Newsline 279 - 13 July 2012
Friday 13 July 2012
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- Costs Pared Back in Long Term Plan
- Message From the Mayor
- Management Plan Protects Park Splendour
- Kiyosato Farmer Back as Mayor
- Growth Costs Shared More Fairly
- Proposed Regional Pest Management Strategy
- Kaka Sculpture a Double Tribute
- Sewage Plant Thrifty With Energy Use
A proposed general rate increase of 4.75 percent for the 2012/2013 year has been pared back to 3.63 percent as the Tasman District Council adopted its Long Term Plan.
The draft 10-year plan released for consultation earlier this year proposed the higher increase, but costs were a concern in some of the 900-plus submissions received. Council reviewed the priorities and reshaped the budgets in the final Plan to achieve the lower rate rise.
The overall rates change for ratepayers will vary according to targeted rates and recent property revaluations.
Submitters’ wishlist of additional projects totalled $30 million on top of proposed spending, so hard decisions had to be made.
Major projects planned for the next decade include the Lee Valley dam, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, extending the Motueka Library, a new community facility in Golden Bay, extending the water supply for Motueka and installing the coastal Tasman pipeline (both subject to Council review), more sports facilities at Saxton Field, upgrading Richmond’s water supply, plus upgrading the wastewater plants in Motueka and Takaka.
Of the $4 million special dividend received from Port Nelson Ltd, $3 million was allocated to the General Disaster Fund and $1 million was used to pay off debt.
Overall priorities in the final Long Term Plan are:
- Delivery of key services to residents, businesses and visitors, plus maintaining core infrastructure assets at an affordable cost.
- Investment in new assets to meet the needs of growing and changing communities.
- Meeting legislative obligations.
“Debt management was a recurring theme from some submitters and was never far from Council deliberations,” says Mayor Richard Kempthorne. “As the District grows there is a need for sound management of debt. The final Plan has a slightly lower projected debt level of $310.8 million by 2021/2022, compared with $317 million proposed in the Draft Plan. Council will continue to review major capital expenditure with the aim of reducing debt levels.
“A number of projects planned in future years will be reviewed with an undertaking to further refine the funding models and costs, for example, the funding model for the Lee Valley Community Dam.”
The Council thanks all the submitters to the Plan and everyone who took time to read the Draft Plan or Summary.
As we concluded the Long Term Process at the end of June, I can say the Council looked at all its services with a view to identifying any efficiencies and savings. Throughout the process it was starkly obvious that costs are going up especially those associated with essential infrastructure.
As the fastest growing district in the country these costs are going to be a significant factor in not only this year’s deliberations but into the future. Rates are a blunt form of taxation but we are trying to ensure the costs associated with the growth are attributed appropriately. In order to create a fair and equitable rating impact the Council has looked at all the mechanisms available to it. One of these is Development Contributions – levies payable by those who have driven or benefited from the growth in the form of development. We took the opportunity, as we do every three years, to review the current policy and the costs associated with it. We have made some changes but realise the impact may be keenly felt by those mid-project.
We are in a position where we need to balance the needs of the District against the cost to the ratepayers. Recent public comment has said that rates should not increase, debt should not be used and development contributions should be limited. While these are admirable sentiments, rates, the prudent use of debt and development contributions are all methods the Council needs to use to provide core services at an affordable cost as well as constantly looking for savings and greater efficiencies.
Growth is happening, but we must manage it and we must manage it in a way that benefits current and new Tasman residents. The Tasman way of life is special and we are well aware of the requirement to balance the needs of our current residents with the demands and costs of growth.
Mayor Richard Kempthorne
The stunning foreshore of Abel Tasman National Park will soon be protected by its first management plan, jointly administered by the Tasman District Council and the Department of Conservation (DoC).
The plan, to start from 1 November 2012, covers the 774ha foreshore reserve established in 2007, and encompasses the islands within the park boundaries, plus Council reserves and private land enclaves between Marahau and Wainui.
Park users and private landowners have played a big part in moulding the plan, with 104 submissions received on the draft document released in June last year. Direct management of the foreshore reserve will be carried out by an administration committee comprising the Council’s Chief Executive and Department of Conservation Nelson Marlborough Conservator.
Neil Clifton, DoC Conservator, says a key objective of the management plan is to enhance visitors’ and adjoining private landowners’ use and enjoyment of the foreshore while protecting its natural features.
