Newsline 291 - 1 February 2013

Friday 1 February 2013

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Have You Seen the Great White Butterfly?  

caterpillarsTasman residents are being asked to look for Great White Butterfly caterpillars and eggs in their gardens to support a multi-agency attempt to clear New Zealand of the major pest. The butterfly has recently been found in Richmond.

The Great White Butterfly’s caterpillars and eggs are mostly found in clusters on plants they favour, particularly nasturtiums, honesty and brassica vegetables, including broccoli and cabbage.

The caterpillars are speckled black and greyish-green with three yellow lines along their bodies and grow up to 50 mm long. The butterfly’s tiny yellow eggs are found in clusters of 30 to100.

Please report any finds of Great White Butterfly caterpillars and eggs to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) hotline 0800 80 99 66.

The Great White Butterfly is a threat to commercial and home brassica vegetable crops, and to endangered native cresses. Its caterpillars feed voraciously on host plants, reducing them to a skeleton.

The butterfly species has been spreading since it was first found in a Nelson garden in 2010.

EggsTasman District Council is supporting a Department of Conservation-led attempt to eradicate the pest butterfly by providing Geographic Information System (GIS) expertise, along with help from Nelson City Council, MPI and Vegetables New Zealand. The eradication work is being carried out by a team from Entecol Ltd led by Nelson ecologist, Richard Toft, under contract to DOC.

The field team extended its searches of gardens for the pest butterfly to Richmond after the first reports of finding came in at the start of January 2013.

DOC Motueka Area Manager, Martin Rodd, says the high level of support being received from Tasman residents for the Great White Butterfly programme is very much appreciated. It includes reporting suspected finds of the pest and support for removing and managing infestations on properties.

Eradication involves physical removal of caterpillars and eggs and, as necessary, applying an organic insecticide to host plants.

Please support this search and eradication programme to stop the Great White Butterfly becoming a serious pest in New Zealand. The best chance for eradicating it is while it is still within a relatively limited area.

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Message from the Mayor  

In the past we have talked about the resilience of our communities in relation to the impact of the natural disasters that we have experienced in the last few years. This year I thought we were going to get a year off – then there was a bout of heavy showers that threatened, but luckily left as quick as they came.

Last Tuesday it was Moutere’s turn to feel the brunt of a local disaster. The fire that effectively destroyed the function room in the busy Community Centre has hit the heart of the community. Not only is it home to the many activities that bring the Moutere residents together to form the fabric of the village, the Centre is a showcase venue for other events that bring people to the ‘hills’ and the surrounding valleys.

It was easy to see the devastation physically and emotionally when I arrived that day. The wreckage of a community asset and the cruel blow to people’s plans were immediately apparent – however,  so was the industry of those close to the Centre. Yes, there was an element of grief regarding the damage, but that soon passed. The most important job at hand was making arrangements to keep the bookings alive, to find alternative venues and ensure as few plans as possible were disrupted. All done surrounded by the smell of burnt building; this is resilience.

We will work with the management committee to help in the immediate aftermath, and work through the restoration process as soon as possible. In the meantime, Moutere Hills is pulling together to keep the fabric of their community spirit alive.

Your ongoing support is needed too – go to the events, offer assistance if you can. This is what Tasman is all about.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Fresh Air for Sarau  

"The popular Sarau Festival will still be held at the Moutere Hills Community Centre," says facility manager, Katrina McLean, "but with ‘a bit more fresh air."

Instead of being indoors, event facilities will be brought on site and the festival will run on the fields on Sunday 3 February.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to get together.”

“It’s a very resilient community, and they’ve been so positive about moving forward and trying to get operational again. The planning team have been amazing,” Katrina said.

Other functions and events have been accommodated with assistance from local organisations and businesses. The majority of the Centre’s other programmes will remain on-site or within Moutere at other venues such as the Lutheran Church Hall and the school hall.

“Other venues have been fantastic in helping us re-house a lot of events,” she said.

Full details of coming events – and a regular newsletter – are available on www.mouterehills.org.nz.

