Newsline 302 - 5 July 2013

Friday 5 July 2013

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Annual Plan Adopted by Council      

The Council has adopted this year’s Annual Plan. Setting the work programme and budgets is perhaps the most important process the Council manages. This Annual Plan outlines the work that the Council will undertake in the coming year on behalf of the District’s residents as well as the costs. The Plan explains what the Council intends to do over the next year with the rates residents are asked to contribute.

This Plan contains the lowest overall rates increase required by the Council for many years. The General Rate increase, after allowing for growth, is 1.38% and the total rates increase, including targeted rates, for most properties will be between 1.59% and 2.38%.

To achieve this result the Council has placed importance on providing services as efficiently as possible and also reviewed and identified ways to streamline our activities.

For some activities the level of service has been reduced such as in the areas of community recreation, environmental education and car park surfacing. A number of projects have been reviewed and by focusing on new ways of achieving our goals, different ways of delivering those services at a lower cost have been identified. There is a greater focus on shared services with councils throughout the country, especially our immediate neighbours. The Council currently has around 100 collaborative arrangements with other councils and is continuing to look for more shared service opportunities. The aim is to meet local needs while benefiting from the sharing of resources, costs and expertise.

Over the next year there are a number of key projects including;

  • Richmond Water Treatment Plant – work is planned to ensure we meet the additional demands of the Government’s higher drinking water quality standards.
  • Takaka Wastewater Treatment Plant – the essential upgrade will be undertaken this year.
  • Motueka Wastewater Treatment Plant – the resource consent for this upgrade will be applied for during the year.

These projects are an important commitment by the Council and the community to meet environmental standards for water supply and wastewater discharges.

How the Council deals with solid waste is one of its core roles. Gaining a greater level of efficiency through a proposed jointly managed landfill will also be explored in discussions with Nelson City Council.

Just before the submissions period for the Draft Annual Plan closed there was a major rain event in the District. Almost 100mm of rain fell in one hour in and around Richmond. There was flooding in a number of places around the District, with some of the worst hit properties located near Champion Road. In this Annual Plan the Council has agreed to bring forward $500,000 towards upgrading the stormwater services in this area and will be working with Nelson City Council on this project which impacts on both areas.

Our communities have a number of facilities that must be maintained and updated, especially in light of the recently identified earthquake strengthening needs. The full cost implications of seismic strengthening the Council’s facilities won’t be known until the structural surveys have been undertaken.

The fires earlier this year at the Moutere Hills Community Centre have been distressing for this community and the Council is working with the Centre’s Management Committee to make this important facility available again. The Council has agreed to provide $45,000 for a number of improvements to the Centre so that they can be undertaken at the same time as the repairs are completed.

A number of key community projects are underway including investigating the feasibility of a recreation centre in Golden Bay and ongoing development of Saxton Field. Another project in its investigation stage is the Motueka Library upgrade.

One of the challenges the Council faces in delivering services to the community is providing for population growth. The Tasman District is growing and whatever the reason, be it climate, lifestyle or economic growth, new infrastructure and additional services are needed. The Council is well aware rates cannot be increased without good reason, however, the growth Tasman is experiencing does have an impact on costs.

The Annual Plan process is an important opportunity for residents to participate in the decision-making process as we balance affordability with the need for projects and services. The Council received over 400 submissions to the Draft Annual Plan and although the Council was restricted in the level of funding it could provide for new projects, many of the submissions supported the proposed work programme. Many of those submissions resulted in changes to the Plan and influenced the Council’s decisions on the rates remissions and postponement policy proposals.

The new purpose statement for local government in the Local Government Act was also considered in the development of this Plan. The new purpose includes councils meeting the current and future needs of communities for good-quality infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses. The Council believes the provision of services and activities for Tasman’s residents meets the aims of the new purpose.

The Council will continue to review what services it delivers and how it delivers them and will maintain that focus over the 2013/2014 year. It was simply not possible for us to fund all of the requests for additional expenditure and services. We would like to thank all submitters who made submissions to the Plan and look forward to working with the community to deliver services over the next 12 months.

Rates Remission Policy

Council also appreciated the work that many submitters put into commenting on the proposed Rates Remissions and Rates Postponement Policies for Land Used for Residential Purposes Subject to Council Initiated Zone Changes. Following consideration of these submissions Council adopted a Rates Remissions Policy.

Those the Council are eligible in the coming year will be written to shortly advising them of the options available to them and how to apply. If other Tasman residents believe they are eligible for a Rates Remission due to a Council rezoning decision since 2007, they are welcome to enquire by ringing or writing to the Council.

The Policy, as well as application forms, on Rates Remission on Land Used for Residential Purposes Subject to Council Initiated Zone Changes can be found on the Council’s website www.tasman.govt.nz

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Message from the Mayor      

This is a very important issue of Newsline as it describes the decisions we as a Council have made regarding the Annual Plan for 2013/2014. We adopted the plan on 27 June with it coming into effect 1 July 2013.

