Newsline 354 - 17 July 2015

Friday 17 July 2015

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Water Supply Service Charge 

If you receive a water bill that contains a fixed daily charge you may notice a change when you receive your first rates bill for the 2015-2016 year. From 1 July 2015 this charge has been moved to your rates bill as a service charge. It has, of course, also been removed from your water bill – effectively your rates bill will go up by the same amount your water bill reduces by.

Benefits of this change include:

  1. the payment of this charge will now be spread over the four rates instalment dates, rather than two six monthly water accounts, and
  2. you will now have greater clarity on your actual water usage.

As these water invoices are issued in arrears the transition to the new billing process will be spread over a period of up to six months as each area's water meters are read and the fixed charges for the period to 30 June 2015 are invoiced on your water bill.

For example, if your latest water invoice was up to 20 May 2015, your next six monthly water invoice will be for the actual water used for that six months, but only include a daily charge from 21 May to  30 June 2015.

If you pay your rates by Direct Debit, and your water charges are paid by six monthly Direct Debit, then you will not need to do anything. We will adjust your amounts for you. If you are on a fixed water payment option (such as a weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments), moving to the six monthly Direct Debit will ensure you do not overpay. Please contact the Council's rates team to make this change.

If you are not on a Direct Debit payment plan for your water or rates invoices, you may wish to sign up to ensure your bills are paid on time and avoid penalties for late payment. Contact the Council for a Direct Debit form, or download one from the Council's website, www.tasman.govt.nz

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Message from the Mayor 

During the summer we get to enjoy a great range of activities based around Tasman’s stunning geography, including our rivers, sea and alpine locations. Outside of the December to March traditional summer activities there is also a host of really enjoyable events to be part of that showcase the best of our District and have a positive impact on our economy.

This year we have the opportunity once again to showcase our region during the 2015 South Island Masters Games, which takes place between 26 September – 4 October 2015. It gives me great pride as Mayor of Tasman to have this opportunity to show visitors what our District has to offer. We are hoping the 2015 event will build on the success of previous Games and I am delighted that all competitors will have chance to benefit from the excellent facilities at the Saxton Field complex.

We know that sport provides a positive impact on Kiwi’s lives, keeping us mentally and physically healthier. It is notable as a region how much physical activity and involvement in sports we have. Involvement in sports also provides us with important social and community connections. I am sure that all the competitors in the South Island Masters Games and their helpers/supporters will also enjoy the very best hospitality during their time here. The wide range of events on offer during the Games means that there really is ‘something for everyone’. You can register for the Games as an individual or as a team. I’m looking forward to being part of it.

A huge amount of organisation has gone in to coordinating the 2015 Games, with the help of a very dedicated and capable team at Sport Tasman, and an army of volunteers. I hope to see you there.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne

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Motueka Wastewater Treatment Plant ‘Desludging’ Complete 

What has been happening behind the screen of trees at the Motueka Waste Water Treatment Plant? For the last few  months over 1200 tonnes of sludge has been removed from  the oxidation pond there as part of routine maintenance.

This essential exercise provides some immediate improvement to the efficiency of the plant and increases the quality of effluent under treatment, reducing the likelihood of odour during high seasonal loadings. 

The sludge is now stored in geotextile bags on site for drying.  The bags are in an impermeable bunded containment area so that nothing will leak into the ground. The leachate from the geotextile bags and rainwater will be pumped back to the oxidation pond for further treatment. It will take a few years for the sludge to fully dry out at which time the Council will consider alternatives for disposal. One option for the remaining dry material is its proven use as a soil conditioner.

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This Could Save You Hundreds of Dollars! 

Do you know where your water meter is? Do you know how to check your water meter to detect a leak on your property?

The Council’s Water Billing staff regularly deal with customers who are shocked and upset when they receive an excessively high water account, which sometimes runs into thousands of dollars, due to a water leak. These customers are usually unaware of any leak on their property as there is often no visible sign of excess water or damp spots and no sound of leaking water. This is the case in over 65% of the leak enquires that the Water Billing staff deal with.

