on the environmental state of land and soil (see executive summary at pages 55 to 60 of the agenda) provides an update on the monitoring of soil in various locations of the region.

The report surveyed 6,005 locations for soil erosion and continued to monitor 25 locations (identified in 2000) for soil health, classification type, and mapping purposes. The mapping of soil types will help improve our knowledge of drainage and the required levels of irrigation.

The report has also monitored the changing use of land in the district. For example, between 1996 and 2008, there has been: a 10% increase (9,750 ha) in exotic forestry; 17% decrease (21,152 ha) in pasture; 95% increase (5,266 ha) in horticulture, viticulture, and cropping; 55% increase (1.073 ha) in urban use.

Interestingly, the dairy farming trend in the Tasman region is not following the national trend. Tasman dairy cow stock numbers have only increased by 1.2% (54,580 to 55,227 cows) compared to the national trend of 11% (or 2.56 cows per ha). In Tasman, total beef cattle numbers dropped 33% (56,155 to 42,268 cattle) from 2003 to 2013. For the same period, deer dropped 67% (33,537 to 14,259 deer).

The committee resolved to receive the report (ie, no decision, other than to receive the report, was required).

Compliance monitoring

The report provides a summary of the council’s compliance activities for the first half of the 2014-15 period (ie 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2014) in comparison to the prior 6-month period. For example, the volume and timing of complaints from ratepayers in relation to various activities.

Generally, complaints were slightly lower than the previous 6-month period, with complaints over air, water and land discharges from 2003 to 2013 still dominating staff time. Interestingly, only 5 freedom camping complaints were made. This would suggest that the new freedom camping rules are working well, although there appear to be still a few problems in Motueka (which I will discuss later).

One prosecution was successfully made against Awarua Farms Ltd and Mr Wooley in relation to dairy activities. Awarua Farms was fined $60,000 and Mr Wooley’s sentencing has been adjourned until 4 March in Blenheim. The only enforcement order activity for the 6-month period was made against CJ Industries Ltd (operating in Motueka) due to uncontrolled dust discharges from crushing activities. All requirements of the order have now been met and staff continue to monitor progress.

Stage 1 water rationing was implemented in the second week of December (ending 18 December). Compliance was very good and no infringement notices were issued. Despite the dry start (for the two months up to December 2014), metering shows water consumption figures of less than 50% across all zones. Recent rainfalls have also been appreciated.

All “1080” poisoning operations were extensively monitored by staff (especially given the level of public interest and potential effects). With the exception of one incident in the Lockett area (where some of the bait was applied outside of the designated control area, due to a combination of drop events and terrain), all operations were fully compliant.

Large scale earthworks have been occurring in the Richmond south area (Wensley Road, Fairise Drive, and Hart Road area). While work has been compliant with consent conditions, the work has resulted in a number of complaints from residents. From complaints, I have received, these have mainly been due to the frequency and noise of heavy trucks carrying soil from the development through a well established residential community.

Ideally, the consent conditions should have been consistent with the Olive estate development. Unfortunately, due to timing, the constraints placed on the Olive Estate development (to not use Fairise drive for heavy trucks) was not placed on the Wensley\Hart Road development. Ideally, council should have remedied the problem by enabling the developer to access Hill Street or Hart’s Road directly from when the inconsistency was identified.

Fortunately, my conversations with the developer’s trucking contractor were largely constructive, with the truck contractor agreeing to shift truck movements away from the densely populated Fairise Drive to Hill Street (albeit after 31 December 2014). Thus reducing the impact on the number of residents. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the contractor (and developer) for accommodating the wishes of residents outside of any legal requirement to do so.

Resource consents

There are three different types of resource consent: (1) notified (where all the public are made aware of the resource consent application), (2) limited notification (where only neighbours or those directly affected are made aware), and (3) non-notified (where generally only the applicant and council staff are aware of the application).

The graph below provides a comparative analysis of non-notified resource consents between 2014 and 2012. The graph also highlights how long it took for staff to process the 484 resource consent applications made in 2014. In 2014, only 4 non-notified resource consent applications required a hearing.

