Newsline 311 - 8 November 2013

Friday 8 November 2013

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Richmond Project Best in New Zealand

Keep Richmond Beautiful (KRB) has been awarded the 2013 Fonterra Award for the best project by a Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) group. The award focused on the work the group put in to clean up the damage caused during the December 2011 storm.

The storm brought over 500mm of rain in a 48 hour period in the Richmond foothills. Houses were damaged, Bill Wilkes Reserve was filled with many cubic metres of rubble washed from the foothills, dozens of trees fell, many slips and washouts occurred on the waking and cycling tracks and paths and further slips all added to the damage total.

KRB worked closely with Stephen Richards and Glenn Thorn of the Tasman District Council and formulated a programme of storm damage recovery for the area. Over the next 14 months, KRB members cooperated with the Council and Sicon, as well as with several other individuals with a large interest in the area such as Will Rickerby, Des Henry, Allan Hart, and Alison and Greg Pickford to gradually rebuild and replant the affected areas. This was a major task, but with much goodwill, cooperation and a lot of hard work the recovery programme had been largely completed by the end of January 2013.

The work consisted of building bridges, cutting new paths, rerouting paths, building tracks over slips, clearing dozens of fallen trees and replanting all of the damaged areas (some 2000 plants).

“It’s a very great honour to get this award” said Colin Andrews, Chairman of Keep Richmond Beautiful. “We applied for the award some time ago and in fact had forgotten all about it. I was lost for words when I was told we had won – I’m really proud of the team we have, all the hard work we put in and the positive impact we have had. It’s nice conciliation after the America’s Cup loss!”

This isn’t the first award Keep Richmond Beautiful has received awards for its efforts – in 2012 it received a regional commendation at the Trust Power Community Awards, and in 2013 was the Tasman region overall winner. Colin Andrews was also awarded a Tasman Long Service Community Award this year, which he dedicated to the entire Keep Richmond Beautiful team.

Keep Richmond Beautiful is a volunteer organisation affiliated to KNZB that works closely with the Tasman District Council Parks and Reserves team to restore, enhance and protect the natural and urban environment around Richmond. They do a lot of plantings, make tracks and paths, build bridges, seats, picnic tables and work with other like-minded  groups and individuals for the betterment of the local community.

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Message from the Mayor

Welcome to the first of the Mayoral forewords for the new Council term. The election outcome saw little change at the Council table.

I have already welcomed the new faces and returning colleagues and have taken the time to discuss with them what I believe we face over the next three years to ensure Tasman continues to progress.

We have a significant work program ahead of us including a comprehensive review of our financial strategy. A key focus of the review will address keeping rates increase as low as possible and reducing our reliance on debt. Over the next year a key focus will be the establishment of a widely supported funding model for the Lee Valley dam. Also on the horizon is a new Ten Year Plan, which will deal with the long term ramifications of these decisions.

We are truly aware of the continued need to deliver cost effective and affordable services. The last term saw us make considerable inroads into our costs and we will continue that work. We also realise that we cannot achieve this alone, we will be coming out to you as residents of Tasman to help us make the right decisions.

Over the last six years my door has always been open to all that may need my help and this philosophy  is shared by my elected colleagues. The importance of an open and transparent relationship between the Council and the citizens is essential.

While the legislation and regulations we are directed by may seem confusing and inhibitive at times, the outcome we are trying to achieve is not. Our objective is a Tasman that meets the needs and aspirations of those that live here and to attract those who embrace the opportunities our great District has to offer.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Mayor Sets Tone for the Next Three Years

Richard Kempthorne has been sworn in as Mayor of Tasman District, and Tim King as Deputy Mayor, at the Council’s first meeting of the new term, both for the third time in succession. Recently elected Councillors including two new, Mark Greening and Peter Canton, and one returning councillor, Michael Higgins were also sworn in at the same ceremony.

During the meeting the Mayor spoke to the direction the Council, as a group, will be focusing on over the next three years.

“Building on the Council’s good track record of delivering sustainable and affordable infrastructure throughout one of the biggest Districts in the country, this Council will have a number of important decisions to deliberate, the largest being the Lee Valley Dam,” said Mayor Kempthorne. “I have certainly stressed that while we represent all of the communities that make up Tasman, we will be working for the District as a whole. We have a collective responsibility to ensure this Council succeeds for all the citizens we represent.”

Standing Committees

The Council has four Standing Committees, each with delegated powers to handle their affairs. All Councillors have membership on these committees, which normally meet six-weekly. Each committee is chaired by a Councillor chosen by the Mayor and the Mayor is an ex-officio member of all committees, meaning he has the authority to be part of all committees and vote on the decisions they make.

