The community development committee meeting was held on 6 August 2015. Councilors Canton and Bryant submitted their apologies, otherwise all councillors were present.
The agenda included a number of “information only” reports, as well as presentations from the Nelson Tasman Business Trust and Sport Tasman. The reports included (1) Saxton field designation, (2) residents survey, (3) Pohara commercial lease , (4) Golden Bay community recreation facility update, (5) manager’s update, (6) library update, and (7) community relations update.
A presentation was provided on the Golden Bay community recreation facility by working party members Sarah Chapman and Peter Bladsdale. I will discuss the helpful points they raised in my discussion below.
Saxton field – designations
Nelson council has decided to clarify the scope of its designations over Saxton field. As a requiring authority, Tasman also has to approve any changes. Designations control how the land is used. The need for clarification is due to a number of new facilities appearing on Saxton field.
Proposed changes to the designation include: (1) extending the scope of the designation to include fencing, signage, playgrounds, and park furniture, (2) increasing the permitted building area from 50 sqm to 400 sqm, and (3) increasing the heigh restriction from 3 m to 18 m.
All the changes are intended to allow construction of planned buildings. The height increase would also allow a more extensive playground to be built.
Council resolved to approve all the proposed changes.
Not many surprises in this survey. 402 residents across the district were called and asked for their opinions. If there is a flaw in the survey, its the over representation of residents who have telephone line connections. If you only have a mobile phone (or no phone), you will not have been contacted. However, the survey did ensure that a fair age range was represented in the survey. A copy of the survey is located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/policy/reports/resident-survey/.
The survey makes for interesting reading.
Interestingly, the council decisions people disapprove of the most were: (1) the Dam (13%), roading/roadworks/road safety/footpaths/traffic (5%), rates increases (4%), council spending/waste (4%), planning (zoning/subdivision) issues (3%), and council attitude/performance (3%). Clearly there was a lot of different opinions given the low percentages – but still some strong themes.
Community concern about unneccessary spending on roads (road widening is a constant gripe) is a theme I have also picked up on as I walk around Richmond as part of my mid-term catch up with residents.
In contrast, the most popular council decisions were: (1) cycle ways (9%), (2) public consultation (4%), community engagement (4%), sport and recreation facilities (3%), park maintenance (3%), and good services (3%).
Overall, 32% would talk negatively about council (the LGNZ national benchmark is 46%). In contrast, 62% would talk positively about council (the LGNZ national benchmark 36%).
In relation to communication, the main source of council information was from reading Newsline (61%, compared to 56% in 2014). However, more people were getting their information from local papers (28%, compared to 24% in 2014). Nearly 80% of people, say they get enough information from council.
In my opinion, we may well be overloading the public with information on the less important stuff, and not providing enough information around the big items. It continues to amaze me how many people do not understand the new water allocation and rationing rules, that were approved of by the former council’s plan changes. Leaving aside the issue about the level of public funding, these rule changes are driving the council (as an extractor of water on behalf of Richmond residents) towards funding some form of water augmentation solution (dam or otherwise) for Richmond residents.
The committee were asked to approve the Hearing Panel’s recommendation to grant a commercial lease (subject to conditions) to Golden Bay Kayaks at Cornwall Place, Tata Beach. The proposal to grant the lease drew 64 submissions concerning the adverse impact of the business activity on the nearby park and residents. The business had been operating since 2002 and sought to renew its lease (for 3 years, plus two rights of renewal at council’s discretion).
The committee resolved to approve the lease (subject to conditions).
Golden Bay community recreation facility
Before I start, I have to disclose that I was not a supporter of this development. I still am not. I think the existing building had a few more years left in her – that we should have been utilised before replacement. In my opinion a toilet and shower facility (commonly provided by way of a modified container), could have provided the facilities the community identified as lacking, for far less money, and done faster.
Interestingly, this report required a decision – albeit the decision was to receive the report? The essence of this report was that the estimated costings had come in higher than the $ 4 million budgeted for this development – which included a replacement building ($3.6 million), 2 netball courts and car parking ($400,000). Proposed plans for the development were enclosed in the agenda (pages 63 to 65). The higher costs meant the working group had to rethink its approach – such as a design and build approach.
By way of background, council undertook to fund $3.2 million, and the community had to raise the remaining $800,000 (being a 20% contribution to the overall cost). It had always been my understanding of the original resolution that the community would have to confirm the funds, before the council would commit its funding.
As mentioned above, the public forum received a presentation from members of the working party. They informed council that 25% ($200,000) of the community contribution had been received to date and that the remaining $600,000 was outstanding. According to the presentation, a large portion of the remaining funds were dependent on the various conditions being met. For example, some community funders would not provide funding until either the resource consents had been granted or tenders confirmed. The working party sought leave from council to receive $400,000 (50% of the community contribution of $800,000) in written pledges. Effectively, only providing 1/3rd of the required cash up front.