E&P20150129-Graph1

The following graph compares notified and non-notified consents for the same periods. It is quite marked that the volume of publicly notified and limited notification consents are very low. The data would appear to indicate that the notification process (ie public or limited) does not appear to have a material impact on the volume of resource consents that council process. Although it is noticeable that the time taken to process these applications is longer than most other non-notified applications (except coastal applications). No doubt this reflects the higher level of public participation in the consent process.

E&P20150129-Graph2

Another interesting piece of data is the outcome of resource decisions from various decision makers. The graph below illustrates the decisions made by those bodies. The majority of consent decisions are approved under delegated authority (by staff).

E&P20150129-Graph3

Interestingly, only independent commissioners appear to decline applications. In my opinion, the dramatic absence of applications being declined by a committee or panel (of councillors), or by staff, would appear to suggest that there might be some bias in the outcomes – either that, or independent commissioners have more difficult decisions to consider. I suspect independent commissioners are probably less prone to relying on reports provided by council staff when declining or approving consent applications.

There have been few objections to decisions made under delegation. Two from the previous year are yet to be resolved – one for a subdivision consent in Ruby Bay and the effect of Plan Change 22 (inundation prone land), and the second relating to conditions imposed on the proposed Mapua Drive development and the upgrade of road frontage. Three made in the last 6 months relate to coastal permits for marine farms at Wainui Bay, and a fourth concerns a Mapua subdivision development seeking a change to its consent application.

Plan change 22 (Maua-Ruby Bay development) has been the subject of 4 appeals in 2012. Three have been resolved by mutual consent. The fourth concerned a 3 ha site that flood modeling identified as prone to flooding. In December 2014, the court dismissed the developers appeal for 12 additional residential sites to be added to the development and confirmed that the district plan provisions for managing the hazard risks were appropriate, and that the additional sites increased the level of flooding risk.

Several court appeals heard over the last 6 months are summarised in the agenda (page 75). They included appeals against: coastal protection work conditions in Pakawau, subdivision intensification in Appleby Hills, subdivision reconfiguration within Pangatotara rural residential zone, and intensification of a rural residential zone in Seaton Valley Mapua.

The resource consent application for the Waimea Community Dam is expected to be released in February 2015.

Storm water

Interestingly staff have acknowledged (page 79) that “co-ordinating the management of stormwater flows from the eight development areas within the Wensley Block [Richmond South area] is an ongoing challenge”. I could not agree more, and its why council needs to ensure this area’s storm water issues are addressed in the short-term to mitigate any risk of flooding. I am already aware that some residents in the area are on their final insurance warning (ie, there will be no further insurance cover if buildings are flooded again). Council must ensure residential storm water issues are addressed before any other significant capital investment.

Muddy Buddy

Notably, an application to formalise use of the seabed in Moutre inlet for the “muddy buddy” event (held in March each year) has been granted on a non-notified track. The new track is now in an area well away from most sensitive shoreline habitat, and will alternate each year to reduce any impact on the surrounding estuary. Te Tau Ihu iwi have been very supportive of the consent.

This is a very positive outcome and reinforces the fact that the RMA does work. The surrounding estuary is a very important eco-system for the whole bay area and its use needs to be protected from unsustainable activities. Balancing the needs of the community while ensuring the environment is protected is a very positive outcome and staff should be congratulated in working though the legal issues in the RMA to get to the right outcome. Well done to everyone involved.

I would also like to congratulate TDC’s approach to the “monster slide” debacle that was happening over in Nelson during January 2015. I think the message that was taken home was that TDC is open for business. We now need to apply (and reinforce) that pro-active customer focused culture to the rest of the council’s operations on an ongoing basis.

Dog control

Generally (and comparatively), dog control is not very controversial for this council. By way of background, the number of dog owners in the district is 6,617 with the number of registered dogs being 10,227 (5,601 rural and 4,626 urban).