The relatively small rise in rates, both targeted and general, is a reflection of this Council’s focus on delivering cost-effective and efficient services. This will remain the future key focus. Effectiveness and efficiency must be seen against the backdrop of growth and the maintenance of what we have currently – throw in significant adverse weather events and we are looking at very tight priority setting. We have had to sharpen our pencils and we believe we have done so whilst maintaining a balance of delivering what is necessary now and what we may require in the future.

As one of the fastest growing areas in the country, reflected with the Council processing double the number of consents for the same period last year with a substantial number of property sales, we have a responsibility to ensure the appropriate and necessary infrastructure is available. While the cost of development is provided through development contributions, the maintenance of what we already have with the increased asset base is a cost. However, this growth provides a wider reaching and more efficient infrastructure system benefitting those that live here already.

This is the last Newsline to be published by Dry Crust Communications. I would like to express my appreciation to them for the consistent effort they have made in assisting the Council to communicate regularly with you, our residents and ratepayers.

It is also the last Newsline to which I will be presenting the foreword due to the impending election and the Auditor – General’s recommendation for elected members to step back from such roles. As such I would like to thank the residents of Tasman for the support we as a Council have received over the last three years. Representing the wishes and aspirations of residents and ratepayers will always be a challenge, but it is a challenge I and my councillor colleagues take great pleasure in meeting. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their time, sense of purpose and desire to do what is right for the District. We have at least three more months of representative duties in the current term and I can assure you all we will remain focused for this time.

As October draws near I encourage you to find out about the candidates and cast your vote in this year’s local body elections.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Speed Limit Bylaw Review      

The Speed Limit Bylaw that provides the Council with the ability to set speed limits on roads it is responsible for, has been amended and adopted by the Council.

The Bylaw, which has to be reviewed every 10 years, is one of the opportunities for the community to contribute to any changes necessary in light of changing conditions, growth or driving patterns. Submissions closed on 25 March 2013 with hearings held mid-April. At the hearings, the panels heard 26 verbal submissions out of the total ninety received.

The outcome of the deliberations saw minor changes made with the panels electing to either slightly drop or maintain the speed limit for the majority of suggestions. There was a small number where the speed limit was increased, but by no more than 20kph.

The accepted speed limits will be publicly notified and will come into force 23 July 2013. The Police and New Zealand Transport Agency have been informed of the changes.

The changes, when made or otherwise have been made with the quality and location of the road, the surroundings such as schools or settlements and the level of traffic on the road itself much of which was described in the submissions received by the panel.

A number of areas that are currently in the throes of further development will be subject to reviews once the developments take further shape and the road useage is better able to be assessed.

The impending speed limit changes can be found on the Council website www.tasman.govt.nz

Residents are reminded they are able to discuss with the Council any concerns they have with posted speed limits on Tasman roads at any time.

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Takaka Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade      

The Takaka Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade has taken another step forward with the Government cementing its financial support of the work. The financial contribution coming from the Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme signals support for the upgrade where construction is planned to begin early 2014. The majority of the physical works, with new embankments and changes to the inlet and treatment system occurring at this time. Commissioning occurs over a number of years with the establishment of the wetland plants and then an improved quality discharge to the new Rapid Infiltration Basins.

The upgrade on the present site has been in the planning since 2006 and is designed to take account of increased capacity demand, improve the way the discharge of treated water is managed, improved flood protection and better management of odour.

Working with a local working group and with a number of open days, the upgrade requirements have been agreed and the plant upgrade is now entering into the detailed design stage (with the conditions of consent also now close to finalisation).

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Agrecovery Returns to Tasman      

Agrecovery is urging all farmers and growers in the Tasman region to take a look in their sheds and get rid of any unwanted or expired agrichemicals they have at its upcoming collection.

The booking deadline for those wanting to safely dispose of horticultural, agricultural and veterinary chemicals through Agrecovery is 9 August 2013.

In its last financial year, Agrecovery collected and safely disposed of more than 11,500kg hazardous agrichemicals through nine collections across the country (up 23 percent from the previous year) - chemicals that might have otherwise been left in sheds, posing an increasing safety risk, or contaminated land and waterways.

At the last collection held in Tasman and Nelson in May 2012 Agrecovery collected and safely disposed of over 1,300kg of agrichemicals, an increase from the 2011 collection which pulled in just over 800kg.

Anyone with unwanted agrichemicals can book them with Agrecovery at www.agrecovery.co.nz/chemicals or phone 0800 247 326 to request a booking form. Each booking is assessed for available funding and customers are advised of collection costs (if any) and given the option to accept or decline all or part of their collection, which occurs at a later date.

The Agrecovery Chemicals programme is easy to use, safe and fully compliant, offering a fully auditable record of disposal which farmers and growers can use for NZGAP and other quality assurance programmes. To learn more about Agrecovery and its other rural recycling programmes, visit www.agrecovery.co.nz.