Depending on the lay of the land, how porous the ground is and the location of the water leak (e.g. under a concrete driveway), these leaks can go undetected for a long time. At this time of year, especially when it is constantly wet outside, these leaks are even harder to detect.

How do I locate my Water Meter?

If you don’t know where your water meter is, check  www.topofthesouthmaps.co.nz. Click on ‘services’ on the left hand side and make sure ‘water features” is ticked, then search on your property address. Click on “aerial” in top right hand corner.

How do I check for a water leak?

To check for a water leak, shut off all household appliances that use water and any outside taps. Take a note of the meter reading and record the time. Leave the water shut off for as long as possible, then read the meter again. If the reading has changed – or the red numbers have moved – you have a leak.

Tasman District Council currently has a policy on Remission of Excess Metered Water Rates to assist property owners caught out by a unknown water leak. The objective of this policy is to provide relief to ratepayers who have excessive metered water rates due to a leak in their internal reticulation and to encourage ratepayers to get all leakage repaired promptly. There are several criteria to be considered when assessing eligibility for a remission. Not all leaks are covered.

The Remission of Excess Metered Water Rates policy can be viewed  on the Council’s website, along with further information on how to check your water meter and water saving hints.

The only sure way of knowing that you do not have a water leak  on your property is by regularly checking your water meter! This can pick up problems before they become major, saving a lot of time, money and distress.

If you have any questions regarding your water account and how to check for leaks please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services Team on Ph. 03 543 8400.

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Hibernating Queen Wasps required for Biocontrol Programme 

German and Common wasps are an increasing problem in  New Zealand’s forests and parks. Wasps have no natural predators and harm our native birds and insects, as well as honey bees. They cause millions of dollars of damage each year to our primary industries and are a significant threat to human health and outdoor recreation users.

As part of ongoing research into how to control the wasp population dead queen wasps were collected last winter from the Tasman-Nelson region. What wasn’t expected was that a recently discovered mite was present on about 30% of the samples, on both species of wasps (German and Common). Previously, the mites had only been found on German Wasps in the Canterbury region.

In the interests of science, the lead researcher, Dr Bob Brown from Landcare Research, dug up twenty wasp nests – nine in Canterbury and eleven in Nelson and Tasman. It is unclear how the mites interact with the wasps, but the nests infested with mites were about 25% smaller than the mite-free nests and the wasps were less aggressive. Subsequent analysis of the nests in the laboratory confirmed that adult and immature life-stages of the mite were present in the cells that contained wasp eggs or larvae. This suggests that they may have a role as a biocontrol agent, but a lot more research is required.

Dr Brown is wanting a larger sample of hibernating queen wasps to assess for the presence of mites and to gain a better understanding of their distribution. These queens can be found in dry and sheltered places like wood piles or behind curtains.

Wasp samples can be sent to all Tasman District Council service centres and Nelson City Council. Please enclose your contact details (name and address) and a GPS reference if possible of where the wasp was found. The preference is for live samples – please keep all samples in a small container in the fridge prior to dispatch. For further advice, call  Robin van Zoelen at Tasman District Council on Ph. 03 543 8460.

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Golden Bay Museum: Short Winter Closure 

Staff at Golden Bay Museum Te Waka Huia o Mohua will take advantage of the quiet winter period to catch up on some collection-related work. The museum will be closed between Monday 20 July and Saturday 8 August 2015. It will reopen  on Monday 10 August 2015.

Museum Collections Manager Karen Johnson explains that the busy tourist season, increased research enquiries, plus preparing exhibitions, doesn't leave time to focus on processing donations and organising collections in the archives and storage areas. Lack of work area space means they will use the exhibitions area to do this preparation.

Golden Bay Museum Te Waka Huia o Mohua carries out the same range of functions as Nelson Provincial Museum, but on a smaller scale. Three part-time staff work a total of 38 hours a week, the equivalent of 1 full-time staff member. Volunteers also help out, mainly over the summer season. Research use is growing as the archival collections develop through donations of local history material.

