Newsline 316 - 31 January 2014

Friday 31 January 2014

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Download:Newsline 316 - 31 January 2014

Waimea Freshwater and Land Advisory Group Established

Late last year the Council established the Waimea Freshwater and Land Advisory Group (FLAG). Made up of 11 members, the group was formed to ensure public and stakeholder involvement in the policy development regarding water quality in the Waimea Plains.

The eleven people, listed opposite, were chosen for their expertise and knowledge about land use and water quality, including managing local water quality. Also key to the appointments was the willingness of the members to work collaboratively.

The FLAG will play an important role in identifying sustainable land and water management in the Waimea Plain. Water quality limits, along with measures to ensure they can be met, will need to be developed. The FLAG will particularly need to consider management of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

The quality of water is integral to environmentally and economically sustainable water management.

The FLAG will meet on average four times a year with the first meeting planned for March. One of the key considerations at this inaugural meeting will focus on how the group will include the wider community in their processes.

The Waimea Freshwater and Land Advisory Group consists of:

  • Andrew Kininmonth
  • Gavin O’Donnell
  • Heather Arnold
  • Lawson Davey
  • Martin Rutledge
  • Mirka Langford
  • Nick Patterson
  • Philip Woollaston
  • Pierre Gargiulo
  • with two appointed members:
    • Matt Hippolite – Iwi representative (Ngati Koata)
    • Zane Mirfin – Councillor

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Message from the Mayor

One of the highlights of the New Year in Tasman is the Golden Bay A&P show and once again it did not disappoint. To me it is one of those shows that is about the community, it is varied, it is fun, it provides a true view of what is important to residents of the Bay and, most noticeable, it is welcoming and surprisingly intimate. You cannot help but feel you are amongst friends. It also included the best whitebait sandwiches on offer.

Now though we are back at work and the focus for this time of the year is the Annual Plan. The Councillors have been working with staff identifying the priorities for the District and this debate will continue as we work to provide the draft Plan for your comment and contribution.

There is, of course, a key focus on managing our debt and delivering essential services whilst keeping rates increases as low as possible. To do this we will have to prioritise projects through the financial and service delivery implications of their inclusion, deferral or removal from the plan. While some may think this is an easy task, each of the projects on the list will have an environmental, community or economic reason for its inclusion – none of the projects the Council  has supported previously are superfluous. We stopped supporting ‘nice to have’ projects a number of years ago and now focus on the ‘what can we not do without’.

We will have a discussion with all our residents and ratepayers over the course of the Annual Plan decision process. I cannot stress how important it is for people to contribute and play a role.

This is a two way discussion and all contributions are taken into account. We will be coming out to you shortly on this process.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Logging Contractor fined $50k for Burying Stream

The Tasman District Council has successfully prosecuted a logging contractor for the lack of environmental controls put in place for a logging operation in northern Golden Bay.

Highlanders Trust, contracted to the forestry owner, failed to manage the dispersal of sediment and other material leading to the smothering of a stream, causing a large amount of sediment to flow into the Pakawau estuary and endangering native marine life in a internationally recognised environment.

The contractor was initially fined $65,000 by the Court, later reduced  to $50,000 in light of the early guilty plea, no previous convictions and a commitment to rectify the site.

This was not an accident and a one off event. The contractor had been in close contact with the Council and received a great deal of advice and guidance as to how to manage the site, taking account of the weather and the unique conditions within the area. This advice was ignored, insufficient mitigation measures were used and heavy machinery was used in a manner not appropriate to the site. The ignoring of an earlier abatement notice on the same site did not endear them in this decision.

Unless this site is rectified all the associated local marine ecosystems in the area would suffer long-term or irreparable damage. There are no short term wins in rectifying environmental damage so the solution is to put in appropriate measures at the front end.

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Reservoir Creek Dam Update

Work on decommissioning the dam in Richmond is nearing completion, with the new spillway now in use and the water level of the reservoir at its new permanent level.