Those with unwanted household or garden chemicals should contact Council, as these chemicals are not subsidised under the Agrecovery Chemicals programme.

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Awards Celebrate Local Youth      

The amazing contribution that our young people make to our community has been celebrated at the recent 2013 Nelson Tasman Youth Volunteer Awards.

The awards, celebrated during National Volunteer Week, recognise youth who volunteer their time and energy towards enhancing our community.

On Tuesday 18 June, around 100 people gathered at the Nelson City Council Chambers to pay tribute to these great young people and all the great things they do to make our communities vibrant and functioning.

A special acknowledgment goes out to Anika Stephenson, Gina Udel and Katie Talbot for their outstanding contribution to the community – deserving recipients of special awards for voluntary services in the Tasman District.

All four clusters of the Tasman Youth Council were nominated for their voluntary contributions to the community. The Tasman Youth Council voluntarily carry out projects and initiatives to make Tasman a better place for young people.

Ben Seelen, Alex Siale, Isabella Prattley, Sam Polglaze, Sam Barker and members of the Nelson Surf Life Saving Club all picked up special awards for voluntary services carried out in the Nelson Region.

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Enrol to Have Your Say      

The local government elections are just around the corner and we want to make sure you have the chance to take part in the process.

Are you enrolled to vote?

From Monday 1 July 2013 everyone enrolled to vote will be sent their enrolment update pack. All you need to do is check that your details are right. If they are correct you will get your voting papers sent to you in the mail. If anything needs updating, make the changes and send the form back to the Registrar of Electors immediately.

If you don’t get a pack by Thursday 4 July 2013 you are not correctly enrolled to vote, and you need to enrol.

How to enrol

If you need to enrol or update your details – it’s easy! To get an enrolment pack, jump online at elections.org.nz, freetext your name and address to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56, or visit any PostShop.

Enrol by 16 August 2013

Voting in the local elections is by postal vote from 20 September to 12 October 2013. Everyone correctly enrolled by Friday 16 August 2013 will be sent their voting papers in the mail.

Those enrolling after 16 August will need to cast a special vote, and will need to contact the electoral officer for Tasman District Council to obtain voting papers.

Enrolling by 16 August is the easiest way for you to have your say in the local elections.

More information about enrolling to vote is available at www.elections.org.nz.

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Work Underway on Motueka Pedestrian Refuge      

Work has started on a new pedestrian refuge on High Street in Motueka, to make crossing the busy highway safer for pedestrians.

Pedestrians using this busy section of High Street opposite New World and The Warehouse have to contend with oncoming traffic and cars entering and exiting driveways. Increasing the safety of pedestrians on this busy section of road while maintaining traffic flow, and hopefully decreasing the stress for drivers, is a priority. The pedestrian refuge was identified as the preferred solution to improve pedestrian safety back in May.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) Central Operations Manager Mark Owen said work began after the funding go-ahead was given to progress the pedestrian refuge.

“This is a really busy crossing point, and we recognise it’s much easier to cross the road one lane at a time because it can be tricky to find gaps in two lanes of traffic at once.”

Mr Owen says the NZTA has worked closely with Tasman District Council and the Motueka Community Board towards progressing the refuge, and thanks them for their contribution towards this solution.

Work is expected to be completed before the end of July, in plenty of time for the busy summer season.

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Road Safety When the Weather Turns Bad      

No matter how good a driver you are, winter presents its own set of driving hazards. It’s important that you know how to spot them and react to them. This may mean it takes a few minutes longer to get prepared for a trip, or to get to your destination, but the safety of you, your family and other road users is far more important.

Bad weather is a contributing factor in a number of fatal crashes every year.

The good news is that with a bit of knowledge you can greatly reduce your chances of being caught out. There is loads of great information on www.aa.co.nz and here are some tips to get you started:

Stay out of trouble

  • Slow down and take your time – it only takes a split-second to lose control in wet or icy conditions.
  • Avoid sudden movements. Accelerate smoothly and brake gently.
  • When travelling uphill, use a higher gear  than normal. When going downhill use a lower gear.

Plan your journey

  • When conditions are bad, postpone your trip if possible.
  • Check road conditions (call 0800 44 44 49 for state highways, visit www.highwayinfo.govt.nz, or listen to local radio stations).
  • Carry warm clothes in case you get stuck or break down. On a long trip, take food and something to drink.

See and be seen

  • Clear windows before driving. De-ice and wipe windows.
  • In fog, rain or snow, turn your lights on.
  • Switch headlights on earlier in the day.

Watch for danger spots

  • Ice lingers in shaded areas such as high banks, tall trees and road cuttings.
  • Bridges can stay slippery longer than other road surfaces.
  • Expect a dawn frost. If it is not frosty at  6.00 am, it could be an hour later.
  • Slow down in glare from low winter sun.