The Council is working closely with the Community Centre committee with regard to the insurance and re-housing of material in the short term. Any decisions regarding the restoration or rebuilding of the damaged complex is currently in the hands of the insurers and their assessors. The outcome and future steps will be discussed at the Community Services Committee on 7 February 2013.

However, whatever the outcome, it is likely that the future of the centre will be managed by a working group made up of representatives from the Management Committee and Council, said Community Services Chair, Councillor Judene Edgar.

“Experience shows us the best decisions tend to be made when all the stakeholders are around the same table. The future of the Community Centre would be an ideal opportunity to further that experience.”

As information comes to hand regarding the Centre’s future, it will be relayed through Newsline and the Moutere Hills newsletter.

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Richmond – Density: Let’s Discuss  

The Council is about to begin a discussion with Richmond residents about the need to develop a vision for the growth and development of Richmond that includes opportunities for higher density development. The primary focus is to answer the questions, “Where and how should higher density residential development be managed in Richmond and what is the role of the Council?”

This discussion is one of a series about the opportunities for Richmond’s future that will be had. Residential development is but one piece of a redevelopment. For such redevelopment to be successful it must be supported or guided by related changes in other areas of the urban environment which could include the revitalisation of retail and business areas and the related amenities. These discussions will be occurring over the next year.

There are good reasons for Council to consider higher density development in Richmond into the future. Based on population growth estimations, demand for residential land in Richmond will continue over the next 20 years, and this growth must be accommodated.

Greenfields, redevelopment and infill development scenarios have been considered across the whole of the Richmond urban residential area.

While current market demand for higher density development is limited, demographic trends towards an aging population and reduced household size are likely to result in an increase in demand for smaller properties. Demand for low-maintenance properties in proximity to key services is likely to increase over the next 20 years, also the result of the aging population.

Providing for lifestyle and housing diversity is another driver for providing higher density development, alongside more conventional and lower density residential choices being 3- or 4-bedroom dwellings on allotments around 600m2 of land or greater.

From a planning perspective, higher density development also reduces demand for greenfields urban expansion. More efficient use of land, concentrated service infrastructure, amenities and services provision, and reduced transportation costs (travel distances) are recognised benefits of denser development.

To create an environment where these advantages can be realised, Council has considered 13 criteria relevant to understanding suitable locations for higher density development, including ‘proximity to the Central Business District’, ‘economic redevelopment potential’, ‘formal amenity’, ‘original development age’, and ‘topographic flatness’.

In addition to location suitability, seven forms or types of higher density have been considered, namely mixed use, apartments/multi-storey, terrace/town house, duplex or semi-attached houses, small detached houses, detached subsidiary dwelling, and multiple household unit. Likely demand for each form was also considered based on current patterns of market activity.

By combining the assessment of development form with an assessment of location suitability, the opportunities for higher density development was determined. All locations within Richmond have the potential to absorb some form of denser development appropriate to the character and amenity of the neighbourhood with some locations more appropriate than others.

As there is a limited range of dense development forms enabled through development controls currently, the Council may need to consider adopting new methods for encouraging higher density development.

At present, Council’s planning rules require new and innovative approaches to more compact housing to be viewed as discretionary or non-complying activities, each bringing their own sets of challenges.

Non-regulatory methods, which work with economic principles of land demand and supply, can encourage the market to provide higher density development in chosen locations. Demand may be enhanced within preferred higher density locations through Council investment in supporting infrastructure, services, public open space, amenity values (including ‘greenness’) facilities, transportation networks and other facilities.

Constraints on greenfields land supply will also encourage the market to make more efficient use of the current land supply and re-develop existing property. However, land supply constraints would also elevate property prices across the property market, contributing to a lack of affordability.

Further investigations into other methods for achieving higher density development will be made throughout the discussion process.

This is an opportunity to have a say, learn more about what makes up future planning and/or join a community discussion about the future development of your town.

There will be discussion pieces to promote feedback, online forums, talks and other opportunities to explore the changing expectations of how we live in an urban environment.

The Council will be coming out shortly with a programme of events focused on starting a discussion about the future planning for Richmond. This is not a short-term process – it is the start of long view to the future.

For further information contact  Sonya Leusink-Sladen. Phone 03 543 8400.

