Tagged: Landfill

Full council (3 March)

A full council meeting was held on 3 March 2016. Apologies were received from Crs Edgar, Dowler and Mirfin for absence and myself for being 10 minutes late. Cr King departed halfway through the meeting.

The agenda was rather brief and included: (1) 2016-17 annual plan briefing and engagement material, (2) Regional landfill joint venture proposal, (3) December 2015 quarterly financial update, and (4) Plan Change 59 – late machinery resolution. No public forum presentations were received.

2016-17 annual plan briefing and engagement material

Council approved the release of the engagement material contained in Attachment 1 of the agenda. Overall, the budgets for the 2016-17 financial year are not significantly or materially different to those outlined in the Long Term Plan (LTP) for 2015-25. Changes that have occurred have improved council’s financial position and reduced rates income rises. Rates income rises are now 1%, well below the forecast of 2.96% in the LTP for the 2016-17 year. Capital and operational budgets and programmes remain largely unchanged from that set out in the LTP for 2015-25.

Council intends to spend $32.5 million on capital projects and $105.9 million on operational activities throughout the District during 2016-17. These figures do not include funds that may be carried over from the 2015-16 budgets.

2016-17 Annual Plan – Comparison with 2015-25 LTP

2015 LTP AP 2016-17 Var Inc/Dec
000’s 000’s
Rates increase 2016-17 2.96% 0.97% -1.99% Decrease
Net Debt 2016-17 $178,593.00 $166,423.00 -12,1700 Decrease
Net Debt Peak (in 2018-19) $197,518.00 $185,428.00 -12090 Decrease
Capital Spend 2016-17 $32,524.00 $32,550.00 26 Increase
Debt to Equity ratio 13.78% 12.74% -1.04% Decrease
Net Debt/Operating – (Limit 225%) 165.13% 155.98% -9.16% Decrease
Net Interest Expense to Annual Rates Income (up to 25%) 13.86% 13.58% -0.30% Decrease
Net Interest Expense to Revenue (Policy limit is 15%) 9.06% 8.82% -0.25% Decrease

Regional landfill joint venture proposal

In early 2014, council agreed that the optimum solution for the region’s waste was to enter into a shared services arrangement with Nelson council’s York Valley landfill (until it reached capacity in around 15 years) and to retain the Eves Valley site for future operations. Such an approach would defer substantial capital investment into Eves Valley in the short term – and reduce pressure on councils unsustainable debt position. A shared services approach also offered opportunities for scale efficiencies and reduced operational costs for both councils.

In August 2014, the two Councils signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU outlined a “contract-for-service” approach, where Nelson City Council would own and operate York Valley and TDC would pay commercial disposal fees, but receive an annual lump sum and a share of the operating surplus of the landfill. In December 2014, following public consultation by Nelson council, the councils considered a modified MoU and in April 2015 the MoU was signed by the councils.

Unfortunately agreement was not reached on the “contract for service” approach due to differing interpretations of the service contract. In order to avoid the proposal being derailed, council pursued a joint venture approach, using an NRSBU model of governance. One familiar with both councils. Under this revised joint venture approach, a valuation of each councils assets was required. The Deloitte valuation report (at page 49) and peer review by Morrison Law (at page 73) was attached to the agenda. The reports concluded that if both councils were to make an equal contribution to the joint venture, TDC would have to top-up the arrangement by paying Nelson council $4.2 million.

Council resolved to enter into a joint venture with Nelson council to start on 1 July 2017, with a one-off top-up payment of $4.2 million.

December 2015 quarterly financial update

The report sets out council’s financial performance and position for the 6 months ended 31 December 2015, as well as a re-forecast to the end of the current financial year. The report forecasted a year-end operating surplus of $2.852 million.

Year End Forecast Revised Budget Variance
Accounting Surplus/(Deficit) $9.16 M $5.67 M $3.49 M Favourable
Operating Surplus/(Deficit) $1.674 M -$1.178 M $2.852 M Favourable
Total Net Debt $155.2 M $173.63 M -$20.427 M Favourable
Expenditure $99.79 M $101.63 M -$1.84 M Favourable
Income $108.95 M $107.3 M $1.65 M Favourable
Capital Expenditure $45.34 M $50.4 M -$5.07 M

The positive result is compared against the revised budget, which is a total of year 1 (2015-16) of the LTP 2015-25, plus carry overs from 2014-15, approved as part of the 10 September 2015 carry over report to council.

