Newsline 327 - 20 June 2014

Friday 20 June 2014

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Annual Plan 2014/2015 – a Summary View

The focus on reducing the reliance on debt and lessening the impact of growth and provision of essential services on ratepayers was evident when Tasman District councillors concluded their Annual Plan decision-making yesterday.

After reviewing nearly 600 submissions to the Draft Annual Plan released for consultation in March councillors made a number of key decisions informed by resident wishes and concerns and staff advice.

The final decisions saw the Council to deliver an average general rates increase of 1.73% and, with targeted rates included, providing a total rates revenue increase of 3.09%.

The Council supported for the Golden Bay Community Recreation Facility, the conditional support for the continuing construction of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, and funding for consideration of other options for delivering regional and local tourism services, with an emphasis on supporting economic development in District and wider region.

On the other side of the ledger were the decisions to defer the redevelopment of the Golden Bay Service Centre in Takaka and the development of the Motueka library.

Tourism Nelson Tasman Limited (TNTL) reviewed its business activities in 2013 and decided not to run the Golden Bay i-SITE and Murchison Visitor Information Centre. The Council has also undertaken a strategic review of the funding of tourism and agreed that the budget for TNTL, visitor information centre support and tourism related costs for 2014/2015 be capped at $405,000.

Council’s funding for TNTL has been confirmed at $170,000, being the district promotions budget, with a further fund of up to $100,000 for funding visitor information centres in the District directly by the Council. Up to $50,000 is available for Motueka, $30,000 for Golden Bay, $12,000 for Murchison and $8,000 for Richmond. In addition, $135,000 has been retained in the budget to meet any transition costs TNTL incurs as a result of these changes. As part of the work in finalising the Annual Plan Council decided that the Draft Long Term Plan 2015-2025 will not include ongoing funding to the District visitor centres and i-Sites. The reason for this proposal is that the Council considers these services should be more appropriately funded by the businesses benefiting from these facilities.

Within the same process the Council will work with Nelson City Council, TNTL and other agencies to consider other options for delivering regional branding and marketing services, with an emphasis on supporting economic development in District and wider region.

The ongoing construction, and support from the Council, of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail is conditional on the delivery of continued funding from the Government. The Council has agreed to cover 50% of the $600,000 proposed cost of construction of the next stage of the Trail on the basis the matching funding is secured from the Government’s recently announced funding round or a third party. The proposal sees the construction of the leg from Wakefield to Spooner’s tunnel.

The final Annual Plan will be adopted by the Council on 30 June taking into account the decisions made on 4 June.

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Message from the Mayor

We have recently finished the decision-making process for the Annual Plan for 2014/2015. We put out a Draft Plan in March and requested feedback. We received over 550 written submissions, some of which represented more than one person and one of which had over 680 signatures. In addition, 143 people presented their submissions to the councillors at hearings.

The final Annual Plan, to be adopted at our 30 June 2014 meeting, includes a number of changes from the options we presented in the Draft Annual Plan. The significant changes are explained in this issue of Newsline.

The major point though is the process by which these decisions were made. It includes consultation, where the Council listens to feedback from our community regarding the draft Council programme for the year ahead and responds with final decisions that balance requests for funding with the District’s ability to pay both now and into the future. It is engaging with communities and people and providing them with the ability to have their say about the way they believe the District should develop – in short it is called democracy, the essence of local government.

This is not ‘flip-flop’ decision-making as one media outlet described it – it is about listening to our community and what we were elected to deliver. Each of the options presented in the Draft Plan and the changes made for the final Plan are supported by significant thought as to the balance between the needs of, and impact on, ratepayers. The decisions are not made lightly, nor should they be as they will have a lasting effect on the place we call home and the decisions we all make to live here.

On behalf of your Council I would like to thank those who have written to, or spoken to us.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Rating Policy Changes

Within the recent Annual Plan process a number of amendments to the Council’s current rating policies were also consulted on;

  • The disestablishment of the 2% discount for early payment of rates, and
  • The shift of the payment date for rates instalments from the 30th  of the month due to the 20th of the same month, and
  • The removal of the ability to pay rates in full at the second instalment due date without penalties being applied for late payment of the first instalment.