Apparently, council had accepted written pledges in the past for other facilities and these had all been honored. Pledges would also allow funders who were placing conditions on the availability of funds to show their intention to provide a measurable level of funding.
Interestingly, the working party members also reminded council that the community had provided over $900,000 in district facility rates. No doubt to emphasis the Takaka community had already made a sizeable contribution to recreational facilties.
Unfortunately, this was a district wide levy (not a Takaka levy) and did not mean an equivalent amount had to be spent in Golden Bay. Although, I suspect that is probably how this particular “rate” was probably sold to ratepayers. It was certainly my impression during the annual plan, that some members of the community held an expectation (“its our turn”) that a facility would be built in Takaka.
I have to say this only confirmed for me that there should not have been a district wide facility rate, and instead the council should have left the communities to fund their own resources, rather than building up what looked like something resembling a pyramid funding scheme – where the final cost to the district was probably far higher than what everyone probably thought they would be committing in rates contributions at the start. In my opinion, a large part of the council debt was probably attributable to the accelerated community facility construction that had occurred in the last decade.
In my opinion, there also appeared to be a lot of pressure being placed on council in terms of project timelines. This came across during the public forum presentation and the report. While the “planned” timelines might be tight, councilors should be under no such illusion. Their duty is to prudently spend ratepayer funds according to the directions and conditions they set. If the council had resolved to not release funds until the community had secured the necessary funding, then the project timeline would have to be adjusted. In my opinion, there was no time pressure and the community should have all the time it needed to raise its funding portion.
After much discussion, council resolved to allow the pledges to be received. Albeit under a slightly tighter time frame than had been requested. If tenders were to be approved on 2 October, then council would need pledges confirmed before that date. This effectively meant that the tenders panel (Crs Norris and Edgar) would be the ones considering if the pledges were both valid and sufficient for council to commit to $3.6 million (of ratepayer funds) to the project.
The report highlighted the following activities:
- MBIE broadband registration of interest. Council has been working with the EDA preparing and submitting a registration of interest (ROI) application. The ROI seeks funding for a variety of broad band services across the district. A digital engagement plan will be submitted in September. For information about what it all means, check out http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/fast-broadband/new-initiatives.
- Aquatic centre. An update report on during May 2015 was submitted. Generally, numbers were lower than expected.
- Reserves and facilities. The Takaka memorial garden project is nearing completion. The velodrome earthworks (on Saxton field) has started and drainage is nearing completion. The avery toilet block on Saxton field has also begun.
- Health and safety. A recent incident (an altercation between two people involving a knife) at the Richmond library resulted in a police call out. Staff handled the situation professionally and no injuries were reported.
As always I find the data presented on libraries very interesting.
The general trend appears to be a decrease in book issues, but an increase in use of digital resources. Apparently e-book and audio book loans increased 44& and online resources 41.5% compared to last year. Quite a surge.
Interestingly, visits to the library appear to be trending down – a 1% decrease from last year (although Motueka recorded a 1.4% increase). Library membership (by residents) at the end of June 2015 was 21,277 people (roughly 45% of Tasman district). During the last year, 19,476 new items were added to the library collection, which totals 145,846 items.
A new mobile app (bookmyne) was launched in May and is available on android and iOS mobiles. It allows users to search the Richmond catelogue, place holds, and check accounts.
This part of the meeting then got rather strange (if not amusing). I say strange, because the chair (Cr Edgar) decided that I could only ask one question. I only presume there was a quota for the meeting and I had used them all up? There was certainly no time pressure on the meeting concluding, as everyone sat around for sometime after the meeting closed, chatting to one another.
I had three questions in mind. The first concerned a typo. I pointed out that para 7.1 of the agenda should have read “Richmond and Takaka” not “Motueka and Takaka”.
When I came to ask my second question, I was told I could not? I was somewhat surprised with this response. Had I used up my quota for the meeting? Was there a pressing meeting elsewhere to attend? I therefore decided to ask “why” my second question about the recirculation rate of books at the Motueka library could not be asked.
I had intended to ask this question because a number of residents had queried the refreshment of books at the Motueka library as part of their submissions for a larger library to hold more books. At this point, before the chair could respond, staff offered an answer. I was assured by staff, that the books at the Motueka library were regularly refreshed (or recirculated) between the district’s libraries. I had wanted more detail, but quickly pressed on, as I wanted to ask a third question.