Staff anticipated that approximately $5 million will be carried forward into the 2016-17 financial year for capital projects that have not been able to progress this financial year (2015-16). Staff also advised that that the $4.2 million payable to Nelson City Council on 1 July 2017 for the difference in the price for the landfill joint venture would affect the net debt figure (ie $159.4 million, being $155.2 million + $4.2 million).

During the general debate, questions were also asked about overspending on the Mapua development. Staff were unable to provide any figures, but advised that the overspend would be reported in full to the next commercial sub-committee meeting (on 24 June 2016).

Increased building coverage

Plan Change 59 allowed for increased building coverage in the residential zone in Richmond, Motueka, Wakefield and Brightwater. It was notified on 28 November 2015 and submissions closed on 2 February 2016. No submissions were received. I have expressed my opinion on building coverage in earlier posts (see greeningtasman.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/environment-and-planning-committee-meeting-8-october/ and greeningtasman.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/high-density-housing-a-sensible-approach/).

Council resolved to approve Plan Change 59 to commence as an operative change from 12 March 2016.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-03-03.

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Full council meeting (3 December)

The full council meeting was held on 3 December 2015. Apologies were received from Cr Mirfin and Cr Inglis (with Cr Bouillir arriving late from her drive over the Takaka hill). All other councillors were present.

The agenda included: (1) September quarterly financial update, (2) Waimea community dam project update, (3) velodrome easement, (5) chief executive’s activity report, (6) mayor’s report, (6) action items, (7) machinery resolutions. Council also considered a confidential item (in-committee) in relation to the public release of the 10 September 2015 in-committee report.

Public forum had two speakers. My general observation for this meeting was that council moved rapidly through the agenda with very little debate. Perhaps a reflection that this was another meeting of information updates and simple machinery decisions.

Public forum

Maxwell Clarke complimented council on its quarterly financial report which he said was clear and precise. He also noted an improvement in communication from the engineering department over storm water work. However, Maxwell raised concerns over the limited time to speak (currently 3 minutes). He asked council to be more flexible. There was no reason why it could not be extended to 5 minutes. After all, Christchurch council provided 5 minutes. He also asked that council begin considering Plan B initiatives for water augmentation, given it was becoming very apparent that there was insufficient support for the Dam. He noted that 2700 ha (which was WCDL’s target) was 70% of all irrigators. He would be surprised if this was met at an $83 million funding level.

Martyn Barlow spoke about the concerns of the Mapua Boat Club and the restricted access to the boat ramp. He noted that TDC had now banned vehicles accessing the boat ramp between the hours of 10am and 7pm, due to “health and safety concerns”. This severely limits use for boat users who are dependent on the tide. Martyn noted that the commercialisation of the wharf precinct was done for businesses, tourists and visitors to Mapua – but not for the local community.

Martyn also stressed that boat use was on the increase and a boat ramp in the Mapua area was a necessity. One only had to see what was happening in Nelson. He noted that building the new Shed 4 had also compounded the parking and traffic management issues. In a circulated copy of his speech he stated that “… TDC has failed to meet their own objectives in the case of the local Mapua community’s use of coastal assets and we want to know why – and we expect our elected councillor’s to put it right! In the words of the late Alan Martin it’s the putting right that counts!”. I agree.

Unfortunately, council’s commercial aspirations in attempting to cover the entire site with the Shed 4 building (to maximise revenues), has meant access to the boat ramp is severely limited. In my opinion, a container development would have been less intrusive and met the aspirations of the council, businesses, and the community. The lack of vision and foresight by those councillors who supported this development has been exposed.

In my opinion, council may have to explore placing boat ramp access along the southern boundary of the reserve and allow boat users to share the carpark (which might have to be extended). If that can come in at around $80,000 then it would seem the most logical solution.

Waimea community dam project update

This was the fourth update report on the Waimea Community Dam Project. The report covers the period following the Council’s decision to transfer a joint interest in the resource consents for the dam to Waimea Community Dam Limited (WCDL) company.