In this separate process, which is an amendment to the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan, the Council decide to make the amendments to the rating policy as stated above.

The early payment of rates discount required an increase in the rates of $240,000 levied across the District to take account of the discount given to those paying all rates owing early. The removal of the discount is equitable to all ratepayers.

The shift to the 20th is in line with common business practice. Payments received after this have in the past led to the Council to seek short term financial facilities to cover the accounts the Council has to settle. This will enable the Council to better manage its cashflow as its payments are also made on the 20th of each month.

The payment of rates in full without penalty at the second instalment is an historical anomaly. It has created inefficient management practices to benefit a very small number of ratepayers at a cost to the majority.

These policy changes will come into effect as at 1 July 2014. Further detail will be provided within the first instalment of rates notices.

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Vandalism Risks Reserve Users Safety

Dellside Reserve is one of the largest reserves in Tasman District, stretching across the Richmond foothills from Cropp Place to Hill Street, covering over 21 hectares.

The reserve has a wide range of purpose built walking and mountain bike tracks. Being so close to Richmond the reserve is used by a large number of residents and visitors and the Council takes a very active approach to ensure it caters for the needs and wishes of all users.  It works closely with a number of community groups to ensure the reserve is developed in a thoughtful, sustainable and safe way.

A lot of the trail building and planting work that takes place in the reserve is carried out by volunteer groups, with Council support. Unauthorised trail building in the reserve is not tolerated.

In recent weeks there have been an increasing number of cases of vandalism to some of the mountain bike trails that are a feature of Dellside. The vandalism has included the removal of some of the structures and material from the trails, making them a serious safety risk. It is only through good luck that no-one has been seriously injured.

The vandalism has now been rectified and all of the trails are safe to use again, but there is an ongoing investigation to find out who was responsible. If you have any information please contact Stephen Richards on Ph. 03 543 8400.

The Council has recently had all of the mountain bike trails in Dellside professionally audited and has worked with the Nelson Mountain Bike Club to ensure that they comply with national trail building standards. The work undertaken by the Mountain Bike Club’s representative Mike Brien has recently been recognised by Trail Fund NZ as nationally significant.

If you would like to speak to someone about the reserve and the Council’s plans for its use and development please contact Stephen Richards at Tasman District Council.

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Golden Bay Community Recreation Facility

The Golden Bay Community Recreation Facility has received the go ahead. Years in the planning, the facility was at risk as councillors, within the Draft Annual Plan process, had to take the hard decisions in light of the need to reduce the Council’s reliance on debt and lessen the impact on ratepayers.

Following a large number of submissions, in fact the project attracted the largest number of submissions of all in the Draft Annual Plan, the project will be restored in the final Annual Plan.

The Council will supplement the $300,000 already in the budget for the project, with a further $1m in the 2014/2015 year and $1.9m in 2015/2016 year. As with other similar projects elsewhere in the District the ratepayer funded contribution is supported by at least 20% of the cost being met by the host community – in this case the Golden Bay community – which will be raising the remaining $800,000.

All Tasman District ratepayers will contribute to the Golden Bay Community Facility. It has been incorrectly reported that only Golden Bay residents would pay. The District facilities rate is universal and all ratepayers will pay $62.25 for next year. The District facilities rate has in the past assisted the funding of facilities such as the Murchison and Upper Moutere community facilities and the Mapua and St Arnaud halls.

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Better Management of our Wetlands

The Council is concerned to have come across a number of instances of unauthorised wetland destruction or degradation on private land in the last few months. Wetlands are now relatively rare in our District and support specialised plant and animal communities that are found nowhere else. They are also very important in acting like sponges and kidneys; sponges because they soak up rainfall mitigating floods and then release that water slowly to streams during low flows when fish and other stream life need it most; kidneys because they are great at filtering contaminant runoff from pasture and other land uses.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind landowners of their responsibility to contact the Council before any work is started in or around a wetland area on private land. A resource consent is required if you wish to extend or deepen drains in or around the wetland, graze the area moderately or heavily, dam or increase the water level, remove or poison any vegetation in the wetland. The easiest way to tell if the area on your property is a wetland is if there is only limited pasture grass cover and the area regularly or permanently holds water. Plants such as cutty grass and niggerheads (Carex species), kahikatea/white pine, and sphagnum moss clearly indicate a wetland. If in doubt please contact the Council. Now that we have developed a better understanding of the important environmental functions that wetlands perform and realise that there are a limited number of undeveloped wetland areas remaining in the District, the Council is now taking a much firmer line with regard to the rules about how we manage wetland areas on private land.