Commercial activity will be concentrated at eight bays, leaving other beaches south of Totaranui more peaceful, he says. Water-based commercial activity is banned altogether north of Totaranui, preserving the coastline’s “isolated” character.
“Six of the bays with designated coastal access points are by the national park, at Anchorage, Bark Bay/Wairima, Medlands Bay, Onetahuti, Totaranui, and at Sawpit Point in Awaroa Inlet.” Most of these already have facilities such as toilets to cope with higher visitor numbers.
“New, higher-standard toilets will be installed at Medlands to cater for more visitors,” but camping will be phased out due to lack of space. The campsite area was also badly washed away in high seas in the 6 June 2012 wind storm.
Council Environment and Planning Manager Dennis Bush-King says coastal access points at Torrent Bay and Awaroa will be restricted to minimise disturbance to private property owners.
The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan will be in force until 2018 so that its review coincides with the 10-year review of the 2008 Abel Tasman National Park Management Plan.
Abel Tasman’s Coast Track is the busiest multi-day track in the country, with about 150,000 visits a year. In January, Anchorage receives up to 700 visitors a day and there are around 1200 people at Totaranui on an average day in summer, including campers and visitors.
A delegation from Kiyosato first visited Motueka in September 1990, and amongst them was a local farmer, Mr Kushibiki. He will return this year as Mayor of the Japanese settlement.
Motueka’s Friendly Town partnership has enhanced cross-cultural understanding for hundreds of students and parents. The next Kiyosato group of 23 students and six adults arrive on Sunday 23 September 2012 for a five-night visit. The delegation usually visits in February, but this year they will experience our District in spring.
One student from each town swaps hemispheres every year. Yuna Makino has settled well into Motueka High School this year and is enjoying the relaxed Kiwi way of life.
Jessica Jensen has attended Kiyosato High School – with a roll of just 80 – since February. She says Kiyosato is a friendly place, and very beautiful.
School is different, she reports. Students bow to teachers at the start and end of each lesson. The students clean the school at the end of each day, and then attend their club or sports activity. Jessica has joined the Kyuudou (Japanese archery) club.
She finds being hosted an amazing experience, with charades sometimes necessary to beat the language barriers.
The Kiyosato/Motueka Friendship Committee is looking for families to host our guests in September 2012. Committee member Mary Lafrentz says it’s an excellent opportunity to experience another culture. If you are interested in hosting, or have questions about the visit, contact Mary on Ph. 03 528 9026 or Email her at ShariDake@xtra.co.nz.
As a result of the recent Long Term Plan deliberations the Council’s Development Contribution Policy was amended. The amendments, which came into force on 1 July 2012, were predominantly focused on the level of contribution that Council would collect from developments to pay for the cost of new infrastructure to meet the needs of growth in the district.
In addition to the price review, which led to an increase in some and a decrease on other levies, the decision was made to remove a discount available to the first dwelling on each lot. The 66% discount was part of the original package as a means of easing the impact when development contributions were introduced a few years ago.
As the policy changes will catch a small number of developments mid stream the Council is considering providing a three month window in which developers and property owners can analyse the changes and make their payments accordingly. Each development is different and as such will have different contribution options. Due to the complexity and impact of the policy the Council believes this is only fair.
It is essential for the equitable and fair distribution of rates that developers and new-home builders bear a fair portion of the extra cost that population growth creates on infrastructure such as water and roading. The alternative is that the existing ratepayers have to pay for the cost of growth.
“Growth is an important driver of our budget and it is only fair that those who benefit contribute proportionally, therefore lessening the impact on the general ratepayer,” says Mayor Richard Kempthorne.
In the year to June 2011, Tasman District’s population was the fastest-growing of 16 regional areas in New Zealand, and we have to cater for that growth. The cost of infrastructure growth is calculated in the 10-year Long Term Plan. That figure is divided by the number of developments predicted to occur over 20 years, each developer then pays a share.
Development Contributions (DCs) are payable when a subdivision Resource Consent, a Building Consent or permission to connect to services is granted, with a credit for any charges paid already.
Late paying has become a problem – so under the new policy, interest will be charged on any outstanding DCs after 30 days, and a Statutory Land Charge may apply after 60 days.
The new policy means some section-buyers will actually pay less in Development Contributions, and some may not be applicable where access to infrastructure such as wastewater or stormwater facilities are not available. Ask Council staff for details.
