The engineering services committee meeting was held on 17 December 2015. Apologies were received from Cr Edgar and King. All other councillors were present.
The agenda included: (1) water allocation guidelines, (2) road maintenance procurement co-operation, (3) school zones, (4) engineering department activity report, and (5) the chairs report. Overall, this was a pretty straightforward information update meeting.
Presentations were received from Martyn Barlow and Jean Gorman.
Martyn speaking on behalf of the Mapua Boat Club updated council on a public meeting held in Mapua (120 people attended) about the Mapua wharf boat ramp. He expressed the communities feeling that they had been let down by the Waimea-Moutere councillors (Crs Norris, King and Ensor) and had not been well represented. He asked that council begin working constructively with the Mapua Boat club.
Jean from Spring Grove spoke about flooding and berm issues. She identified that a culvert pipe in Telenius Road was too small to take storm water flows And at least every 2 years the road flooded. A long term solution was needed. Jean also asked that council consider the installation of berms within the Pitfure Valley to help detain water (and reduce flooding).
Annual NZTA road trip
The annual New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) bus tour was held on 4 December 2015. The trip visited a number of road related sites between Richmond, Moutere, Tapawera, and Motueka. The usual suspects from the State Highway Liaison Group were present.
Water allocation guidelines
Council agreed to receive and endorse the water allocation guidelines. Status quo maintained.
Several council water supply schemes (in particular Mapua) are acknowledged to be close to their capacity (or are experiencing competition for water use). Engineering staff reviewed and reconfirmed the current practice guidelines (used to allocate, transfer, or share water) is sound.
The water allocation guidelines (a single page document on page 15 of the agenda) makes a clear distinction between rated water (water entitlements) for which a property is paying rates, commonly associated with a land use or building consent process, and allocated water generally associated with a subdivision process (or other mechanism) that is temporarily reserved for a property, but the council retains the right to reallocate.
Staff have pursued different approaches to water entitlements and water allocations in order to recognise different rights (associated with the water), while managing entitlements and allocations within a scheme to optimise water use. The amount of control that council exercises over water allocations is partly influenced by regulatory provisions and from the physical realities of water movement.
Under s 130 of the Local Government Act 2002, the council is required to continue to supply water to properties connected to the scheme. This underpins the existing user entitlement principle. The council’s Water Bylaw (at rule 9.17) restricts transfer of entitlements by customers, and provides authority for the council to have discretion regarding how to reuse any existing water entitlement or allocation surrendered by property owners.
Road maintenance procurement co-operation
Council agreed to receive the report and for staff to prepare a business case for joint urban road maintenance services (primarily in Richmond which immediately borders the Nelson urban area) with Nelson City Council (NCC).
I supported this resolution as part of my desire to see more shared service arrangements (where financially beneficial for all ratepayers) between TDC and NCC.
By way of background, a number of informal discussions have already occurred between NCC and TDC staff to consider opportunities to work together to gain efficiencies with road maintenance service delivery. These discussions have concluded that both networks are of a sufficient size that mutually beneficial economies of scale may be realised for the urban network including road marking, street sweeping, and general maintenance.
The council resolved to receive this update report. The report updated the committee on the work program and costs to install school zone signs (eg, static school zone signs, and 40km/hr variable school speed limit signs).
The report highlighted a priority list of all schools within the Tasman District that were likely to receive signs. The priority lists reflected those schools most at risk. Funds to cover the purchase and installation of signs would be taken from the Minor Safety Improvements budget.
Costs for the installation of static signs are outlined below. The cost for the installation of static signs includes signs placed on both sides of the roads and on both approaches to the school.
|Signs – “school zone 40”||
|Signs – “school zone ends”||
|Poles, bases, brackets and installation||
Costs for the installation of the 40km/hr variable school speed limit signs are outlined below. These costs are for installing one sign on both approaches to the school.
|Signs – “40 school zone”||
|Signs – “school zone ends”||
|Technology to run signs||
|Poles, bases, and brackets||
Budget constraints resulted in identifying the top 10 at risk schools for the project. Schools were ranked using several factors, including: speed environment, parking facilities, and average daily traffic count. Data on numbers of children walking/cycling to school, entering or leaving a vehicle on the roadside, and crossing the road still needed to be collected for some of the schools, before a final decision could be made in early 2016. The data would also be used to determine whether a school fits the NZTA warrant for a 40km/hr variable speed limit.