The Council is planning two meetings with our District’s wetland owners to talk about the importance of wetlands, farming industry best practice and to hold an open forum discussion.

For more information contact Trevor James on Ph. 03 543 8562.

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Reduce Runoff, Graze from Top, Down

If you are putting stock onto a winter feed crop this winter, please start by grazing the areas furthest away from streams first.

Last winter Council staff noticed a number of farms where run-off of soil and faecal matter from winter break-feeding was occurring, or was likely to have occurred (as in the image). Since then the Council, DairyNZ, and Fonterra have written articles in farming magazines and held local field days to promote more environmentally-friendly options for winter break-feeding. These same environmentally friendly options for winter break-feeding apply to all livestock break-fed during the winter or at times of high rainfall and sodden soil conditions.

Fortunately, the solution to this problem is easy; partition the paddock into several strips parallel to waterways and start the grazing on strips furthest away from the waterway so runoff is filtered through the ungrazed crops. At times when there is wet weather and sodden soil conditions leave grazing any low lying or gully areas until last or wait until the weather has improved and the soil has dried sufficiently to prevent runoff entering the waterway. AgResearch found that this simple change to practice resulted in a 95% reduction in the runoff discharged to waterways, compared to grazing strips close to the waterway first and subsequently grazing further away.

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Where Does my Glass Recycling Go?

The glass you put out for kerbside recycling in Tasman reappears in new glass products from an Auckland glass manufacturer. Even the small percentage of old glass that is unsuitable for shipping north has another life, crushed and used in local roading and drainage.

The bins you place at the kerb are collected by Smart Environmental Ltd, Council’s recycling contractor. The glass is colour-sorted at the kerbside and transported to the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre. From there it is loaded into shipping containers, bound for recycling in Auckland.

O-I New Zealand, who have been recycling glass since 1922, make new bottles and jars in seven colours: clear, amber, blue and four shades of green. The glass is formed in a high temperature furnace using silica sand, limestone, and soda ash. Glass can be fully recycled without any loss of purity and is able to be added to the manufacturing process.

Less energy is used to melt recycled glass than the raw materials, and so recycling saves raw materials and energy and reduces pollution and the amount of waste going to landfill. Penny Garland, of O-I, says the company recycled 100,000 tonnes of glass last year, and “we want all the tonnage we can get”.

Freight costs from the South Island have been challenging, she says, but O-I has developed an arrangement with Mainfreight where glass is shipped regularly through Port Nelson to Auckland. Since June last year the Council has shipped over 1000 tonnes of glass to Auckland for recycling.

Residents can help in Council’s glass recycling efforts following these tips:

  • Please remove bottle tops, jar lids and place them with your other recycling
  • Please only recycle empty glass bottles and jars
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes, pyrex, china and crockery (cups, saucers, plates), drinking glasses, window glass, opal glass, glass bricks, medical and laboratory glass containers, can’t be recycled. These glass types degrade the quality of the recycled product.

For more information please contact the Council on Ph. 03 543 8400.

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Community Partnerships

Outstanding Community Service Awards

Tasman District Council’s Outstanding Community Service Awards are a way of giving some well-deserved recognition to the volunteers who add so much to our communities. The awards focuses on individuals who have volunteered in their communities for 20 years or more.

If you know of individuals or groups that you think deserve recognition you can nominate them for an Outstanding Community Service Award.

Nomination forms are available from all Council Service Centres, Libraries and on the Council website www.tasman.govt.nz/link/ocs-awards

Nominations must be received by 30 June 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 may be just what you’re looking for. The fund’s aim is to support local projects that increase access to and participation in arts activity.