I then sought to ask my third question. At this point the chair became quite upset with my tactics of subverting her directions and flatly refused to allow me to ask a third question. At this point I stressed to the chair that the question was being made on behalf of a Richmond resident. But this did not deter her and she became quite loud in her insistence that I ask no more questions.
Given I was unable to ask my third question during the meeting, I put the question to the library manager after the meeting had closed. My third question was whether some tourism information (eg, AA guides) could be made available somewhere in the library. It would only require a small stand. The reason for the request, was because some residents had wanted access to this type of information, but were unable to get hold of it from the Gladstone Road Information centre as it was often closed during the winter period. The library manager undertook to look into it.
Community relations report
This was another information update report.
- Events. The Tasman skatepark tour was being reviewed by staff, with a discussion paper exploring alternative delivery methods and funding. Winterruption (winter festival) was successfully delivered and a debrief meting would be held. Another “second hand Sunday” was planned for 13 September. It was agreed that the Eco-fest trade show has served its purpose and would no longer receive council funding. However, $5,000 would continue to be allocated to eco related events.
- Publications. The online youth publication (Jam) and the youth council’s facebook page would be integrated – the consolidation of two online services would improve access and delivery of information for youth (and reduce costs). Further rationalisation of council publications would be undertaken – including: Mud Cakes and Roses, and NewsLine. In my opinion, a review of both publications is well overdue.
- Grants. The creative community grant applications had closed on 10 July. 21 application (requesting $35,425) was received. Community grant applications closed on 31 August.
- Education. During 2014-15 330 students, teachers and prents participated in resource recovery centre, and landfill tours. Another up-cycling competition is being held in Motueka. Another school has signed up as an Enviro-school and will receive staff support for projects on public property.
- Facilities. A standardised contract for service delivery has been devised for Murchison, Motueka and Moutere. Previously each centre operated under different expectations.
- Communication. Staff have mainly been involved in communicating the long term plan to the public. This included a new design and layout for the new form of LTP documents (a new national requirement). It is worth noting that the TDC LTP document was selected for consideration for a national award.
- Online. Useage increased (16.39% more users, and 9.96% more page views) in comparison to last year. The online “grants” application form has been updated as a result of public feedback.
At the conclusion of the meeting I informed staff that the most valuable section of Mud Cakes and Roses (according to resident feedback I had received) was the events section – and any future delivery (or redelivery) of this information needed to be considered as part of any rationalisation. I also suggested that Newsline could reduce its page count or frequency – either or both changes would reduce costs.
I also took the opportunity to emphasis the need for council to outline the new water allocation and restriction rules to the public. In my opinion, council has not done a very good job given how many people are either not aware of them or do not understand how they change the new rules.
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2015/2015-08-06.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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/.
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.
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.
The community development committee meeting was held on 8 May 2014. Apologies were received from Cr King and myself.
The agenda (comprising 165 pages) included the following topics: (1) an update on the velodome project, cyclone ita recovery work, new library facilities, (2) the draft open space strategy, (3) an update on the kina leases hearing, (4) funding of the Brook Waimarama sanctuary pest proof fence, (5) an update on council communication related programs and events, (6) the ecofest and environment awards, (7) call centre activity report, (8) natural burial ground information, and (9) other pending activities.
While I was not at the meeting I did forward several observations to the chair, (together with an update report to council as council representative and chair of the Richmond Bridge and Croquet Club management committee), which I highlight below.
Mr Clarke asked that the estuary power lines be relocated.
The community manager’s report covered a number of activities. A few highlights are summarised below.
- Velodrome: Construction of Saxton Field’s velodrome is currently out for tender. By way of background, both TDC and NCC agreed to relocate the velodrome from Trafalgar Park to Saxton field as park of the Trafalgar park revamp (in anticipation of the rugby world cup).
- Library facilities: The Richmond library’s imaginarium is offering a new digitizing service – due to acquiring slide and negative scanning equipment. Residents are invited to share online any slides related to world war 1 as part of our centenary celebrations.
- Cyclone recovery work: Cyclone Ita caused some damage to a number of council reserves (mainly toppling trees). Staff (and contractors) have been busy tidying up the damage.
Special thanks (and boquet) to those contractors who undertook tidy up work on some roads (on their own initiative and at their cost). Great to see such great community spirit.
Open space strategy
A draft open space strategy document was tabled for approval and public release (for a 6 week consultation period). The document is part of the current financial year’s budgeted program of public consultation. The strategy is aimed at improving the councils management of reserves and intended to identify acquisition and development priorities as a result of future growth.