Key points included:

  • Resource consents. The resource consents are now jointly held by council and WCDL. The Deed terms were satisfied by agreement.
  • Project Steering Group (PSG). The CEO has since withdrawn from direct involvement with the PSG in order to maintain independence and safeguard objectivity when providing advice to council. This leaves the PSG membership with: the Mayor, Cr King, Cr Edgar, and Cr Higgins.
  • Structure. WCDL undertook to begin seeking preliminary expressions of interest based on its proposed corporate structure and P50 pricing model. WCDL were advised that Council did not agree with WCDL’s proposed structure or pricing model. WCDL were advised that any consultation using the WCDL proposal was a risky assumption.
  • Procurement. An approach to procurement had been agreed. It was intended to issue a request for interest (ROI) in December. That time line has since slipped given the uncertainty on funding.
  • Land. Draft agreements were sent to the private land owners at the end of October 2015. All parties had confirmed receipt by 6 November 2015. Department of Conservation (DOC)/Crown acquisitions are to track alongside the private landowner agreements. The LINZ land comprises part of the dam footprint. The proposal is to resume the paper road under the dam and preferentially allocate it to Council under the Land Act. A meeting was held with Frank Hippolite (Ngati Koata) to discuss the purchase (or other treatment) of Ngati Koata land.
  • Plan change. A Plan change (two tier water allocation system) was notified on 19 September 2015, receiving 32 submissions.
  • Project costs. Total direct project costs (capital and operational costs) for 2014-15 year (up to 30 June 2015) was $1.582 million ($1.483 million plus $99,000). An additional $250,000 was spent up to October 2015, bringing the total direct project cost (as at October 2015) to $1.832 million (see page 31 of the agenda for detailed costings).

Much of the discussion focused on procurement advice which was expected in 2016. This advice was preliminary in nature and low cost. The CEO stressed the need to ensure funding streams have been secured before any tenders started. He also stressed that any consultation would need to respond to issues raised by communities. I agree. I also asked that “write down” costs (which is the cost to council if it walked away from the project) are highlighted in any future update reports.

Project Expenditure

2014-15

YTD October 2015

Direct operational costs

$99,000

$1,000

Project capital costs

$1,483,000

$249,000

Indirect operational costs

$218,000

$16,000

Total

$1,800,000

$266,000

$2,066,000

Project Funding sources
Existing operational

$218,000

$16,000

Waimea levy

$71,000

Targeted rates

$20,000

WWAC opening balance

$470,000

Loan funded balance

$1,021,000

$250,000

Total

$1,800,000

$266,000

$2,066,000

September quarterly financial update

Council agreed to quarterly reporting to full council as part of a workshop held on 3 September 2015. The September 2015 quarterly financial report provides a snapshot of the financial highlights of the first quarter.

Year end Forecast

Annual budget

Variance

Accounting Surplus

-$10,187,000

-$6,811,000

$3,376,000,000

Favourable
Operating Surplus

$2,352,000

$5,303,000

$2,950,000,000

Favourable
Total Net Debt

$158,982,000

$173,267,000

$14,286,000

Favourable
Expenditure

$99,422,000

$101,634,000

-$2,212,000

Favourable
Income

$108,467,000

$107,303,000

$1,164,000

Favourable
Capital Expenditure

$50,107,000

$50,400,000

-$292,000

Favourable

Overall the financial position of Council remains extremely strong and in line with year end budget expectations. The notable exception being the debtors balance.

Total net debt

The forecast year end net debt position for 2015-16 is now $159 million ($14 million lower than forecast in the LTP).

Opening Net Debt 2015 July $140,318 million
Net Debt 2015 September $142,513 million
Forecast Net Debt 2016 June $158,982 million
Net Debt 2016 June (per LTP) $173,267 million

20151203-FC-p15

Income

Income is above budget by $734,000 with a forecast excess of $1.164 million at the end of the 2015-16 financial year.

Expenditure

Expenditure is below budget by $2.089 million with a forecast underspend of $2.126m at the end of the 2015-16 financial year.

Debtors balance

The total debt ledger is up $1,843,076, and 3-month overdue ledger up $1,221,463, from September 2014.

20151203-FC-p19

Chief executive’s activity report

Highlights from the CEO’s report include:

  • Finances. For the period ended October 2015 the Council had a surplus of $3.83 million above the budget. External debt is $144 million compared to a budget of $168 million. Capital expenditure is $18.47 million lower then budget on a year-to-date basis (subject to capital carryovers of $15.59 million).
  • Health and Safety. Council have been invited to participate in a Safety Star Rating Scheme (SSRS), a new WorkSafe pilot scheme which is expected to replace the current ACC Workplace Safety Management Practices scheme (WSMP).
  • Economic Development. The Economic Development Services Review Group met on 9 November 2015. The areas of focus for the new entity were agreed. And are aligned with council’s outcomes as prescribed in the funding agreement with Nelson council.
  • Landfill. The basis for asset valuations of a joint landfill proposal with Nelson council has been agreed. In my opinion, this is an important step towards more shared services between both councils, and will be a win-win for ratepayers.
  • Pre-election report. This is required to be produced prior to 1 July in the year that local elections are held. The purpose of a pre-election report is to provide information to promote public discussion about the issues facing the local authority. The financial information and the text will be prepared in April and May with the final version ready for sign off in mid- June.

