Newsline 301 - 21 June 2013

Friday 21 June 2013

Read articles from the latest edition of Newsline, including:    

You can also download: Newsline 301 - 21 June 2013

Local Alcohol Policy Survey    

A phenomenal return rate is reported for those people recently surveyed on their attitudes to the sale of alcohol in Tasman District. The survey was run by the Council’s Environmental Health team as part of the research being done in preparation for Tasman District Council’s Local Alcohol Policy (LAP). The ability for residents to influence the way councils are obliged to license the people that sell alcohol in the District has been offered in what is “a once in a generation opportunity”, says Environmental Health Co-ordinator, Graham Caradus.

“It was a chance we had to grasp with both hands, and putting some effort into the survey has resulted in data that will be incredibly useful when the fine detail has to be debated by the Council. We are grateful to the selected residents that took the time to complete and return the surveys.”

The survey was developed jointly by staff of the three top-of-the-south councils, and altered only to reflect location names within the different council areas. The same survey will be used prior to each six-yearly review of the LAP.

The original number of people surveyed was extended after an initial poor return rate for surveys. The survey was sent to 813 randomly selected people from the total of 35,000 on the Tasman District electoral roll. The return rate of 62% is about twice what would normally be expected in such surveys.

The detail of what those surveyed want for our licensed premises will be first released to Councillors at a workshop near the end of this month. Some of the interesting data collected for Tasman District is:

  • 9.5% of respondents never drink alcohol;
  • 23.5% of respondents drink alcohol once a month or less
  • 22.3% of respondents drink alcohol usually once a week
  • 24.1% of respondents drink alcohol up to three times a week
  • 20.7% of respondents drink alcohol more than four times a week
  • Most respondents drank at home or a friend’s place and alcohol was more likely to be consumed in a restaurant or café than a tavern or bar
  • 66% of the respondents that drink alcohol have one or two drinks on each drinking occasion
  • 26% of the respondents that drink alcohol have three or four drinks on each drinking occasion
  • 2.5% of the respondents that drink alcohol, drink at a level that will produce adverse long term health effects on each drinking occasion.

During the planned workshop with Councillors, the data collected by the survey, plus other data that has been obtained from other stakeholders including the liquor industry, will be considered. A Draft Local Alcohol Policy will then be produced, and that is planned to be available for public comment from mid-July, until the end of August.

Back to Top

Message from the Mayor    

When you receive this Newsline, the 2013/14 Annual Plan will be a week away from being adopted. Councillors and myself are also considering a number of significant changes to the Tasman Resource Management Plan currently out for consultation.

As well as the two private Plan change requests for Foodstuffs South Island and Network Tasman, the Council is looking at the possible change of zoning in Motueka West and Motueka Central and the proposed Plan change for the management of water in the Waimea Plains.

The last of these proposed Plan changes has been the focus of a number of discussions, in fact 10 years worth of discussion, the latest of which are becoming overshadowed by the Lee Valley dam proposal. The dam and proposed Plan change are two separate processes. As a result it is very easy to forget the genesis of both. As the District dusted itself off from the impact of the 2001 drought two things happened. The first was a representative group was formed to identify how we could avoid the impact of droughts in the future. The second was the proposed review of the water management plan being put on hold with interim measures put in place.

With the work that has occurred over the last decade, the two are now being presented to the community. The proposed Plan changes to water management in the Waimea basin must give clear resource management provisions either with or without a dam. This, however, should not be seen as a support piece for the dam. With a newly imposed National Policy Statement regarding the need to safeguard environmental values within the river and the need for a secure water supply, the dam provides an option to the imposition of potentially economic damaging cuts to water supply.

The first issue at hand is the proposed Plan change for which submissions close on 24 June 2013. We need to discuss the allocation and management of water and the dam is a consideration, however we will be discussing the dam’s governance and funding later in the year as a separate item. The management regime, either with or without a dam, is the pressing issue right now.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

Back to Top

Gordon Curnow Retiring After 50 Years Service    

On 14 June 2013, one of the Council’s long-serving staff members retired. Gordon Curnow had worked in the Hydrology section of Council since it was formed in 1992. However, he started with the Catchment Board driving tractors in the river works gang in 1963, fresh out of school. The Catchment Board later became the Regional Council, and this was merged into the Tasman District Council, which effectively gives him a nearly unbroken service over the 50 year period.