The schools (in ranked order) are: Ranzau, Motupipi, Hope, Central Takaka, Dovedale, Brooklyn, Motueka Rudolf Steiner, Mapua, Ngatimoti, Mahana, Lower Moutere, Takaka primary, Brightwater, Parklands, Appleby, Riwaka, Richmond primary, Henley, Golden Bay, Lake Rotoiti, St Peter Chanel, Motueka High, Upper Moutere, Tasman, Motueka South, St Pauls Catholic, Wakefield, Garin College, Tasman Bay Christian, Murchison Area, Tapawera Area, Te Kura Kaupapa, Salisbury, Waimea Intermediate, Waimea College, and Collingwood Area. Motueka Rudolf Steiner school was ranked seventh, but was removed from the top 10 list, as it fronts onto a state highway under the control of the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Cr Mirfin asked why Richmond schools were not ranked higher. It was explained that road speeds in Richmond were already low, and there were limited opportunities to place additional signage, without compromising visibility.
The engineering committee could expect a decision report in early 2016. Councillors asked that staff gave this issue urgent attention for an early decision.
Engineering department activity report
Highlights from the manager’s report include:
- Richmond catchment management plan (CMP) for management of quality and quantity of runoff in the Richmond catchments to support flood management and compliance with a discharge consent is behind schedule.
- Regional water supply and demand model is a a joint investigation with NCC as to the water future needs and supply options is on track.
- Joint Land Development Manual providing a common engineering standards/land development manual for NCC and TDC is on track. Good progress has been made on all chapters. Recent changes to the timing of the Nelson resource management plan review means this work will now take about 2 months longer. Staff expect to hold a stakeholder workshop in April or May 2016, before seeking approval to issue the draft manual for public-wide consultation. The manual requires changes to the two regional plans to give the new manual “effect” under the RMA.
- Asset management. Changes have been made to Explore Tasman to assist with visual identification of assets. A pipe break viewer will be expanded to allow live reporting of breaks, rather than a static snapshot. Improvements to the Confirm system setup and processes are continuing. Since the last report, 810 utilities’ asset features have been added, edited or deleted based on new subdivision works, repairs and council contracts as-built data received. Tracking and reporting of developments, infrastructure and subdivisions (TARDIS) system development is on track.
- Land developments.
- The council’s legal advisors are preparing a development agreement for an area in Richmond West which has a deferred residential zoning and has the potential for an additional 500 new dwellings. This area will be serviced by a new wastewater pressure sewerage system draining to Headingly Lane.
- Pre-discussions on future developments in Richmond South are continuing.
- Residential developments (60 lots) off Pitfure road in Wakefield are extending into residential zoned land. Discussion with the developer’s agent is continuing.
- A residential application (28 lots) to extend Talisman Heights at Kaiteriteri is about to be issued.
- Council has now secured land in Seaton Valley next to the Mapua Joint Venture (MJV) site in Mapua to act as a detention basin for the MJV development as well as all other deferred land in the vicinity. The lack of water supply to Mapua is still raised by developers and limits growth in this area. Investigations will continue to find ways to assist developers in overcoming this hurdle.
- Engineering plans for the Hart subdivision have been lodged and are currently in the final sign off process. The subdivision involves the construction of 31 new residential lots with a new connecting road from Pine Crest Drive (Trek Developments) to Hart Road. The existing creek within the property will be realigned and upgraded to cope with a Q100 flood event with 500mm of freeboard.
- Stage three of a subdivision in Grey Street Motueka is currently under construction comprising 36 residential sections.
- The last stage of the Trek Development (22 residential allotments) extending off Fairose Drive is nearing completion and all construction works except the final sealing of the road will also be completed prior to Christmas.
- Projects. Waimea Community Dam (P1025) $25m funding in LTP. Additional funding required. Irrigator business case and CCO/JV structure is under review. Richmond Church Street Water Pipeline (P1039) installs a new water line and remove the existing while maintaining water to properties. Project on hold. Bateup Road Widening (P1047) The widening and upgrade of Bateup Road from 3 brothers corner to Paton Road to accommodate residential and commercial development in Richmond South. Lower Queen Street Widening (P1043) Reconstruction of Lower Queen Street to provide for future growth in Richmond West. Consent submitted. Design complete. Land purchase close to completion. Richmond Central Infrastructure (P967) Richmond central storm water improvements, upgrade utilities, reshaping road, amenity improvements in Queen Street. Subject to public engagement on Queen Street reinstatement design.