Velodrome easement

Council resolved to grant an easement to Network Tasman to convey electricity to the new velodrome on Saxton field. The new power supply is expected to be substantially less intrusive than the old supply. The new power supply requires only one power pole and associated stays in a location where there is already an existing power pole. The rest of the supply is by way of underground cabling.

Mayors report

During the mayor’s report I asked mayor about what progress had been made over a request by residents for TDC to do a road swap with DoC on the Takaka Hill. According to reports, Doc had threatened to stop the public and property owners from using a reserve road on the top of Takaka Hill which was used to access private properties. The mayor advised that he would be facilitating a solution between residents, DoC, and TDC. I will be watching this space with interest.

I also advised councillors that I spoke on behalf of the council at the Inaugral Trans-Tasman Golf-Croquet Test series, which New Zealand had won. I have reported my speech in an earlier post.

Machinery resolutions

These resolutions confirms documents signed under delegated authority and council seal. They included: a partial surrender of easement and alteration of easement in gross; and a forest management agreement with PF Olsen to manage the council’s forest estates for a term of 12 months (from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016).

In-committee report

This item arose from my request to release a confidential report to council on the Waimea Community Dam (dated September 2015). The mayor anticipating my request put a motion to council (recorded below) outlining his reasons why the report should not be released. While I am unable to summarise the discussion, I am able to report the voting. Although I am unable to report who supported making the voting public (and who did not).

Unfortunately, I did not secure support from the majority of council to make this report publicly available. Nor am I able to explain the arguments I made or the argument’s the mayor (and others) made. All I can say is that in my opinion the mayor’s argument made no sense and was quite ridiculous given some material would have been redacted. Clearly old habits are hard to break. The official minutes record the following resolution and outcome:

1. Receives the Request to Release 10 September In Committee Report report RCN15-12-08; and

2. Declines to publicly release RCN15-09-13 (Supplementary Report – Waimea Water Augmentation Project).

Cr Greening called for a division.

Bouillir Against

Bryant For

Canton Against

Dowler For

Edgar For

Ensor For

Greening Against

Higgins Against

Kempthorne For

King For

Norriss For

Sangster For

CARRIED

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2015/2015-12-03.

Engineering services committee meeting (3 July)

The engineering committee meeting was held on 3 July 2014.

This was one of the briefest engineering committee agendas I had read for a long time. The meeting agenda included: (1) an LED lighting upgrade program for 14 coastal streets, (2) closure of the Collingwood Resource Recovery Centre from July 2015, and (3) the engineering managers update report (covering various topics, including; a service agreement with NZTA over Golden Bays SH60 network, Jackett Island work, and various water works).

For a full list of the engineering department’s capital works programs, see pages 43 to 51 of the agenda.

This post will highlight those items that received the most interest from councilors.

Solid waste, landfill, and resource recovery

A decision was required on the continued operation of the Collingwood and Murchison Resource Recovery Centres and whether they should continue to operate from July 2015.

Council resolved to continue with the Murchison operation, but to close the Collingwood centre. The decision was mainly driven by fiscal considerations. However, the closure would be offset by a weekly pick up service (from the same location), whereby rubbish could be loaded into a truck parked at the Collingwood centre, and then shuttled to the Takaka centre.

A thorough and well balanced report was presented to council and can be read at pages 21 to 32 of the Agenda. In summary, the Collingwood centre was heavily subsidised by rates (89%) and was losing money without any prospect of future growth to offset the losses. Basically, it was under used. Given it was only 25km from the Takaka centre, it was logical to consolidate operations with Takaka. Councillors were aware that the closure would provide an inconvenience to some ratepayers (a 50km round trip) so provision for a weekly truck service located at the Collingwood centre was provided for. In my opinion, this seemed a fair compromise. The alternative would have been to increase the charges for using the centre – to enable it to break even. However, the required increases in charges would have been prohibitive.

