Tagged: Walk ways

Engineering services committee meeting (10 November)

Hill Street \ William Street pedestrian refuge (a minor improvement?)

The engineering committee meeting was held on 10 November 2016. All councillors were present. Four reports were received with no decisions required.

The agenda included: (1) large developments, (2) renewal of water utilities operations and maintenance contract, (3) minor improvement programme, (4) engineering services activity report, and (5) chair’s report.

Public forum

Graeme Dick (a property developer) spoke about the Richmond West development area. He raised concerns that council was 5+ years behind in infrastructure, and 10 years behind in growth planning. He considered that Richmond had experienced 50% growth in the last 10 years (on average 5% per year) and Mapua 25% growth over the same period. Graeme suggested that urgent action was required for Mapua’s water pipe renewals (probably a $6-7 million cost). He stressed that council should not leave this late in the long term plan (LTP).

Large developments

Richmond, Mapua and Motueka has seen very high levels of residential development. This growth is well in excess of predictions underpinning the Council’s 2015 Long Term Plan (LTP) – approximately 300% of what was anticipated. Many developers are requesting that the Council advance capital projects to allow for growth. For example, Graeme Dick, a developer who spoke at the public forum (and who I am told, is a good friend of the mayor’s).

The following table illustrates future potential housing (to be realised):

Undeveloped residential zones

Consented development

Development potential

Land area

Housing potential

Land area

Housing potential

Land area

Housing potential

Richmond

34.84

379

17.48

210

108.82

1259

Mapua

1.5

26

16.8

131

8.9

107

Motueka

10.5

124

6.9

85

38

496

Total

46.84

469

41.18

426

155.72

1862

There are land parcels (46.84 ha) that landowners are residential zoned, but not developed (ie 469 vacant lots). In addition, 426 sections are consented, but are still waiting to be constructed.

At the same time, developers have indicated that they are interested in developing a further 155.72 ha, but are unable to due to a lack of services (ie water and wastewater).

Consequently, staff expect to recommend that council consider a redistribution of projects and/or promoting additional capital funding in certain locations as part of the development of the 2018 Long Term Plan.

Council received this report (no decision was required).

Renewal of water utilities operations and maintenance contract

The current Water Utilities Operations and Maintenance contract was awarded in July 2007 for three operational periods (three plus three plus four years) subject to satisfactory performance. The contract has a value of approximately $5 million per annum.

The current contract was due to expire on 30 June 2017. However, on 3 March 2016 the engineering services committee approved an extension of the current contract for up to 12 months until 30 June 2018 (to allow time to develop a new Water Utilities contract, and proceed with the agreed tendering process).

Beca have been engaged, through a competitive tendering process, to write the tender documentation for a new contract and to procure a contractor to deliver the required services. The next stage of the process prior to tender is the Request for Qualification, which is a call for parties to lodge their interest in being shortlisted for the tender.

Council received this report (no decision was required).

Minor improvement programme

The Minor Improvements work activity is defined by NZTA. This work category provides for the construction and implementation of low-cost and low-risk improvements to the transport system to a maximum total cost per project of $300,000. The work is subsidised by NZTA at 51% for the 2016-17 year. The total budget for the 2016-17 year is around $991,000.

The minor improvements work programme for 2016-17 was authorised by the previous council. At that meeting, I objected to a number of projects, which I considered were unnecessary. However, I was a lone voice on that council. In my opinion, council was acting under a retails sales mentality (ie spending money it did not need too, to get a 50% discount). If council was to reduce expenditure, and the need to raise more revenue from ratepayers via rates increases, it needed to tighten its minor improvements budget. In many cases projects were not required.

In my opinion, the minor improvements budget should be used in response to customer driven requests, rather than staff anticipating what ratepayers wanted. Adopting this approach would reduce non-critical expenditure, reduce pressure on staff resources, and enable council to focus on the real priorities.

I again raised this point in the meeting, but was advised by staff that council could not undo the approved minor improvement works for 2016-17. However, it could review the 2017-18 works (if and when they arise).

Engineering services activity report

Highlights from the engineering manager’s report include:

  • Staff. Engineering Services Manager Peter Thomson has resigned his position after almost 19 years with Council in this role and will finish his employment on Friday 18 November 2016.

  • Developments. Only one new subdivision as-built plan has been received and approved since the last update. Council received an application for 138 residential lots in Richmond West. A subdivision consent for approximately 130 lots in Richmond South is also being processed. Pre-application discussions are progressing with another landowner for a further 50 lots. Two large existing subdivisions in Mapua are continuing (approximately 170 lots combined). Wakefield is to see a 63-lot subdivision in the next 12 months which will include a link from Pitfure Road with Edwards Street.

  • Asset management. Amendments and additions to the engineering infrastructural asset data are currently being imported to the asset management system. In the current update period there are 2,070 new assets,760 retired, replaced or removed assets and 4,320 amended asset records. These changes reflect assets created or effected by capital works projects, renewals projects subdivision works and maintenance works.