Gordon became the foreman of the Richmond works gang in 1972, and was asked to help out from time to time changing water level charts for early groundwater studies. It was from this role Gordon joined the Hydrology team.

During this early period Gordon worked on studies which mapped the underground aquifers of the Waimea Plains which have subsequently become the lifeblood of the Richmond area. Other work looked at the feasibility of a dam on the Wairoa River (not built), and the Waimea East Irrigation Scheme, which was built. The focus then shifted to the deep underground aquifers of the Moutere region, and also to the limestone aquifers of the Takaka valley.

While Gordon was something of a groundwater specialist, he spent an equal amount of time measuring rainfall and river flows, and has spent many a late night providing flood warnings to people across our District.

Over Gordon’s working career he experienced major droughts in 1973, 1981, 1992 and 2001. These were busy times requiring long periods measuring river flows to enable Council to manage the available water. He also experienced the 1983 Motueka/Takaka flood, the 1986 Wairoa flood, and the major floods of 2010 (Aorere) and 2011 (Takaka/Richmond).

We’re sure that retirement won’t be the last we see of Gordon, as he has always served the community in other ways. The Badminton Association, Lions, Scouts, and school Board of Trustees have all benefited from Gordon’s time and energy.

Gordon leaves Council having given 50 years of valuable service and has made a tremendous contribution to the economic success of this District.

Back to Top

Tasman District Council Community Grants    

Each year the Tasman District Council allocates grants to organisations to run activities in line with the Council’s community outcomes. Those organisations whose services and projects provide community-wide benefits are able to apply.

The Council’s funding assistance allows communities to meet their needs in a cost-effective manner by supporting volunteers and community groups. The grant acknowledges they can often provide good quality projects and services at a significantly lower cost through the contribution of voluntary labour than would be possible for the Council or commercial operators.

Of the grants available; $20,000 is set aside for community and economic development initiatives; $40,000 for arts, culture and heritage; $30,000 for festivals and events; $25,000 for youth/children programmes; $21,000 for social services; $10,000 for community development projects in smaller communities (less than 4000 population); $10,000 for beautification schemes such as plantings, landscaping and artworks in public places; $15,000 for emergency services and $3000 for community newsletters.

As a guide, allocations average around $2000 per applicant. Applications must be received by end of the day 31 August 2013 with the successful applications announced in mid-October.

Application forms are available from Council offices and Libraries in Richmond, Motueka, Golden Bay and Murchison as well as via  www.tasman.govt.nz or contact Tasman District Council Community and Recreation for further information on Ph. 03 543 8400.

Back to Top

Care for Stopbanks    

Stopbanks, or floodbanks are designed to contain flood flows to a specific event level – in our District this is typically a 1:50 year return period flood. Stopbanks are a key river asset and need to be maintained in peak condition as it is never known when they will be needed. A stopbank is only as strong as its weakest section so it’s important that a consistent level of service is applied across all lengths of Council-maintained stopbanks.

There are many stopbanks around the District, only some of which are maintained by the Council. The Council-maintained banks are mostly located on the Waimea, Lower Motueka, Brooklyn and Riwaka River areas.

Maintenance activities include mowing, weed control and access improvements to ensure a healthy grass sward to resist scour during flood events. We need to maintain all banks the Council is responsible for to a high standard.

Stock pressure, particularly during the wetter months of the year is one concern. Structures on or within the banks, including fence and gate arrangements that hinder access and maintenance activities, are also an issue. We want to encourage ‘tidy housekeeping’ of the land adjoining the banks.

We plan to contact individual landowners or lessees who have use of Council stopbanks over the next 12 months, to discuss specific improvements. We will also develop a brochure that will set out the do’s and don’ts for stopbank care and the expectation on the Council and landowners/lessees.

The next round of Rivercare meetings will be held the week beginning 15 July. This round of meetings will start in Collingwood and work back to Tapawera with meetings in Takaka, Motueka and Dovedale. Look in the next Newsline and on the Council website in July for further details.

For more information please contact Rivers & Coastal Engineer Giles Griffith on Ph. 03 543 8400.