- Water network. Renewal of the Tapawera water treatment plant is nearing completion. A split in the liner of the Kaiteriteri main reservoir liner has been identified near the top of the tank and will require repair.
- Wastewater. Blockages at pump stations continue to be an issue. The aeration basin at Motueka WWTP has been repaired, scour pads laid and the pond refilled.
- Solid waste. Recycling ollection tonnages are around 20% higher than last year.
- Jackett Island. The last inspection was carried out on 7 September 2015 and everything was found to be in good order.
Cr Norris chaired the Hearings Panel for the Speed Limit Bylaw Review together with Crs Dowler, Higgins, and Sangster. According to Cr Norris there were 19 submitters. Although, as I later discovered one submission (in relation to Ranzau Road) included over 160 signatories. Despite his acknowledgement of the submitters “passion”, the panel did not deviate from the staff’s recommendations, and in Cr Norris’s own words “I am pleased to report that all proposed speed limits were agreed”. So much for listening to the passionate plea’s of a few residents? Just another example of the captured, rubber stamping attendance culture, that has existed on this council for far too long.
Of course, its no secret that Cr Norris (a self confessed “dinosaur” – his words, not mine) and myself, do not always see eye to eye, in my efforts to push back against a long history and culture of increasing debt and poor spending decisions (I won’t rub salt into the Mapua development wound). However, I take comfort, in the knowledge that there are already some outstanding candidates putting up their hands to stand in the Waimea-Moutere Ward. I look forward to a few more good people standing up for their communities and putting up their hands in Waimea and Motueka Wards.
I should note, that all councillors swear an oath (clause 14, schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002) to act faithfully and impartially in the best interests of the district, not just the ward (or other communities) they wish to represent. A point made very clear by Mr Foster, during the public forum presentation at the recent Golden Bay Community Board meeting (of 10 May 2016), that I attended. And again, I extend my offer to talk about my experiences on council with any prospective candidates.
Interestingly, given the storm brewing in Nelson (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/73755660/councillor-under-fire-for-interference-into-southern-link-investigation), Cr Norris stated that “I have been involved with New Zealand Transport Agency, Nelson City Council and other affected parties looking at the business case for the southern link” (my emphasis).
In contrast, Cr Davy had suggested that he was invited to take part because of his knowledge of Nelson’s transport network, and not as a representative of Nelson City Council (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/74796878/Councillors-clash-over-Southern-Link-investigation, http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/75210791/councillor-eric-davy-ousted-from-regional-transport-committee).
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2015/2015-12-17.
The engineering committee met on 26 February 2015.
Minutes for the meeting have yet to be released. I submitted my apologies for this meeting.
The agenda for this meeting included reports on the following items: (1) funding for the cycle trail between Wakefield and Spooner’s Tunnel, (2) changes to the minor roading improvement programme, (3) an update on planned infrastructure improvements to the Richmond town centre , (4) receipt of the Nelson regional sewerage business unit’s business plan for 2015-16, and (5) an update on the engineering services activities.
Tasman Great Cycle Trail
The council agreed to provide $300,000 in the 2014-15 annual plan for the cycle trail from Wakefield to Spooner’s tunnel, where equivalent funding from the government or other third party was provided.
I always had concerns with the addition of the words “other third parties”, as there was always the possibility, third parties would themselves be funded from council grants. Thus council would effectively be funding more than $300,000, at a time when council needed to apply the brakes to its culture of unbridled spending, and re-prioritise spending to higher priority issues – like protecting peoples homes from storm water flooding, first.
The issue before the council was whether a third party could match the $300,000 with in-kind payments. Staff suggested that they could assess the value of any “in-kind” contribution against market rates to determine a fair value.
In my mind this raised two issues. First, work that would have been volunteered for free would now be valued to extract council funding. There is also the risk that other funding arrangements might adopt a similar strategy. However, the reality is that if businesses raised the money in cash form, they would get it back from doing the work anyway. On that basis I did not see a problem in accepting a fairly determined “in-kind” contribution.