  • Digitisation. In October staff concluded their investigation and selection of alternative resource consent management software. Foundation Footprint has been engaged to provide cloud software that will enable Engineering staff to better track and manage their consents.

  • Works. There are 40 active projects on council’s books: 20 in preliminary design stage, nine in detailed design stage, one in procurement stage (Queen Street Infrastructure Project) and 10 in construction stage, and 13 in review.

  • Water network. Audit results for this period were good with the contractor achieving a score of 91%. The site audits are part of the operations and maintenance contract performance criteria where a minimum score of 80% is required to avoid financial penalties. An additional bore has been drilled on the Collingwood Scheme as part of the eventual treatment plant upgrade which will be included in the next Long Term Plan to meet drinking water standards.

  • Wastewater. There continues to be regular pump blockages at most pump stations in Mapua, with 8 in the last month. The cause of all the Higgs-1 pump station blockages was wet wipes.

  • Trade waste. Implementation of the trade waste section of the 2015 Wastewater Bylaw is currently underway. Initial work has begun to register trade dischargers. Approximately 60% of these have completed the process. 752 potential trade waste dischargers in the district have been identified.

  • Waste management. Operations at Resource Recovery Centres have been busier than normal with waste volumes around 5% higher than budget for the first quarter. In early October there was a hazardous waste incident at the Richmond RRC with an unwashed nitric acid container identified. On 22 September 2016 TDC and Nelson City Council both separately resolved to proceed with a joint committee to manage the Councils’ two landfills from 1 July 2017. This resolution is subject to obtaining authorisation from the Commerce Commission.

  • Stormwater. Site audits undertaken during August and September indicate a contractor performance level of 93% and 88% respectively for stormwater maintenance. The contractor is increasing the frequency of routine maintenance (vegetation control, etc.) in drains and creeks throughout the region as we experience strong spring growth. The recently approved $30,000 upgrade work for Ned’s Creek in Murchison has progressed with a level survey of the site. A bund is also proposed to help reduce the number of flooding occurrences on properties along Hampden Street. The Borck Creek planting programme has been completed for 2016, and programmed maintenance of the planting has commenced (scheduled over three years).

  • Road works. Upcoming urban works include: pavement repairs to Champion Rd at Hill St roundabout, clearing of a water courses adjacent to the Sandy Bay Marahau Road, investigate repair of the Salisbury Road bus shelter near Talbot Street, resealing of the back carpark of Armadillos (which is mostly occupied by staff parking), and resealing the Motueka Service Centre carpark off Hickmott Place. Shoulder flanking to improve surface water runoff has been completed on Moutere Highway, Bridge Valley Road, Robinson Road, Lower Queen Street, Haycocks Road, Aniseed Valley Road, Kerr Hill Road, Lansdowne Road, and Pigeon Valley Road. Culvert replacements have been completed on Wairoa Gorge Road, Serpentine River Road, Rocky River Road, Brooklyn Valley Road, Motueka River West Bank Road and Tadmor-Bushend Road. Maintenance metalling is continuing, with 4,500 m³ (45% of annual total) completed to date. Network wide roadside mowing began in late September and generally takes a minimum of six weeks, depending on weather. Structural repairs and improvements at 26 bridges are currently being designed, with a contract to be tendered early in the new year.

  • Jackett Island. The routine 3-monthly survey of Jackett Island was completed on 15 September 2016, which is after the recent repair work and will record any changes in the sand bag wall profile. Preliminary observations from the recent survey show there has been no visible change to the bulk of the fore dune and intertidal platform for the majority of the length of Jackett Island except for the southern extremity of the Island.

Chairs report

Finally, I want to highlight an observation made by the chair – and one I agree with:

One of the things I am particularly keen to see improved in this term of council is the way we manage Customer Service Requests (CSRs) and how they are reported back to the Councillor or the person who originally lodged the request.

In my opinion its very much part of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do. My observation from speaking with residents is that sometimes there appears to be an absence of any follow up. However, I am told by council staff that they do ask customers if they want to be followed up.

In my opinion, providing 3G phone apps like Nelson City council’s “snap send solve” app, or Wellington City council’s “fix it” app, or “my council services” (a third party app which apparently delivers requests to TDC), provide a very efficient means of ensuring good follow up. As well as an excellent way for customers to inform councils about things that need fixing.

Keeping our walk ways tidy – work request response times

On a related matter, not discussed at the meeting (but one I subsequently followed up on), I was advised by staff that in terms of public work request response times for public walkways, the public should expect a work request to have been actioned within 2 weeks of notification. For safety hazards, a shorter time can be expected.

Detritus” (defined as any collection of fragments and/or material on a sealed surface eg loose chip, leaves, twigs etc) has a maximum response time of 2 weeks in most cases – except for CBD which is 2 days.

Response times apply from when the contractor first becomes aware of the defect. Anything that is a safety hazard can be assigned shorter response times.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2016/2016-11-10.

Draft minutes are available upon request from TDC.