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Algae Testing to Safeguard River Users   

Tasman District Council plans to extend its monitoring for toxic algae from the five sites presently tested on the Waimea, Lee and Motueka Rivers.

The cyanobacteria, which can be fatal to dogs if consumed, reached high levels over a dry November-December 2012. However, heavy rain on Tuesday 15 January 2013 flushed out the waterways, making them safe unless there is another prolonged dry spell.

"Dogs and toddlers are the most likely to consume this material directly and so are most at risk. The best way for dog owners and parents/guardians to reduce the risk is to learn to recognise the toxic algae and avoid when it covers about 20% or more of the river-bed or when there are a lot of floating mats," says Tasman District Council resource scientist, Trevor James.

“Avoid contact when it is present at a coverage of greater than 20% or the mats are detaching and floating on the water surface. The algae that is of most concern is relatively distinctive, forming mats (not filaments) that are soft, dark-coloured (black, dark green or dark brown), sometimes thick (over 5mm) and somewhat gelatinous."

“The Council places warning signs at the most popular sites where the risk of contact with the algae growths is known to be greatest.”

Trevor urges people to contact the Council about suspect sites.  "The information will be crucial in determining new locations for testing," he says.

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World Wetlands Day 2013  

Global signatories to the Ramsar Wetland Convention celebrate ‘World Wetlands Day’ each year at the start of February – and this year’s event takes place on the 6 February 2013. New Zealand is one of over 100 countries that have signed the Convention, which means we have got a responsibility to support the ‘wise use of wetlands’ as well as conserve their structural and biological diversity.

As part of this annual celebration, Fish & Game New Zealand in the Nelson Marlborough Region would like to remind all Tasman landowners of the freshwater biodiversity advice service it has available in the region. Freshwater biodiversity advice can include assistance  on developing or enhancing wetlands, managing stream crossings without affecting fish passage, or enhancing your local stream. Fish & Game would therefore like to hear from any landowners who have an interest in improved stream-bank management and water quality, maintaining or improving fish passage through culverts or fords and, in particular, the creation or enhancement of any wetlands. Water is rapidly becoming the ‘new gold’ in New Zealand, and it is important we all manage it wisely – re-integrating wetlands into the landscape can contribute towards this wise future management.

The service is provided free of charge and can include an onsite visit, provision of information and advice on the practicalities of any projects, assessment of other opportunities, and potential funding contributors for some projects. Any interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local Fish & Game office and speak to Field Officer, Rhys Barrier, in Richmond on Ph. 03 5446382, or Email him at rbarrier@fishandgame.org.nz.

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Navigation Safety  

“On the whole, the navigation safety team has been very impressed with the seamanship and consideration for others shown by most boaties this summer,” said Steve Hainstock, Tasman’s Harbourmaster.

Although no licence is required to operate a recreational boat in New Zealand, all skippers are responsible under law for the safety of their vessel and crew and part of that is knowing the rules that apply. Brochures summarising the rules and giving local advice are available from any Council office and most boat ramps, or visit the boating and fishing pages at www.tasman.govt.nz.

Despite a national TV campaign many boaties still don’t appear to be getting the message about carrying a lifejacket at all times. Half of the boating fatalities in New Zealand in the first ten months of 2012 would probably have survived if they had been wearing their lifejacket.

The ability to call for help is also very important, so remember to always carry two waterproof means of communication. A GPS-equipped personal locator beacon or EPIRB and a waterproof VHF radio are the best, but flares and even your cellphone in a sealed bag in your pocket may be the difference.

Enjoy the rest of the summer boating conditions, warm water and long days, and take care out there.

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Kitchen Table and Butterflies at Murchison Area School  

An unusual garden at Murchison Area School that nurtures butterflies and vegetables is the winner of the Tasman District Council Eco-Champion Award 2012.

In 2011 the school started a Horticulture option with Year 9 and 10 students. The course had previously been available, but run through correspondence and didn’t involve any actual gardening.

The current option is run by local man, Chris Parkinson, who adopted a space within the school’s grounds that was previously a butterfly garden. His brief was to create a course for the students that incorporated both butterflies and vegetables. The students researched companion gardening, gardening methods, soils and fertilisers. Over the two years that the garden has run, they have experimented with many different planting and fertilising combinations.