Applications close 10 July 2014.

Tasman District Council Community Grants Close 31 August

Applications are now open for Tasman District Council’s Community Grants.

Tasman District Council allocates grants to organisations that run activities in line with the Council’s community outcomes. Grants are one-offs and are made to organisations whose services and projects provide community-wide benefit.

Applications can be submitted online at www.tasman.govt.nz or via hardcopy application forms available from Council Service Centres and Libraries. Applications close 31 August.

Walking and Cycling Maps

The Motueka, Richmond and Ruby Coast walking and cycling maps have been updated and are available from Tasman District Council Service Centres, Libraries and www.tasman.govt.nz

The maps show points of interest as well as the walking and cycling tracks. The aim is to encourage use of the paths and to make it easier to get around by foot or bike.

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Newsline Updates

Resource Consents

The Council has received applications for resource consent, which have been publicly notified in The Nelson Mail. The applications and supporting information and submission form may be examined in any Council Office or Service Centre. The full public notice and submission form may be found online on Council’s website (www.tasman.govt.nz). Any person may make a submission on the applications in accordance with Section 96 of the Resource Management Act 1991. Please note that the following is an abridged advisory notice only.

Applicant: G & S Smeaton

Location: 585 High Street, Motueka

Consent Type, Application Number and Proposal:

Subdivision Consent (Application RM140359)

To subdivide CFR NL3B/1271 (with an area of 3.0238 hectares) creating two allotments as follows:

(a) Lot 1 having an area of 2960 square metres and containing the existing dwelling and access to High Street.

(b) Lot 2 having an area of 2.72 hectares with frontage to High Street,  a proposed building site for a future dwelling and existing shed  and berry plantings.

Land Use Consent (Application RM140360)

To construct a dwelling on proposed Lot 2. The land has a Rural 1 zoning according to the Tasman Resource Management Plan.

Submissions due: 4.30 pm on Monday 23 June 2014.

Public Notices

Tasman’s Great Taste Trail – temporary diversion

There will be a small diversion of the cycle trail onto Lower Queen Street, Richmond, from 13 June – 1 July 2014, whilst pipes are being laid for the new water treatment plant.

The section of trail between the Nelson Pine Limited chip entrance and Ravensdown site, opposite Swamp Road, will be closed. Please follow the temporary diversion whilst work takes place.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

Building Inspections Unavailable – Wednesday 9 July 2014

Due to compulsory training requirements, building inspections will not be scheduled on Wednesday 9 July 2014.

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience. A duty building control officer will be available at the Richmond Office.

Please contact the Council on Ph. 03 543 8400 to arrange an alternative inspection date.

Notice of Meeting – Richmond Unlimited AGM

Tuesday 15 July 2014, 5.30 pm, meeting room, Richmond Town Hall. All welcome.

Rates reminder

Invoices for the fourth rates instalment of the 2013/2014 year were issued on 1 May 2014 and were due for payment by 31 May 2014. Payments received after 3 June 2014 will have penalties applied. If you would like to speak to someone about your rates, please contact the Council on Ph. 03 543 8400.

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Mapua Opportunity to be Realised

The vacant site on the Mapua Wharf that once was the location of the Aquarium has taken another step towards development. Councillors in response to Mapua residents’ requests and the ability to generate an economic return through development to offset rates have decided to push forward with plans for commercial development on the site.

Residents and businesses expressed a desire for the Council to develop the site enabling a level of security of decision-making regarding the site’s future. In addition, the establishment of the Commercial Subcommittee, the appointment of the Council’s commercial manager and the access to seed funding provided by insurance has positioned the Council in a favourable position to develop the site for a commercial return.

There has been money allocated within the budget, however, this funding is conditional on the development of a sound and achievable business plan with the specific requirements that it will be entirely self sufficient, developed at no cost to the ratepayer and provides a consistent return to the Council. Early commercial interest in the site has been positive with the business case and subsequent development to happen within the next financial year. The business case is going to be considered by the Commercial  Sub-Committee this month with a recommendation, to either go forward or seek another solution, to the 7 August Council meeting.

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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 has been 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.

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