Most infringement notices relate to registration failure (159). Between July 2013 and June 2014, 8 dogs were classified as dangerous, and 45 dogs as having a menancing behaviour. However, there is still the odd prosecution for more serious incidents. For example, in May 2013, a dog was destroyed for attacking stock and another for attacking a horse on Rabbit island. In October 2013, a dog was destroyed for attacking a pet lamb.

Overall, the statistics suggest dogs are well controlled in the district and the bylaws are working effectively.

Biodiversity

The committee received the 2014 biodiversity report. A copy is available from the council’s webpage. The current programme costs $56,500 per year ($26,500 per year funded by council, and the remainder from the government’s Biofund). The biodiversity programme is designed to assist council meet its legal (RMA) responsibilities for protecting significant natural areas and maintaining indigenous biodiversity. With current resourcing it is estimated to take 15 years to complete assessment of all 16 ecological districts.

The biodiversity programme involves a number of separate projects undertaken on behalf of various stakeholders including council. For example, the native habitats Tasman (NHT) project started in 2007, is a district wide survey of natural areas, mainly on private land, to assess the ecological significance of these areas and provide owners with ecological reports to assist with the land’s management. Participation by landowners is voluntary. As at 30 September 2014, 420 sites had been assessed and 353 reports delivered to owners.

Due to recent changes to government funding criteria (meaning the organisation no longer qualifies for funding) the biodiversity project may need council to increase its funding from $26,000 to $56,000. A submission on the LTP to this effect is anticipated by council.

In my opinion, given the lack of government financial support for biodiversity, and no National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (the 2010 draft remains on hold), that might have provided clarity for council’s in understanding the scope of their legal obligations, perhaps its timely to pause and take stock. This might mean no further funding is provided, so that the current programmes are undertaken at a slower pace than they are currently (if at all).

Manager’s report

The manager’s report contained a number of topics. I intend to only summarise the more significant items that drew councilor interest. In particular; the coroner’s report, freedom camping, and the warmer healthier homes project.

I would have also liked to have commented on the department’s financial position, but this information was not provided in the agenda. An action item to respond to questions raised about last month’s financial’s (which highlighted several cost over-runs) was also over-looked. Hopefully these will be answered in due course.

Coroner’s report

During the week of 15-16 June 2013, the home of Ms Hude Hivon was struck by a landslide. The home was located on Seperation Point granite soils and the dwelling was authorised for construction in 1961 as worker’s accomodation. The coroner investigated the incident and has made two recommendations directed at TDC. First, that side castings are not deposited along the outer edge of tracks above steep slopes. Secondly, that TDC give consideration to at risk sites prior to any consent being awarded. These recommendations will form part of a review of the land disturbance rules which will occur in 2015.

Freedom camping

Generally the rules have worked very well in the Tasman region. By way of brief background, freedom camping is a permitted activity for legal vehicles. However, it remains an illegal activity for non-compliant vehicles (eg, those offending vehicles that are not fully self contained).

Unfortunately, the Motueka beach reserve area continues to be an area of concern for many residents. The complaints are concerned with the occupants of illegal, non-self-contained camping vehicles (eg, vans without toilets, showers or washing facilities) using community facilities improperly and causing a general nuisance.

The main problem with the freedom camping by-law is enforcement. A major problem with the rules is proving someone camped illegally. At present this is established by visiting the site in the early evening and morning. Any offending vehicles present on both occasions are deemed to have been camping overnight illegally. To avoid being caught, offending vehicles either turn up late in the evening or leave early in the morning (or both). Council staff suggested increasing the time spent policing (at a cost of $15,000) to address the problem. Effectively asking for more resources.

The increase in enforcement costs did not get much support around the council table. Accordingly staff undertook to investigate other options and to report back to the committee.

Some councilors had argued for the area to be closed off completely, or for existing toilet facilities to be removed, and water to be switched off. However, it was pointed out that this would be an expensive exercise (more costs for council), and illegal campers would just move to another location and annoy other people.