As development can be a staged process, sometimes over a number of years, the cost of infrastructure can increase significantly. To account for these increases “top ups” are sometimes charged on the original DC payments. Potential buyers of undeveloped sections are advised to obtain a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from Council which will identify if any further charges are owed.
Anybody contemplating buying a section should always investigate whether or not any charges are owing before signing any agreements.
As the current Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy expired on 30 June 2012, a review of the document has started and a proposed Regional Pest Management Strategy has been prepared for public submission. It will be open for submission until 31 July 2012.
What is the Regional Pest Mangement Strategy?
The purpose of the Regional Pest Management Strategy is to provide a framework for efficient and effective pest management in the Tasman-Nelson region so as to (a) minimise actual and potential unintended effects associated with introduced plants and animals in the Tasman-Nelson region that are considered undesirable – ‘Pests’ and (b) maximise the effectiveness of individual pest management action by way of a regionally co-ordinated response.
Biosecurity Act Changes
The Biosecurity Act 1993 has been reviewed and the amended legislation is due for introduction into Parliament for its third and final reading later this year. It will require some significant changes to regional pest management strategies. As a consequence, there have been minimal changes made to the existing strategy. The intention is to commence a major review of the strategy in 2013 and introduce a new strategy by 2015.
Summary of Proposed Changes
The significant proposed changes to the existing strategy are:
- The introduction of European Canker as a Boundary Control Pest;
- The introduction of Climbing Asparagus as a Progressive Control Pest in eastern Golden Bay;
- A new section on the Biological Control Programme;
- A new section on Marine Biosecurity;
- Changes to the rule requiring occupiers to control Argentine and Darwin’s Ants.
The maps showing the current distribution of Total Control Pests, Progressive Control Pests and Containment Pests have also been updated.
The new Proposed Regional Pest Management Strategy can be downloaded from the Council website at www.tasman.govt.nz/link/draft-rpms.
The proposed strategy may also be inspected at any of the following locations whenever these places are open to the public:
- All Tasman District Council offices and libraries, and
- The Nelson City Council office and libraries,
It is also available as a free CD on request from any of these locations. Copies of the document can be purchased for $25.
Submissions close at 12 noon on 31 July 2012. The provisions of the existing strategy will continue to apply until the review process is completed.
Submissions should clearly state:
- the aspects of the proposed strategy that are supported and the reasons for this
- the aspects that are opposed and the reasons for this, and
- any alternatives that are recommended.
Submissions may be posted to:Proposed Regional Pest Management Strategy, Tasman District Council, Private Bag 4, Richmond, Nelson 7050
Tasman District’s newest public artwork, the Kaka Beak sculpture in Motueka, has also become a memorial to local artist Bruce Mitchell, who died before it was completed.
The work was unveiled recently on the corner of Wallace and High Street, with a blessing by Archdeacon Andy Joseph, the Council Kaumatua. The Takaka marble sculpture is a stylised salute to our native parrot, which was once abundant in the region and can still be seen in the Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes National Parks. The work includes seating within the opening of the upper and lower ‘beaks’.
The Council commissioned Bruce to create the sculpture in September 2009, and he was one of the few artists who work with the very hard marble that was chosen for the project. After he died in 2010, his whanau asked for the work to be sited in Motueka. The Council agreed and commissioned Matamata artist Glen Davis to complete the sculpture.
The Kaka Beak site looks up at Takaka Hill, the site of Bruce’s home and which still has resident kaka. The sculpture is his only public work in his home community, and will become part of the identity of Motueka for generations to come.
The region’s sewage treatment plant at Bells Island has scored a big tick for energy efficiency. The site “would fit into the top 1% of energy audits we have done for operating efficiency,” says utility consultant firm Enercon.
The audit was carried out to find ways to improve energy efficiency at the plant and optimise performance of the wastewater treatment process.
“Overall, the plant is operating very energy efficiently, with many energy conserving features and practices already in place,” Enercon says.
The sewerage plant is administered by the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit, which is a joint committee of Tasman District and Nelson City Councils. It is operated by contractor CPG.
Committee member and Tasman Councillor Glenys Glover says the audit was an “excellent result that just shows the board and the business unit are working well”. The inspection raised a couple of issues to look at, she adds, but as always, any potential savings have to be weighed against the capital cost of achieving them.