The new spillway provides provision for fish passage with use of special units mounted on the channel base. Currently final earthworks are being completed and the slopes will be grassed in the autumn. A new walkway is being installed by volunteers on the true left bank of the stream and emerges at the base of the dam adjacent to the new culvert. The existing private track will no longer be available for public use. Interpretation boards detailing the history of the dam will be installed at the top of the dam and will include some of the pipes and fittings retrieved during the works.

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Timely Reminder to Prepare for Earthquakes

A string of damaging quakes in central New Zealand in the past six months has prompted three organisations to issue a reminder on quake preparedness.

GNS Science, EQC, and the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management said today in a joint statement that the quakes underlined New Zealand’s vulnerability to natural hazards.

On 20 January 2014 a 6.2 magnitude quake struck at 3.52 pm at a depth of about 33km and 15km east of Eketahuna in the Wairarapa. Nearly 400 aftershocks occurred in the first 24 hours after the main shock.

“The Eketahuna earthquake sequence is an excellent reminder that earthquakes can happen at any time and in any place in New Zealand,” Ms Little said.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advised that the best action during an earthquake is to “drop, cover and hold”.

“If you are inside, move no more than a few steps and do not try to run outside. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit,” Director John Hamilton said.

In most buildings in New Zealand, it is safer to stay where you are until the shaking stops, Mr Hamilton said.

More information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake can be found at www.getthru.govt.nz

The Earthquake Commission advised that it’s important to fix and fasten any large furniture or valuables in homes to keep families safe. The location, timing and intensity of earthquakes cannot be predicted, but people can take steps to help them be prepared for when earthquakes occur.

One step is to visit the EQC website and look through information in the Fix. Fasten. Don’t Forget section.

EQC General Manager of Reinsurance, Research and Education, Hugh Cowan, says “It’s important that people make the necessary changes to help protect their loved ones and their homes and contents if an earthquake happens. As we learned in the Canterbury earthquakes, securing a large wardrobe, television or chimney can save lives.”

Tasman District and Nelson City Council have just invested in a jointly funded Civil Defence building, based in Richmond. Opened last month, the new building provides the base for the coordination of an emergency response in the region.

GNS Science records about 20,000 quakes in New Zealand each year, with 200 to 300 being big enough to be felt.

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Tips to Keep your Wastewater System Working Well

Outside of the main urban areas and some residential subdivisions, most properties in the Tasman District have their own on-site wastewater system.

There are a variety of wastewater systems used in the District, many simple in design, some complex, but they all consist of two main components:

  • a tank, where all of the household wastewater (from the kitchen, toilet, bathroom and laundry) is collected and treated to some extent; and
  • a buried disposal field, which distributes the wastewater from the tank into the ground.

Inside a simple septic tank, solids sink to the bottom and fats and grease float to the top, while the liquid middle layer flows through to the disposal field. ‘Good’ bacteria within the tank digest and breakdown the wastewater, but the wastewater needs to remain in the tank for a period of time to allow for this to happen effectively.

Over time the top and bottom layers build up, and need to be cleaned out to restore the capacity and function of the tank and to prevent the solids, fats and grease from being flushed through into the disposal field where it could cause the field to block and fail.

The rate at which these top and bottom layers build up depends on the number of people in the house and the amount of solids, fats and grease entering the tank. Once discharged into the disposal field, microbes in the soil may further treat the wastewater.

Regardless of the type of on-site wastewater system used, it is important that it is regularly checked and maintained to prevent it from failing.

What’s the big deal if my wastewater system fails?

Household wastewater contains a number of “nasties”, including disease-causing bacteria and viruses, as well as the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. A failing septic tank or disposal field can create a serious health risk to people and animals and degrade the environment: people and animals may be directly exposed to the nasties in the wastewater; the wastewater might contaminate drinking water or bathing water; nutrients in wastewater could enter waterways causing excessive plant growth, affecting the entire ecosystem of the waterway; there could be visual impacts from exposed sewage; infestation of insects and vermin attracted to the wastewater; and then there is the smell…

Failing wastewater systems can be expensive to repair or replace. Poor maintenance is often the cause for system failure, so it pays to have it regularly serviced.

A failing wastewater system would likely lower your property value and could affect your ability to sell your property.