Community Development Committee

Chair: Cr Judene Edgar, Deputy Chair: Cr Martine Bouillir

This committee deals with all the Council responsibilities in relation to the Districts’ community facilities, buildings and halls, parks and reserves and cemeteries; funding for district and shared facilities; elections; civil defence/emergency management; rural fire; communications; community recreation activities; environmental education; cross-Council policy and planning; and annual and long term plans.

Corporate Services Committee

Chair: Cr Tim King, Deputy Chair: Cr Michael Higgins

This committee has responsibility for providing financial and administrative services to the Council and other departments, including rate collection and financial management.

Engineering Services Committee

Chair: Cr Trevor Norriss, Deputy Chair: Cr Barry Dowler

This committee has responsibility for development and implementation of policy relating to management of the District’s infrastructure.

This includes roads and bridges, water supply, sewerage treatment  and disposal, refuse collection and disposal and waste minimisation, coastal protection, stormwater collection and disposal, ports, wharves and boat ramps (excludes Port Tarakohe), aerodromes (excludes Motueka Airport), river and waterways and public transport.

Environment and Planning Committee

Chair: Cr Stuart Bryant, Deputy Chair: Cr Brian Ensor

This committee has responsibility for resource management, environmental health, sale of liquor, building control, maritime safety, animal control, biosecurity and the Council’s response to climate change.

For the full calendar of Council committee meetings go to  www.tasman.govt.nz.

Motueka Community Board

David Ogilvie, Paul Hawkes, Richard Horrell, Cliff Satherley

Golden Bay Community Board

Carolyn McLellan, Dave Gowland, Leigh Gamby, Alan Blackie

Please note – this differs from the information printed in the 25 October 2013 Newsline, we apologise for any confusion.

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Engineering Introductions: Robert Workman

Robert Workman’s job title is Utilities Network Engineer, however, a considerable amount of his time is dedicated to listening to, and talking with, the individuals and groups that the projects he is managing impact.

“Before a spade goes in the ground we spend a lot of time planning and talking. I’ll meet with all of the key stakeholders in a project – the end user, local landowners, community groups and often environmental groups – and talk through any issues of concern to enable the Council to provide the community with the best approach towards a preferred outcome. By having open and clear lines of communication, and being really transparent with the project’s goals and the challenges we face, we can often identify significant effects earlier in the process and save ourselves a lot of time, energy and money further down the track,” says Robert.

A recent example of the success this approach brings is the resource consent renewal for the Takaka Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is very unusual for a project involving public wastewater disposal of this scale (it has a total budget in excess of $4 million) to be awarded a consent without a costly hearing process. But thanks in part to the consultative approach and the positive way the stakeholder groups engaged with the Council, a public hearing was not required and the consent granted.

Robert has worked in Local Government for 30 years, first in the North Island before moving to Tasman and his current position two and a half years ago. Since joining the Council’s Engineering team he has been working on a number of high profile projects including the $8 million Motueka Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Tasman District is a fantastic place to live and work. I love the variety of outdoor environments from the beaches, rivers and lakes to the forests and mountains and take the opportunity to interact with them through cycling, walking, swimming and kayaking. I enjoy the challenge my work brings, and the interaction I have with a wide cross section of the community. A lot of the time I feel like my job is about problem solving, balancing individuals’ wants and needs, while meeting legal requirements and providing cost effective solutions. Achieving a successful outcome where everyone’s views and concerns are considered can enable the best outcomes, and it’s very satisfying  to be a part of that process.”

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Slip Material Problem Becomes a Solution

The Bird’s Hill slip in Golden Bay, which occurred during the last extreme weather event, is providing some of the material needed in the Takaka wastewater treatment plant project, saving both time and money.

The material, which will be used in the plants Rapid Infiltration Beds, will be trucked from the slip area to a stock pile where it will remain for about six months until it is needed. Prior to identifying this solution the contractors engineering team was looking at having  to pay to have the slip material disposed of and the Council would also have to buy new material for the basins.

While there will be an increase in heavy truck movements on Haldane Road over the next month whilst the work takes place, a number of measures to mitigate any disturbance are planned.

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Pest of the Month: Nassella Tussock

Nassella Tussock (Nassella trichotoma) is from Central and  South America and has become a major pest plant in parts of New Zealand. It has the real potential to spread through Tasman and Nelson’s farmland.