In my opinion, council staff needed a mechanism to establish illegal camping more efficiently (ie involving less staff time – and therefore cost). This could be done by prohibiting specified vehicles (non-self contained camping vehicles) from being parked in the area between specific times (eg 9pm to 7am). The presence of a non-self-contained camping vehicle during this time might show sufficient intent to camp (and place the burden on the offender to prove otherwise). Officers could then appear an hour or so after the specified time and immediately issue tickets for both illegally parking and\or illegally camping. I also wondered if a pre-registration process (text your registration to council) would aid the process of identifying illegal freedom camping.

I look forward to the staff report that comes back with some more thought out (and less expensive) options.

Warmer healthier homes

Council has been involved in promoting better insulation and upgrading home heating through its Warm Tasman programme. However, with the expiration of government funding it is unlikely it will remain appealing to ratepayers and no doubt council will retire the programme.

An alternative programme established in 2004 is the “Warmer Healthier Homes” programme funded by the Canterbury Community Trust, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Absolute Energy, and Nelson Tasman Housing Trust. However, this initiative is much more narrowly focused and only targets low income households with respiratory health concerns. NCC has recently joined the project through committing $40,000 over two years.

This council has decided to watch how the project unfolds, before making any financial commitment at this time. Especially when it remains unclear to what degree Tasman ratepayers would benefit. Staff will report back before the conclusion of the LTP.

Agenda and minutes

A copy of the agenda report and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2015/2015-01-29.

Related newspaper items

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/communities/9770056/Muddy-Buddy-given-reprieve

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/8651887/Muddy-Buddy-a-foolish-idea

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/10336976/Scheme-to-insulate-homes-of-poor

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/65669601/Frustration-as-consents-take-longer-than-builds

Environment and planning committee (22 May)

 

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 22 May 2014.

Minutes have yet to be posted. But it is hoped that unconfirmed minutes will be available to the public soon.

The agenda (comprised 211 pages) and included the following topics (some not requiring any decisions): (1) outstanding natural features project in Golden bay, (2) dog control bylaws, (3) feedback on the mooring areas review, (4) climate change risk report, (5) recreation water quality report, (6) manager’s report, and (7) a presentation on freedom camping issues from the NZ Motor Caravan Association

Outstanding natural features project

The report sought direction on further steps to protect outstanding natural landscapes cross the Tasman region. At an earlier environment and planning meeting (10 April 2013) council requested additional information with regard to costs, timeframes, and other variables. Since 2011, consultants fees have totaled $162,000.

Staff advised that costs, time, and staff resources were available within budget to complete the work. On this basis it was recommended that staff continue the collaborative process in Golden Bay on protecting outstanding natural features, and at the same time start landscape assessment work for the rest of the District, with the end-point being a single plan change for the whole District.

Dog control bylaws

The current Dog Control Bylaw 2009 (and Dog Control Policy) is due for review by 12 September 2014. The report sought approval to commence the special consultative procedure in relation to reviewing the existing Tasman District Council Consolidated Bylaw (Chapter 6: Dog Control Bylaw 2009) and the associated Dog Control Policy.

I found this bylaw to be a very well written document with very useful illustrations of where activities are permitted, not permitted, or controlled.

The review process proposes to address a number of concerns raised by the general public, including: (1) a ban on dogs within the defined CBD area of Takaka during business hours, (2) a new leash control area in the Richmond foothills, and (3) a ban on dogs within the Sand Island area (near the airport).

The consultation period will be from 2 June to 7 July. The aim is to have a final draft bylaw to Council for approval and adoption by 14 August 2014.

Mooring areas

This report presented public feedback from the community engagement process on mooring areas held from January to March 2014 and requested council approval for its public release.

The public were consulted on creating new mooring areas (with combined Plan and Bylaw changes) or retaining the existing system.

The majority of respondents supported a change to the existing system (together with new mooring areas) that moves away from resource consents to a system of designated mooring areas and annual renewable occupation licenses The feedback report is contained in the agenda from pages 114 to 132.

Climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) released a fifth Assessment Report on climate change based on earlier findings released in September 2013 and March 2014 (see http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/). This report will impact on future planning decisions for council.