How would I know if my wastewater system is failing?

  • There is an unpleasant smell coming from the tank or disposal field area;
  • The land where the disposal field is located has become wet or soggy, or wastewater is ponding on the ground surface;
  • Your sinks or toilet drain slowly.

What can I do to prevent my wastewater system from failing?

  • Have your system serviced regularly (ideally, every six months);
  • Have the solids, fats and grease cleaned out of your tank periodically (the frequency will vary between households, but may be necessary every 1-5 years);
  • Keep the ‘good’ bacteria in your tank alive: don’t release disinfectants, pesticides, herbicides, caustic drain cleaners, medicines, or petroleum products (such as motor oil, paint, paint thinner, petrol and solvents) into your septic tank, and use laundry bleaches, whiteners, nappy soakers, dishwasher detergents and stain removers sparingly.
  • Do use biodegradable detergents and low phosphorus detergents;
  • Whichever detergents you do use, use only the recommended quantities;
  • Reduce the amount of solids, fats and grease going into your septic tank:
    • Scrape scraps of food and fats from dishes before washing them;
    • Compost food scraps rather than using an ‘insinkerator’;
    • Put coffee grounds and tea leaves in the rubbish or compost;
    • Shake all the sand and dirt from clothes before washing them;
    • Don’t flush sanitary pads, tampons, disposable nappies, cotton buds, dental floss or condoms (…Barbie doll heads, smurfs…) down the dunny – they will accumulate in the tank and have to be cleaned out, and could also block any filters or pumps in your tank;
  • Lots of liquid passing through your wastewater system can reduce the level of treatment it receives in the tank and make the disposal area boggy and smelly. Reduce the volume of liquid entering the system by:
    • Installing water reducing fixtures such as dual flush toilets and low flow showerheads;
    • Having a shower instead of a bath;
    • Fixing leaking taps;
    • Not using the washing machine or dishwasher until you have a full load;
    • Not doing multiple loads of washing in quick succession;
    • Not letting rain or stormwater enter your wastewater system.

What should I do if my wastewater system is currently failing?

Action must be taken to fix the failure immediately. Consult the Yellow Pages for service providers (‘Septic Tank Services’, ‘Sewage Treatment’, ‘Plumbers’, ‘Drainlayers’).

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Engineering Introductions – Jeremy Katterns

Jeremy is a Technical Officer at Tasman District Council, where he manages the road maintenance work done by the Council’s contractor, Fulton Hogan Limited, on the District’s rural roads, excluding those in Golden Bay and Murchison. He has six years experience in road network maintenance and renewals, which he puts to good use on the area he manages, which includes over 900km of rural roads in the Tasman District.

Jeremy’s work often starts when a resident contacts the Council’s Customer Services team with an issue or concern regarding a rural road. The Customer Services staff member documents the issue, which is then raised to Jeremy as a service request. “At that point I begin to investigate the issue” he explains. “It may be an existing issue we are already aware of, or a simple case of getting our contractor to undertake a repair on site within a specified response time. Sometimes it will be the beginning of a longer term project involving a number of stakeholders – every job is different.”

“A large part of my job is investigating the wider implications of an issue – who will be impacted, how it fits into our maintenance programme, who needs to have input, where the budget will come from and what the ultimate solution will be. It’s really important to keep the locals informed and work with them where possible as its most often they who will be impacted,” he continued.

When doing programmed maintenance work, such as pavement repairs, Jeremy looks at what else the Council’s contractor can do at the same time to ensure cost effectiveness. “If we can do drainage maintenance and other work at the same time, it helps us to get better value for money.”

Jeremy has been part of the Council’s Engineering team since June last year. Prior to that, he was in a similar role with a consultant to the Council. When not at work Jeremy loves to take advantage of the wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities in the Tasman District.  He can often be found tramping in Kahurangi National Park and the Nelson Lakes’ wilderness.

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Community Partnerships

Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund

The fund’s aim is to subsidise rural sports teams travel costs, for 5–19 year olds, to enable them to take part in regular competition.

Applications close 30 April 2014.