Nassella tussock is difficult to control, unpalatable to stock and capable of invading pasture land and drier hill country. It is a prolific seeder, producing up to 120,000 seeds per plant which can be spread by wind, livestock, machinery and water. The seeds can remain viable for a long time in the ground. It was first identified as a pest on Canterbury farms in the 1940s and it had forced some farmers off their farms within a decade. It is difficult to distinguish from other tussock grasses, but during flowering time, from October to December, its purplish seed mass makes it easier to identify. It can grow rapidly up to 0.7 m in height and up to 1 m in width. The dense fibrous roots have closely-packed swollen leaf bases, similar to shallots. The leaves are narrow, wiry and rough to touch.

Nassella Tussock is listed as a Progressive Control pest in the Regional Pest Management Strategy, requiring occupiers to destroy all adult and juvenile plants. It can be found in the Tasman /Nelson region along the lower eastern hills but it is capable of spreading well beyond this area. It is much more common in parts of Marlborough and there is concern about it being introduced in hay and mud or carried by machinery and vehicles. Farm vehicles and machinery working in Nassella areas should be cleaned before coming to Nelson or Tasman.

Biosecurity officers can assist with advice on treatment, Ph. 03 543 8400.

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River Control 2013/2014 Season Spraying

The Council will be undertaking its annual programme of ground-based herbicide spraying to control woody and invasive weeds in the District’s fully maintained rivers, from November 2013 to April 2014 inclusive.

Rivers included are the X&Y river-rated sections of the Waimea/Wairoa, Wai-iti, Eves Valley, Moutere Rivers and Company Ditches, Upper and Lower Motueka Rivers, Riwaka River and associated waterways, and the Tadmor, Sherry and Motupiko Rivers. 

In Golden Bay the rivers included are the Waingaro, Anatoki, Takaka, Aorere and Kaituna. Herbicides used will be Grazon, Glyphosate and Metsulfuron.

The main purpose of the spraying is to maintain flood channel capacity hence woody weeds growing on islands and beaches in the fairway are the main target. Please refer to the Tasman District Council website river management page and the 2013/2014 river work programme for further details, or phone 03 543 8400 and ask to speak to one of the Rivers and Coastal Engineers.

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Richmond’s Reusable Goods Shop to Temporarily Close

The Revive Reuse Shop at the Richmond Transfer Station will be closed for a short period of time. The Kahurangi Employment Trust, which manages the centre as a funding source for its work has decided not to renew the lease.

Until the future for the site is finalised people are asked to not drop material at the current centre. If people have goods for recycling and reuse they are asked to take them to either the Reuse Centre on Pascoe Street in Tahunanui or charitable second hand stores throughout the area.

The Council has appreciated the relationship with the Kahurangi Employment Trust over the last decade, and thank it for its contribution towards resource recovery in the District. The Council is working to re-open the reuse shop in the near future. It is anticipated that an announcement will be made shortly.

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Apply Early for Summer Event Special Licences

If you’re holding an event this summer at which alcohol will be sold or supplied, you will probably need a special licence. Make sure to plan ahead and apply as soon as possible.

From 18 December this year, the process for getting a special licence will change when the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 comes fully into force.

In the past, people have often left it late to apply for a special licence, something that was allowed under the old Sale of Liquor Act.

Under the new law, all applications must be made at least 20 working days before the event is held (although exceptions can be made for unforeseen events, such as funerals).

In particular, applications for special licences for events planned for mid-February 2014 or earlier must be lodged by 18 December 2013.

That’s because under the new Act (and the previous Sale of Liquor Act 1989), a ‘working day’ does not include weekends, statutory holidays or any day from 20 December to the 15 January (inclusive).

Other changes from 18 December 2013 include:

  • applications will be decided by the new district licensing committees (DLCs). Opposed applications will be decided at a full DLC hearing. Unopposed applications can be decided by the DLC chairperson only.
  • the DLC must consider more criteria when deciding whether to grant an application. These include how the proposed event will impact the good order and amenity of an area, any local alcohol policy, and the design and layout of the area for the proposed event.
  • particular requirements may be imposed on large scale events, such as requiring a security plan and/or a plan to address public health concerns.
  • three new fee rates for special licences. In most cases, the fee depends on the size and number of events covered by the special licence.

Further information is available on the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.govt.nz/policy/sale-and-supply-of-alcohol/licensing/applying-for-a-licence/special-licences

For information on applying for a special licence, go to  www.tasman.govt.nz/services/licensing-and-environmental-health/liquor-licensing/special-licence

So plan ahead to make sure you file your application in time to get your licence for your summer event.