Street lighting

The council decided to roll out new LED lighting as part of a planned lamp replacement program of 396 lamps across several settlements. The decision was mainly driven by projected long term savings and the fact the additional upfront costs could be absorbed within existing budgets due to the projected savings.

The replacement of 396 high pressure sodium lamps was expected to cost $52,000. Over a period of 20 years, replacement costs would be expected to be around $396,000. For the same 20 year period, LED lights could be expected to cost $241,560. The expected payback period for LED light capital investment was 8 years. In addition, LED lights would provide additional power savings of $20,000 per year. Understandably, the roll out of LED lights was pretty much a no brainer.

By way of background, the district has 2,890 street lights, with the majority of these being high pressure sodium lamps. The total energy use is estimated at 1,037,000 (kilowatt hours) kWh per year. Council spends around $270,000 per year on street lighting energy. This budget is expected to increase in line with future power prices and the development of new subdivisions. NZTA currently subsidise street lighting maintenance and renewals at a rate of 49%.

High pressure sodium lamps have an approximate life of 12,000 kWh or around 3 years before the level of lighting drops below 70% of Lumen output. In contrast, LED lamps have a life expectancy in excess of 100,000 kWh which is equivalent to 20 years of operation at approximately 4000 kWh per year.

The latest LED lighting technology can provide a reduction in energy consumption of up to 70% as well as cost savings in maintenance due to the longer life of LED lighting. However, LED lights are more expensive per unit than high pressure sodium lamps.

Jacket Island

An update report on Jackett Island was provided. The Council is required to maintain the foreshore of the Van Dyke Family Trust for a period of 3 years until January 2017 (see http://www.nzlii.org/nz/cases/NZEnvC/2014/1.html). The Van Dyke Family Trust has initiated a civil claim against the Council in the High Court for costs and diminution of value of their Jackett Island property.

A survey of the Jackett Island foreshore was completed in late March. The results indicate there has been minimal change over the last 3 months to the beach surface and intertidal platform. Damage that was caused to the sandbag wall from Cyclone Lusi was repaired on 7 May 2014 by utilising surplus bags that were recovered from the northern end of the existing wall.

NZTA Agreement

Council has entered into an agreement with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the provision of SH60 Golden Bay network management services from 1 July 2014 to March 2016. The services will be provided for State Highway 60 for the length of 75 km from the Riwaka River Bridge to the end of SH60 at Collingwood.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located a http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2014/2014-07-03.

Water, Waste and World War One

First steps towards the Waimea Community Dam (also known as the Lee Valley Dam)

Resource consents are now being sought to allow the construction, operation and maintenance of a dam and associated infrastructure on the Lee River in Tasman District, as part of the Waimea Water Augmentation Project. This is the first step towards allowing a dam and provides the legal framework for a dam option. The closing date for submissions are 15 August.  See http://www.tasman.govt.nz/property/resource-consents/notified-resource-consent-applications/applications-open-for-submissions/waimea-community-dam-lee-valley/

An interesting policy initiative from Labour also materialised last week. Does this mean central govt funding for a dam is now on the agenda? Does this mean that Tasman and Nelson voters should now be voting for Labour to overcome the elephant in the room around the dam proposal – funding?

Obviously the devil will be in the detail and the leader of the Labour party, David Cunliffe, indicated that any long term investment would require some “skin in the game” as well as a sound economic proposal. However, the Waimea Community Dam would appear to clearly meet both criteria. See http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10295617/Regional-development-key-election-issuehttp://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/10292727/PM-dismisses-Labours-slush-fundhttp://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/10295790/Key-v-Cunliffe-Battle-of-the-soundbites.

Regional landfill waste

Another positive step towards shared services between Nelson and Tasman was agreed last week – with the aim of cost savings and efficient use of resources for both councils. A win-win for the ratepayers of both councils.

Last week the Works and Infrastructure Committee of Nelson City agreed in principle to accept all Tasman District waste from 1 July 2015, to share operating surpluses and to publically consult on this proposal. Tasman council consulted on the proposal in March 2014, through the 2014 draft Annual Plan. Nelson council are now going through the consultation phase. See http://nelson.govt.nz/council/consultations/open-consultations/regional-landfill/.