The IPPC reports confirm most observed and projected impacts identified in previous IPCC assessment reports. However, the projections are now more certain in linking greenhouse gas emission scenarios with impacts. And fundamentally changes our understanding of how these global impacts will manifest themselves in New Zealand (and locally in Tasman). In response to this report, it is expected that national guidance on sea level rises will increase – with the upper projected level rising by 2100 from 0.8 metres to 1.0 metres.

A detailed summary of the report can be found at pages 134 to 146 of the agenda (and provides some interesting information on projected rainfalls).

Recreation water quality

Council has monitored swimming holes and coastal beaches since the mid 1990’s in accordance with national guidelines and responsibilities under s35 of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

A total of 21 sites (nine freshwater and 12 marine) were sampled for faecal indicator bacteria between November 2013 and March 2014. Ten sites were fully compliant this season in all weather. National guidelines were exceeded 27 times (11 “Amber” and 16 “Red”) out of a total of 354 samples taken. Non-compliant sites included: Best Island, Patons Rock, Tukurua Stream and Pohara Beach (see Tables at para 5.2 and 5.3 on pages 151 and 152 of the agenda). This equates to approximately 8% of samples exceeding microbiological guidelines. Of the 27 non-complying events, 22 were associated with rainfall events. Excluding the 22 rainfall-influenced samples gives a compliance rate of 98.6%, which is just above the 10 year average compliance rate of 97%.

Using the Ministry for the Environment “Suitability for Recreation Grade” criteria Kaiteriteri Beach was graded “Good” and both Mapua Leisure Park Beach and Rabbit Island Main Beach were graded “Very Good” during all weather (see Tables at para 5.8 on pages 154 to 155 and 161 of the agenda).

Manager’s report

A petition (signed by a number of concerned residents), requesting that a proposed aerial drop of 1080 in the Pearse/Baton/Mt Arthur area be publicly notified, was received by council. Council was advised by staff that the aerial application of 1080 is a discretionary activity (under the Tasman Resource Management Plan) if it fails to comply with the standards and terms applicable to a controlled activity. As no resource consent application for the area identified in the petition had been received by TDC, no response could be made. However, affected parties could expect due process to be followed when an application for resource consent was filed.

The government recently amended the law on psychoactive substances (commonly known as legal highs) which has resulted in all such products being removed from sale. This does not affect the validity of the council’s Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) which has been reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Health. Tasman District Council (TDC) is one of five Councils that already have an operational LAPP. The Ministry of Health is recommending that those councils who do not have a Policy, continue to put one in place. To date no legal challenge has been made against TDC’s Policy.

Two land parcels near the corner of Mapua Drive and Higgs Road both have “deferred residential” status. This means they cannot be developed for residential purposes until utilities are in place to council standards. Council is likely to grant subdivision consent for one parcel of land which can show that the subdivided land can be serviced to council standards.

Tasman Resource Management Plan Changes 49 (Private request Foodstuffs SI Ltd: Richmond south) and Change 50 (Private request Network Tasman Ltd: Hope) were approved as decisions and notified on 8 March 2014. No appeals were received to these changes.

Wellington City Council is proposing a remit be passed at the forthcoming LGNZ conference asking the Government to consider measures to reduce the disincentives to strengthen earthquake prone buildings. The remit encourages tax rebates for earthquake strengthening – that would benefit private building owners. While this would not directly benefit councils, it does support our community. I support this remit.

Appeals have been received from three parties (Fish & Game (Nelson Marlborough Region) New Zealand, Horticulture New Zealand, and Queen Street Industrial Park Ltd) concerning the outcome of an earlier commission hearing on the council’s water management policy. All three appeals are concerned with the “without dam” management provisions.