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Bridging the Aorere at Salisbury Creek

“To tell the truth,” says Bainham resident and long-standing Golden Bay Community Board member Carolyn McLellan, “we’d really rather have the old Salisbury footbridge still here. Everyone just loved it and we’re still upset at losing it in the December 2010 floods.

“However, we’ve now got a wonderful information panel, and we’re grateful to the Council’s Engineering Dept and Grants from Rates for making that happen”.

The panel tells the tales of the five bridges that have come and gone across the spectacular gorge near Salisbury Creek between 1887 and 2010, but especially focuses on the historic (Category 2) Salisbury suspension footbridge. It was the only access to the Quartz Ranges goldfields for nearly a century, until land was opened up for farming development in the 1980s and a road bridge was built. The first visitors to the area were goldminers of the late 1850s and casual panning still takes place in Salisbury Creek, while swimmers, picnickers and fishers enjoy the deep pools and huge rocks of the Aorere River.

Access to the site, the panel and the picnic spot (complete with public toilet) is on Quartz Range Road. That’s about 5km south of Bainham, where the first tourism signage is found, on the way to the start of the Heaphy Track.

Carolyn added that she hoped one day there would be easy foot access to Salisbury Creek created along the road and river reserve land, “At present you have to climb a fence and go across a small field to reach the river. I’m sure we can improve on that; it’s a really popular spot for tourists and locals.

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Are our Estuaries and Inlets at Risk?

Tasman District’s coast is ecologically diverse with a broad range of habitat types. It is a place of high biological diversity and high economic value. Despite these high values it is vulnerable to a number of key issues including contamination and habitat loss which, if left unchecked, could destroy it.

Since 2002 the Council has been undertaking a State of the Environment program – mapping the estuaries and inlets throughout Tasman District to help it better understand the changes these valuable assets are experiencing due to environmental and human influences.

This monitoring is made up of two parts; Broad Scale Habitat Mapping and Fine Scale Monitoring (see box out).

Both methods were used in the recent sampling of the Moutere Inlet. This estuary is one of the five key estuaries in our District (the others being Waimea, Motueka Delta, Motupipi and Ruataniwha) and it’s the second time this estuary has been monitored as part of this program, the first time being in 2006.

The results show that, while large areas of the Moutere Inlet remain in good condition, there has been a significant decline in most of the estuaries condition indicators over the last 7 years, in particular:

  • The area of soft or very soft mud has increased from 99ha in 2006 to 274ha
  • The area of grossly nutrient-rich and poorly oxygenated sediments have expanded from 37ha in 2006 to 60ha
  • The area of nuisance macroalgal growths has increased from 43ha  in 2006 to 73ha
  • 53% of the saltmarsh has been lost since 1947

These changes, and others, have led to a decrease in the biodiversity (number of species and abundance of life) of invertebrates, fish and birds in the inlet.

Tasman District Council’s Resource Scientist, Trevor James, who oversees the State of the Environment program, says that the long term approach to gathering this kind of information is vital to the Council’s ability to help predict future change and to help manage the activities that are impacting our District’s estuaries health. “This program has been running for eleven years now and the data we capture each year combines to make our cumulative knowledge more and more valuable. By having a baseline of statistics to work from we can get a good idea of how these precious and fragile environments are changing for the worse, and work out ways to help reduce that change. Being able to compare data from five estuaries around Tasman is highly valuable as it helps us to work out what changes are localised, and which are more general. The need to protect our amazing estuary environments has often been overlooked in the past, but these are all very special habitats, that are vital to the general health and biodiversity of our environment, and it’s very important that we do everything we can to protect them”.

On 5 December 2013 there is a public presentation on the Health of the Moutere Inlet and Shorebirds of Tasman. 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm at the Motueka Cricket Pavillion, 40 Pah Street, Motueka. Everyone is welcome. Trevor James will be there to answer any questions you have.

Broad Scale Habitat Mapping

…is a method for describing habitat types based on the dominant surface features present e.g. mud, sand, rocks or vegetation. Arial photography, detailed ground surveys and digital mapping technology are all used to help create an accurate picture. This information helps the Council’s scientists and external agencies understand the general ‘health’ of the estuary.

Fine Scale Monitoring

…looks at the habitat up-close and in detail – monitoring things like the chemical and biological condition of the area. Plots are chosen at random and samples are taken. These samples look at things like how much salt or oxygen is present, how fine the mud is, and what levels of organic matter, nutrients and heavy metals are present.

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