Tasman Creative Communities Scheme

Do you have a great community Arts project that needs some funding to make it happen? The Tasman Creative Communities Scheme maybe just what you’re looking for. The fund’s aim is to support local projects that increase access and participation in arts activity.

Applications close 10 March 2014.

Choice Children’s Day

Tasman District Council is hosting an afternoon of interactive games and activities as part of the national children’s day celebrations.

Taking place in Conifer Park, Rabbit Island, on Sunday 2 March 2014, Choice Children’s Day will include activities for the whole family to take part in, with bouncy castles, balloon twisting, face painting, pony cart rides, an obstacle course, as well as bike based activities with the Get Moving Family Fun Ride, which is also taking place throughout the afternoon.

This year’s theme focuses on ‘Treasuring our Children’ with a range of children’s focus events taking place right across the country. The inaugural Children’s Day took place in 2000, and has since established itself as a permanent fixture on local events calendars nationwide.

Tasman District Council Community Recreation Officer Paul McConachie acknowledges that “the day is about spending some quality time with your children, showing them that they are special, and making new memories with them”.

The event and activities are free to attend, and will be cancelled if wet.

Get Moving Family Fun Rides

This is a series of easy bike rides which are suitable for most ages, skills and fitness levels. There are prizes and giveaways for the lucky, the activities trailer and bike skills course will be there for people to try out plus you can get your bike checked out by mechanics at the Big Bike Tune Up, thanks to Village Cycles.

All of these ride events are free – they’ll be a great day out for the whole family, so get those bikes dusted off and the sunscreen out.

Motueka – Sunday 16 February 2014, starts 1.00 pm

The ride starts at the Skate Park on Old Wharf Road and follows the path around the estuary before finishing back at the Skate Park for prize giving at 2.00 pm. This is an all off-road route and if you haven’t discovered this delightful, newly completed loop this ride will be a great introduction.

Golden Bay – Sunday 23 February 2014, starts 10.00 am

The ride starts at the Central Takaka School and takes East Takaka Road to the East Takaka Domain. The Way2Go trailer and bike ramps will be at the East Takaka Domain for people to try out too!

Rabbit Island – Sunday 2 March 2014, starts 2.00 pm

This ride starts at Conifer Park, Rabbit Island – look for the signs at the end of Ken Beck Drive as you reach Rabbit Island. Loads of easy options for two wheeled fun. The routes are on formed gravel tracks suitable for most ages, skills and fitness levels. The trails include the newly upgraded Conifer Mountain Bike Tracks and Tasman’s Great Taste Trail that takes you to the far west end of Rabbit Island. There will also be Children’s Day celebrations from 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm.

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Tasman Skatepark Tour 2014 Hots Up

Tasman District is home to a number of skateparks that have been created to give skateboard, scooter and BMX riders somewhere to practice their sport and socialise with their friends in a safe environment.

Every year the Council organises the District wide Tasman Skatepark Tour to showcase these facilities and the skills of the athletes that use them.

The 2014 Skatepark Tour has been the biggest yet with hundreds of competitors taking part so far. Four rounds have been held with two more remaining. Points are gained at each round with prizes going to the overall winners, who are crowned after the final round.

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Clifton Sewer Main Upgrade

Improvements to the wastewater system in the Clifton area will reduce Abel Tasman Drive, between Delaney’s pump station and number 622, to one lane over the next four months.

The 16 week job will address the issues experienced in recent times where storm conditions have overloaded the current system and waste water has been driven out onto public and private property.

Not only will the new pipe work be able to cope with storm events better, there will also be a greater capacity for the growth being experienced from Pohara through to, and including, Tata beach.

Regular drivers on the road are asked to be aware of the lane closure and speed restriction starting from 10 February 2014.

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Safe Swimming After Heavy Rain

The risk of catching an infectious disease from swimming in clear, clean water is usually low.

However after rainfall contamination occurs through runoff into waterways and there is an increased chance that you may catch a gut, ear, skin or respiratory infection.

The Tasman District Council and Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Public Health Service advise that it is best not to swim in discoloured water for at least 36 hours after heavy rainfall to minimise the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria.

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