Back to Top

Nelson Tasman Youth Volunteer Awards    

On the evening of Tuesday 18 June, the 2013 Nelson Tasman Youth Volunteer Awards were celebrated with nearly 100 people gathered in Nelson City Council Chambers to pay tribute to the region’s young leaders and their contribution to our community well-being and vibrancy.

A special acknowledgment goes out to Anika Stephenson, Gina Udel and Katie Talbot – deserving recipients of special awards for voluntary services in the Tasman District. More details will follow in the next Newsline.

Back to Top

Wood Burner Use in Richmond –  There is Still Room for Improvement    

The monitoring of wood burner use at properties in the Richmond Air Shed has begun. Council staff are identifying the use of ‘non-compliant’ wood burners and excessively smokey discharges from chimneys in breach of Council’s rules. While staff have been pleased to see that many people are operating their wood burner correctly, there are still quite a few burners belching out the smoke. As advised previously in Newsline, Council staff will be in contact with people operating smokey burners and will work with them to try and identify the cause for all the smoke. Where an excessive smoke discharge becomes an ongoing issue, the Council will look to take formal enforcement action against the property owners or occupants.

The levels of smoke in the air tend to increase markedly from approximately 10.00 pm, until the early hours of the next morning. This peak in smoke levels seems to generally coincide with the time that many people head off to bed – and are likely to ‘damp down’ their burner (i.e. shut down the air control to lessen the rate of burning) so that the fire stays ‘in’ overnight. Only older model wood burners (generally those pre-dating September 2005) have the ability to be damped down a lot. Damping down your burner reduces the air supply to the fire - causing it to smoke a lot more. We acknowledge the convenience of not having to re-light the fire each morning, however, we do not accept such practices at the expense of our air quality. While some properties are allowed to continue to use these older model burners that can be damped down, they are not exempt from the rule that requires a burner to be operated in such a manner so as not to cause an excessive smoke discharge. Remember too, that a damped down fire is not heating your home. Having a well insulated house will be much more effective and help you maintain a warm and dry house overnight.

Already this year there has been one exceedence of the air quality standard. This standard was set to protect people’s health and well-being – and we still have the worst of winter to go. The air quality standards require that the number of exceedences is reduced to no more than three per annum by 2016. All the owners and occupiers of properties with a wood burner have a part to play in making sure that this target is met. The Council may have to re-visit its approach to wood burner use if the target cannot be met under the existing rules.

Back to Top

Great White Butterfly Eradication Campaign Update    

The Great White Butterfly arrived in Nelson in May 2010 and has not been found anywhere else in New Zealand. The butterfly has the potential to damage vegetables (brassicas such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli), as well as a number of rare native brassicas, and has been found feeding on Nasturtium and Honesty. There is a major multi-agency campaign underway to eradicate the butterfly.

The Battle Continues

Autumn is the peak time for Great White Butterfly breeding activity, with most being found within 6km of Port Nelson. Over 20,000 properties have been checked with only 181 positive finds, mostly around Tahunanui.

The last find in Richmond was on 11 April 2013 and a search of a 200m zone around that property failed to find any more. Several teams were put into southern Richmond (near previous sites) and Brightwater to check the southern extent of the butterfly. After searching through more than 1,300 properties, they found no evidence of the butterfly. To check the northern extent, searches were done in The Glen and two clusters were found close to the previous site.

Testing of new traps

A new trap system for detecting the presence of the Great White Butterfly is being evaluated. The simple white sticky trap has a packet of an artificial floral odour in the middle. A hundred of these traps have been set around the Nelson infestation area and are being monitored at weekly intervals. So far, the traps have mostly collected small white butterflies. However, there are some good ideas about improving the traps, with work being done on the attractant odours, on different colours and on UV reflectance.

Another parasite has joined the battle

A small wasp (Cotesia glomerata), which was originally introduced as a parasite for the common white butterfly, has been effective in limiting the number of Great White Butterfly caterpillars that mature into butterflies. Recently, a field team noted that a sample of Great White Butterfly pupae was suddenly crawling with dozens of tiny insects that had hatched from eggs laid by another tiny wasp (Pteromalus puparum). This wasp attacks the butterfly at a different life stage than the Cotesia wasp.

Outlook for Winter

Great White Butterfly activity will drop off over winter. Some younger caterpillars may continue to grow slowly over the winter months and there may be the odd butterfly seen on a sunny day.