My first impression of the document (which is contained in the agenda from pp 29 to 102) was that it was too long (albeit a good read) and seemed to outline what actions council was already undertaking. I came away wondering what feedback they actually wanted and wondered if this was more for internal consumption. While the document did provide a short introduction and a few key questions, I think it could have benefited from an executive summary (for those who could not be bothered reading all 70 pages) together with all the questions that the council wanted feedback on, clearly articulated up front (or in a separate questionaire). I thought the council’s earlier “urban development questionaire” was a far more effective document in getting reader engagement and feedback on important community topics.
Readers of this blog will be aware that the council entered into a funding agreement with a private group (who formed a company called “Kina Reserve Ltd”) in order to purchase 10.7 ha of land known as the LEH Baigent Reserve. In return for KRL contributing $413,531 towards the council’s purchase of the land, council undertook to begin a public consultation process over leasing out a smaller parcel of the land for the establishment of some boat sheds.
A hearing panel was formed and 12 submissions were received. After considering submissions the panel concluded that 5 leases (of just less than 35 years) be granted for the purpose of boat sheds, without any right of renewal. That the boat sheds reside within a 55 metre area and that all 5 leases fall within a total area of 1,000 metres. Various other environmental conditions were also imposed. Any boat sheds that were constructed would also have to go through the normal consent process.
My main concerns were about ensuring the lease did not trip any subdivision rules (now or in the future), and that there would be no ability to transfer ownership (eg via trusts changing the make up of beneficiaries).
In my opinion, this was a very successful outcome for everyone involved. The community acquired 10.7 ha of land for public use and some private individuals received a very limited period of private use as reward for assisting the council in its purchase. While I think it might be overstating the arrangement to suggest council could not have done it without private funding (given council seems to find funds for other activities), this is still a very good outcome for the ratepayers.
Brook Waimarama sanctuary
In the 2013-14 annual plan, council agreed to grant the Brook Sanctuary $157,899 towards its pest proof fence (subject to it obtaining other funding). In the draft annual plan for 2014-15 council proposes payment of a second final installment (being $155,046) towards construction of the fence.
Before the council can make these payments, staff require authorisation to enter into a funding agreement with the Trust. The agreement confirms the two installment funding arrangement and notes that the second installment is subject to approval in the 2014-15 annual plan. The agreement directs that the funds only be used for the purpose of constructing the fence. A copy of the agreement is contained in the agenda (at p 129).
The community relations manager provided an update on various activities. These included: (1) online activity – including 2,537 draft annual plan visits, (2) monitoring of Fresh FM downloads\pod casts, which are available from the tasman website, (3) an increase in TDC twitter and facebook followers, (4) riparian planting activities in Golden Bay in conjunction with schools, landowners, and fonterra, and (5) 3,000 people attending the positive aging expo. TDC’s involvement cost ratepayers $869.57.
Ecofest and environment awards
There are two activities that TDC and NCC jointly fund and support. The event and awards are held every two years (ie biennially). The first is Ecofest and the second are the environment awards. Earlier this year, council supported the concept of a touring Ecofest event in light of Trafalgar centre closing due to earthquake risk concerns. And that the environment awards form part of the Ecofest event. Recently, NCC announced that it would not be supporting the ongoing funding of the event and sought expressions of interest from the private sector to hold the event at Founders park (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/9887226/Ecofest-may-become-one-day-event). I think what NCC is suggesting makes a lot of sense. I considered TDC should also support NCC in its approach.
In light of NCC’s pending decision, council decided to hold off making any further decision until NCC had made theirs. The aim being to continue to work with NCC on any future event. Council also resolved to cancel the environment awards (as a stand alone event) for 2013-14 given the limited available funding from both councils.
The customer services manager provided a useful report on call centre activity and building consents – including some useful tables (pp 158-159 of the agenda). Over the period from October 2013 to March 2014 the number of logged (and tracked) service requests has increased. Staff report that customers are responding favourably to the improved customer service and follow up’s that are now happening.
Natural burial grounds
The council has 12 operating cemeteries (Bainham, Collingwood, Kotinga, Fleets Road, Waimea West, Spring Grove, Foxhill, Mararewa, Murchison, Richmond, Motueka and Rototai. The last three being the main cemeteries. An average of 110 burials (and a similar amount of cremation interments) happen each year.
Natural burial’s are becoming popular (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/9934484/Dealing-with-death-in-a-Kiwi-way). Natural burial grounds are currently available in Motueka and Rototai. Another is proposed in Spring Grove. A natural burial is typically shallower (below one metre), involving a bio-degradable casket, does not involve embalming, and is covered in native shrub planting. Information on this type of burial is available from the council’s website (see “Cemetery Standard Operating Procedures 2011” at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/services/cemeteries). Discussion was invited on undertaking a review of the the current rules.
Agenda an minutes
The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2014/2014-05-08.