The garden is currently growing a mix of flowers and veggies, so the kitchen table benefits along with the butterflies.

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100 days Before We Are Fully Digital  

There is just over two months to go until Tasman goes digital on 28 April 2013.

Over the last 18 months, Going Digital has been working across the region to make sure everyone knows what they have to do to be able to keep watching TV after 28 April this year.

The latest figures show that nearly nine out of 10 households in Tasman have gone digital, but the rest will be without TV if they do not take action soon.

You do not need a new TV to go digital but many people will need new equipment such as a set-top box, UHF aerial or satellite dish.

There is assistance available to those people most likely to face the greatest technical and financial barriers when making the switch. Those eligible for assistance should have received a letter from Going Digital.

Time is fast running out for people in Tasman who still need to go digital. If you have any questions go to www.goingdigital.co.nz.

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Schools Are Back – Please Stay Alert and Help Keep Everyone Safe  

The new school year gets under way this week and children are particularly vulnerable as they travel to and from school on foot, and on bikes or scooters.

Many may be starting school for the first time and children are easily distracted by friends, surroundings and may not appreciate the dangers and risks.

Whether you are a driver, caregiver or student – please follow these simple rules and help keep everyone safe on our roads and crossings this school term:

20 km/h past a stationary school bus

Remember – the speed limit for passing a stationary school bus when children are getting on and off is 20 km per hour. This speed limit applies no matter which direction you are travelling in.

Drivers – school bus incidents can happen on both high and low-speed roads. However, the faster your vehicle is travelling, the more likely it is that a child will be killed if they are hit. 75% of fatalities around New Zealand from school bus incidents occur on roads with a 100km/h speed limit. If cars were to keep to the 20 km/h speed limit there would be fewer incidents, fewer injuries and fewer deaths.

Parents – when dropping off or collecting your child from the school bus, try to do it so that you are on the same side as the bus. This will cut out the need for your child to cross the road. Park your car well away from the bus stop or other children so you don’t block drivers, children’s or the bus driver’s visibility. Get out of your car and meet your child or walk with them to the designated bus stop.

Students – wait at the nominated bus stop area and stand well back from the road edge. Bus stops have usually been chosen as a safer place to stop. After you have got off the bus, wait as far away from the road edge as possible, until the bus has moved away. If you need to cross the road, wait until the bus has driven off and you can see clearly up and down the road.

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Get on Your Bike and Have Some Fun  

Encouraging everyone, young and old, to get on their bikes this February and March are the Bike Wise and Get Moving Family Fun Rides. There are two taking place around Tasman so dust off your bike, blow up the tyres, put your helmet on and come out and enjoy yourself.

Motueka – Sunday 17 February 2013

Starts at the Skate Park on Old Wharf Road at 1.00 pm. The ride is a totally free event.

Richmond – Sunday 3 March 2013

There are two start locations to accommodate different ages and skill levels but both routes finish at the Old Domain Picnic Area on Rabbit Island.

Start location 1 – Lower Queen Street at 1.00 pm

This is suitable for most ages, skills and fitness levels (6.5km). Look for signs 500m from Lansdowne Road corner. Off-street parking available.

Start location 2 – ASB Aquatic Centre at 1.00 pm

This is suitable for more experienced cyclists with moderate fitness (15km).

Both routes will take cyclists over the new Waimea River cycle bridge on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail to the finish location at the Old Domain Picnic Area on Rabbit Island. There will be Children’s Day celebrations from  2.00 pm – 5.00 pm at the Old Domain Picnic Area.

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Motorbike Training and Up-skilling Courses for 2013  

Dates for 2013 are as below, and to attend a course or for further information check out www.ridetolive.co.nz , complete the online form, or contact Krista at Tasman District Council phone 03 543 8551.

Courses cost just $20.

  • Saturday 2 March 2013 – progressive course
  • Saturday 9 March 2013 – scooter course
  • Sunday 17 March 2013 – advanced course
  • Saturday 23 March 2013 – progressive course
  • Saturday 6 April 2013 – advanced course
  • Saturday 27 April 2013 – scooter course