Back to Top

Tasman Adopts Rates Remission Policy    

The Tasman District Council has adopted a Rates Remission Policy to come into effect before 1 July this year to allow affected ratepayers to be able to apply for a remission in the current year.

The policy will enable residential landowners that have had the value of their land increased due to Council initiated rezoning to have any resultant increase in rates remitted until the land is sold or its purpose changed from its role as the principal place of residence.

Driven by the rezoning of land in Richmond West, two policy options came out of the meetings with the residents directly affected by an increase in rates reflecting the new commercial value of their properties.

Tasman residents were given the choice of Rates Remission or Postponement policies through the Annual Plan process. The majority of the submissions received supported the Remission option.

The new policy will have a number of criteria to ensure it benefits those in need while limiting the impact on other Tasman ratepayers. It will be applied at the discretion of the Council, will apply to properties that have had continuous ownership pre and post the zoning change and only apply to rezoning decisions made after 2007.

Applications for the current rating year (2012-2013) will be accepted up until 30 August 2013. For further information, go to the Council website www.tasman.govt.nz

Back to Top

Winter Restrictions on Outdoor Burning    

The Council would like to remind residents that from June to August (inclusive) outdoor burning is not allowed on properties that are located within a ‘Fire Sensitive Area’. Numerous Fire Sensitive Areas have been identified throughout the Tasman District and include the fringe area around Richmond and Motueka, and all the townships and residential areas across the District.

Outdoor burning in these areas over winter is not allowed because in winter the cooler atmosphere, especially in frosty conditions, often means that smoke does not readily disperse, and instead can build up relatively close to the ground. This smoke is both bad for people’s health as well as creating significant nuisances for neighbours.

In other areas, the Council would like to emphasise that only dry paper, cardboard and vegetation is allowed to be burned. The dew, frosts, rain and snow of winter do not afford good drying conditions for prunings and other vegetation normally allowed to be burned. Green (i.e. freshly cut) or wet vegetation creates a lot of smoke when burned. Suitably dry vegetation will create hardly any smoke. Make sure that your vegetation has been left to dry sufficiently before burning it – depending on the thickness of the vegetation, it may take several weeks, if not months, to dry enough.

Having a fire permit from the Rural Fire Authority to burn the vegetation does not exempt you from having to comply with the Council’s rules. If you burn green or wet vegetation, which has caused a smoke, odour or ash nuisance beyond the property boundary, you can expect to be told to put it out and you may also be subject to more formal enforcement action.

The Council encourages property owners to consider composting vegetation in preference to burning it. Composting turns an otherwise waste product into a resource - when worked into the ground, composted material can improve soil quality and provide nutrition for plants and bugs.

Contact the Council if you would like to know if your property is located in a Fire Sensitive Area – we will require the physical address, or certificate of title, or valuation number of the property.

Back to Top

Tasman Creative Communities Scheme Open    

Do you have a great community arts project that needs funding assistance to make it happen? The Tasman Creative Communities Scheme maybe just what you’re looking for. The next round closes on 10 July 2013 for projects starting after the 1 August 2013.

The Scheme will help with funding productions, concerts, festivals and workshops. Contributions can be made towards the following;

  • Materials for workshops, theatre productions or for visual arts projects,
  • Arts residency schemes involving local artists or communities, or
  • Promotion of arts projects, events or programmes.

Projects must meet one of the following criteria:

Broad Community Involvement – the project will create opportunities for local communities to engage with and participate in arts activities. Examples:

  • A programme of dance activities and workshops
  • An expo of local craft groups promoting weaving, pottery and carving
  • A programme of emerging contemporary visual artists

Diversity – the project will support the diverse arts and cultural traditions of local communities, enriching and promoting their uniqueness and cultural diversity. Examples:

  • A photographic exhibition by a group of recent migrants that communicates their experiences
  • A songwriting workshop for a group with experience of disability
  • A wananga series on Maori weaving

Young People – the project will enable and encourage young people under the age of 18 years to engage with and actively participate in the arts. Examples: 

  • Support for a magazine that presents creative writing by young people
  • Support for the recording of a compilation CD by young musicians in local bands
  • A collaborative event featuring performances and workshops in dance and music

Average allocations are $1,000.

Back to Top