However, in my opinion, the time involvement of staff time (and cost) in determining a fair value was troubling. Troubling in the sense that it was played down in this report, but is often highlighted in other reports (eg the remission of rates for rezoned land) to justify a shorter remission period.
Minor roading improvements
The council’s programme of minor road improvements is estimated to cost $3.2 million.
I note that this value reflects the removal of the proposed $1 million William Street Traffic lights from the minor improvements programme to the long term plan. Something I believe is unnecessary and wrongly prioritises road works over flooding risk.
However, the budget for minor improvements is $2.1 million for the 2014-15 year. This effectively means that some minor improvements will not be done in the 2014-15 year. A prioritised list of minor improvements can be found at page 21 of the agenda.
Changes to the NZTA funding in December 2014 mean that footpaths and cycleway maintenance or improvements could receive subsidies from 2015-16 onwards.
Changes also mean that the under-grounding of power-lines in Motueka (costing council $210,000 and Network Tasman $1.5 million) would also be subject to subsidised funding on the basis of the additional safety benefits. On this basis, staff sought to reclassify the Motueka under-grounding work so it could be funded from the minor improvement budget.
NZTA’s changes to subsidising road safety improvements (like under-grounding power poles) could mean other areas (like Brightwater) might also benefit from under-grounding work. Staff will be recommending changes to the LTP to take advantage of the NZTA changes without increasing councils overall planned expenditure (and thereby not placing pressure on rates).
Staff also sought to defer expenditure on the Motueka high street signalised crossing until 2015-16 due to the need for further consultation with NZTA, who raised concerns over the timing and staging of planned work.
Richmond town centre
Staff reported on progress with the storm water options for the town centre project. The report contains some very useful hydrology modelling and diagrams.
However, the modelling does not include the Richmond south area (eg, Richmond cemetery, Wensley Road, Bateup Road, and Hart Road) which was under water in 2011. Two years on, Richmond south has lost much of the rural grass land to development, that has increased the hard surface area for water run off into the storm water system. And no doubt has contributed to increasing flood risk in the central business district and wider urban areas.
If there is one submission Richmond residents can make to the long term plan (LTP), it is a call for the council to start storm water work now, not later, and ahead of other spending (for example, road or traffic flow improvements). Mitigating flooding risk now, rather than later, just makes sense. Unfortunately, not all councillors see it this way?
Information and submissions on the LTP can be made from http://www.tasman.govt.nz/policy/public-consultation/2015-2025-long-term-plan/.
Tasman sewerage is managed by a jointly owned entity (called the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit or “NRSBU”) with Nelson council. Overall, the operation is running well.
The treatment plant is considered to have adequate capacity for disposal of treated waste and biosolids up to 2025, without further investment. Total operation costs are around $5.8 million, trending up to $6.4 million by 2019-20, and projected to trend towards $6.1 million by 2026-27.
Engineering services activities
It is always reassuring when there is not much to comment on.
The overall financial picture for the engineering department for the year ended January 2015 appears healthy. Operating income and expenditure is better than budgeted forecasts, with a positive variance of $3.5 million at this time.
Generally, there have been no significant issues in the areas of transportation, water, or waste. And any breakages or failures have been fixed promptly and within budgets.
Most projected work is on track with only a few projects experiencing issues (mainly around land ownership issues) that might risk delays. These include:
- Murchison water treatment plant upgrade to bring drinking water up to standard (to be completed in March 2015),
- Champion Road storm water culvert upgrade to Q100 specifications, and
- Richmond water catchment modeling and town centre master plan (behind schedule).
A few items of interest include:
- It is projected that $5.2 million may need to be carried forward into the next financial year to complete outstanding planned capital works.
- New kerbing, storm water improvements, footpaths, and construction of new grass berms have been completed in Angelus Avenue (Richmond). This is a new development off Hill Street. I’ve noticed on walking around the development how some parts (rocks stock to part of the concrete flooring) of the storm water system had already come loose. I understand the storm water system is warranted by the developer for the next three years.
- $1.7 million of LED street lighting will be rolled out in early 2015.
- The narrow bridge replacement contract has been awarded and work is expected to be completed by April 2015.
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2015/2015-02-26.
Waimea Weekly “Spooner’s cycle tunnel all go” (4 March 2015). See http://issuu.com/waimea-weekly/docs/040315/1?e=1913941/11709681.
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.
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.
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.
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.