Museum news

The Nelson Tasman WW1 Service Database, which lists the names of men and women from the region who served in WW1, was officially launched at a ceremony held at the Museum on 23 April. The database is the result of the work by local researchers Coralie Smith, Cheryl and Mike Carnahan, Eileen Thawley, Syd Daughtrey and Pat O’Shea. The database includes the names of nurses, soldiers, padres, and those men and women who served with the Australian forces, the Royal Navy and the flying services of England.

To view the database online and for more information on the WW100 commemoration of the First World War visit www.nelsonmuseum.co.nz/ww100.

Engineering services committee (15 May)

The engineering services committee meeting was held on 15 May 2014.

The agenda included the following topics: (1) sewerage operation and management, (2) driver feedback signs, (3) bridge replacement, and (4) the engineering manager’s report. A confidential session was held to consider a solid waste services proposal.

Sewerage

Unfortunately the report from the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit (NRSBU) was not tabled and instead deferred to the next meeting due to NRSBU staff not being able to present the report to council. Nevertheless the agenda (pp 5 to 30) does contain some useful information on TDC’s sewerage operation that the people from the NRSBU were going to talk too. I look forward to NRSBU’s future presentation.

Driver feedback signs

Speed issues have been a major concern for schools and residents in the region. As part of councils efforts to address the issue, council has decided to purchase three “driver feedback signs” (that are solar powered) at a total cost of $40,000. These are signs that inform the driver of their approaching speed. Studies conducted both in the UK and USA have found radar speed signs to effectively slow traffic down (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_speed_sign). Six locations have been identified.

Bridge work

A number of trucking businesses are wanting to use the larger High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) capable trucks and trailers. These new trucks are longer and have more carrying capacity (roughly 20% more) than other trucks. Theoretically, their use should see a reduction in the number of truck trips on our roads and possibly improved safety. Their impact on the roads is also no greater than existing trucks due to their axel configuration. This results in the load weight of the truck being evenly distributed, so that there is no greater impact on road wear and tear than from other trucks. However, narrow bridges pose a problem to cross. Tasman has a number of narrow bridges.

After consultation with the industry, staff identified that the most efficient route for HPMV’s to the rest of the south island was along the Motueka Valley Highway which would involve only one narrow bridge replacement. A map of the route in the agenda (p 47). The estimated cost of the bridge work was $700,000 and would only proceed if it received a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) subsidy of 59%. An effective cost to ratepayers of $287,000. The project was also expected to be completed within the existing approved 2013-14 bridge renewal budget. On this basis, council approved the expenditure.

Manager’s report

The engineering manager’s report provided an update of the engineering departments activities, reorganisation, and programme delivery schedule.

Of particular interest for me was the reported savings from the departments reorganisation, although the manager stressed that this could deviate in future quarters. The 2013 third quarter (Q3) showed a total saving of $1,384,000 against plan, compared to the forecast saving of $710,000 for the same period. A positive variance of $674,000. This was a good result but whether this trend continues as the departments activities are reduced (as council strive to make savings from unnecessary capital expenditure) will be interesting to monitor.

Subsidised road renewals appear to be coming in under forecasted budgets of just over $6 million. A possible saving of $100,000-200,000. Although this saving is likely to be taken up by a shortfall of $100,000 in river maintenance activities. River work in the Buller catchment is underway with current costs appearing to be tracking below planned expenditure. Whether this is a timing issue or a trend will be interesting to watch.

Seawater inundation at the Motueka waste water plant has brought forward the decommissioning of one of the wetland ponds. The easter storm raised the risk of waste water overflows in Golden Bay. However, these were avoided due to the efforts of the contractor who tankard the effluent from site to site.

Stormwater networks held up well in March and April. Regular pre-storm inspections and the removal of debris are now being undertaken prior to forecasted heavy rain events. Areas of high risk continue to have sandbags stationed nearby.

The councils resource consent for landfill operations expires in September 2015 and work has begun to ensure consents are in place going forward.

The construction of reservoir and supply pipelines above Champion Road to increase supply for new Richmond east subdivisions are over budget due to road works and land purchases. The upgrade to Champion Road storm water system (to mitigate flooding to a Q100 event) is behind schedule due to resource consenting issues. Other projects behind schedule include: (1) the regions growth model report (now scheduled for June), (2) the regions parking management strategy report (now after May), and (3) the hydraulic modelling of Richmond. Given the size and number of other projects the engineering department is undertaking, some lag might be expected. I certainly do not have any concerns at this point in time.

Reader’s interested in the progress of other engineering projects should refer to the agenda (pp 62 to 70).

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2014/2014-05-15.