Fish & Game have representation on the the Waimea Water Augmentation Committee (WWAC) who support construction of a Dam. Fish & Game appeal concerns two main matters of detail relating to the management of over-allocation of water and maintenance of minimum flows in the Waimea River. The appeal seeks that over-allocation be phased out by 2030. The appeal also seeks that all water users be required to cease abstraction when Waimea River flows reach 800l/sec, except for specified uses such as water required for human health. The plan currently requires a 70% reduction in allocated use when flows at Appleby drop to 800l/sec with some exceptions. Queen Street Industrial Park Ltd seeks an alternative minimum flow of 650l/sec for the Waimea River. Horticulture NZ appears to be primarily concerned with the water allocation priority during periods of rationing and water shortage. The Environment Court has asked the parties to enter mediation.

There continues to be an accounting surplus due to underspend in salary costs (due to delays in filling staff vacancies) and some projects yet to be charged (and some may not be completed by year end). A full financial analysis of the E&P team can be found at page 199 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/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2014/2014-05-22.

 

 

Environment and Planning Committee (10 April)

 

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 10 April 2014. Apologies were received from Crs King, Norriss, Sangster, Mirfin, and myself.

Key points of interest

The agenda and staff reports drew attention to a number of developments. The main points of interest are listed below.

  • Building consents are up 107% on the previous year. Building consent statistics are contained in the Agenda (p 17).
  • The TDC has received e-accreditation as a Building Consent Authority. On 7 April electronic processing came on line and is expected to improve the building and consent teams performance. Work continues with the NCC building department to develop a relationship which will allow us to work more closely. A 1⁄2 FTE in the administration area of the building and consents team was requested due to changes to the Building Act (eg collection and collation of information relating to Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) and management of associated Records of Work). As noted in an earlier post, I was of the opinion that council should not have approved this appointment and instead directed staff management to redeploy resources to provide any necessary support. My opinion has not changed. Interestingly, at the time staff requested approval for the ½ FTE, a great deal of weight was placed on the position improving revenue opportunities for the building consents team, rather than fulfilling legislative requirements.
  • The transition from the Sale of Liquor Act to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (SSAA) has been completed. TDC was one of the first councils (together with Waimakariri DC) to have a Provisional Local Alcohol Policy in place. The District Licensing Committee (DLC) has been established and its members trained. TDC’s alcohol webpage has been overhauled and now fully set up as a one-stop shop for all alcohol licensing information and applications. A new facility for public notification of alcohol license applications (and objections) is now available on TDC’s webpage. This is expected to save applicants about $400-$500 per application.
  • Dog and stock control areas of the department are functioning well. Three prosecutions have been brought over the period with successful outcomes. For the 2013-14 year, a total of 10,300 dogs were identified in the region, including 24 dogs requiring registration (ie unregistered). A total of 376 infringement notices were issued with 102 proceeding to court.
  • A minor fuel oil spill (believed to be less than 200l) occurred at Port Motueka on 20 January 2014. The Regional on Scene Commander (ROSC) after receiving reports from the site and consulting with Maritime NZ deemed that no further action was necessary.
  • Ongoing issues with Rockville and Onekaka motocross noise continues to be monitored. Enforcement action has been taken recently against a noisy neighbour in Mapua which resulted in a $750 fine being issued.
  • There were 347 inspections of food premises have been undertaken over the period.
  • Outstanding parking infringements (processed by court) total $77,413. Detailed analysis of parking infringement statistics can be found in the agenda. Parking compliance is currently 80%. Risk areas Talbot Street (74%) and Petrie park (45%) are being monitored.
  • The TDC Harbourmaster has resigned and recruitment has begun.

Staff also provided an updated environmental policy programme and projects, updated to current 2014 targets, and including projects not yet started or paused. A full list of these projects can be found in the agenda (pp 29 to 39).

Councillor accreditation

From 12 September 2014, councillors are required by law (under s 39B of the RMA) to be accredited (under s 39B of the RMA) by way of holding a relevant “commissioner” qualification (provided through the Ministry for the Environment’s “making good decisions” programme) if they are to sit on any planning hearings, consent applications, or notices of requirement. The cost of obtaining this accreditation (and attending relevant training courses) is paid for by the council (and ratepayers).

I recently attended this two day course during April and successfully completed the two written assessments – obtaining a “merit” distinction overall.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2014/2014-04-10.