Urgent requests to access staff or collections will still be possible during the closed period, Ph. 03 525 6268 (leave a voicemail message) or Email: goldenbaymuseum@xtra.co.nz.

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Newsline Updates 

Public Notices

Tasman District Council Community Grants

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

The Council allocates funds to support and encourage community-led projects.

Over the last year, $207,000 was invested in projects ranging from local facility upgrades to local history displays, emergency service equipment to pest control, and local art to ANZAC commemorations.

To be considered applications must be for initiatives within Tasman and/or demonstrate the benefits to Tasman residents. Ideally, the funds applied for will be for a specific service that has community support.

This year the total allocation is $219,000 over eight categories:

  • Community and Economic Development Initiatives $30,000
  • Arts/Culture/Heritage/Museums $32,000
  • Festivals and Events $40,000
  • Youth and Children $25,000
  • Social Services $21,000
  • Environment $20,000
  • Emergency Services $16,000
  • Sport and Recreation Facilities $35,000

Applications close 31 August 2015.

Applications can be made online or you can download an application form at www.tasman.govt.nz/link/community-grants-application

Hard copy application forms are available from Council Service Centres and Libraries in Richmond, Motueka, Takaka and Murchison.

Contact Tasman District Council Community Partnerships Coordinator Mike Tasman-Jones for further information on Ph. 03 543 8403.

Roadside Spraying for Vegetation Control in Rural Areas and Registration of Non-Spray Areas

Tasman District Council’s roading maintenance contractor is responsible for vegetation control within the road reserve. This includes the use of knock- down, residual and brushweed herbicides to remove vegetation growing in the roadway and around street furniture. The contractor is also responsible for control of pest plants and other noxious weeds such as gorse, fennel, hemlock, blackberry, broom, bracken, purple pampas grass and box thorn.

‘No Spray’ Registration Option for Residents

Residents can request that their rural property frontage not be chemically sprayed and instead undertake the vegetation control themselves. On approval, the Council's contractors will mark the no spray area with red marker pegs.

Rural residents who choose the “no spray” option must control the vegetation growth along their property frontage to ensure:

  • Road users are not impeded and all roadside signs and markers are clearly visible; and
  • Vegetation height will not exceed 300mm; and
  • Any stormwater drainage ditches need to be kept clear of excess vegetation; and
  • At intersections vegetation must be kept well clear to ensure good sight lines for traffic using the intersection.

An application form for your property to be included on the no spray database is available on the Council’s website – www.tasman.govt.nz – search for ‘no spray’.

Opus International Consultants administer a separate vegetation control programme for the state highway network on behalf of the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Roadside Spraying

Contractors employed by the New Zealand Transport Agency undertake an ongoing vegetation control programme to ensure that roadside vegetation does not affect the safety or operation of the region’s state highway network. This programme includes the spraying of chemical herbicides including the following active ingredients: Glyphosate, Metsulfuron, Terbuthylazine and Triclopyr.

Persons wishing to register their property as a ‘no-spray’ zone, which requires a commitment to maintain a property’s highways frontage to specifications provided by NZTA, may do so by contacting Lea O’Sullivan or Donna Hills on Ph. 03 548 1099 at Opus International Consultants, Private Bag 36, Nelson.

Resource Consents

The Council has received applications for resource consent, which have been publicly notified in The Nelson Mail. The applications and supporting information may be examined in any Council office. The full notice may be found online at 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. Submission forms are available from Council offices and on the Council’s website. Please note that the following is an abridged advisory notice only.

Applicant: Peter & Nicola Trewavas

Location: 73 Wildman Road, Motueka

Consent Type, Application Number and Proposal:

Land Use Consent (Application RM150451)

To cancel consent notice CN9284695.8, which prohibits a dwelling being constructed on Lot 2 DP 459785. This was imposed as a condition of consent for subdivision RM080525 to mitigate adverse effects on Rural 1 land from fragmentation of productive land.

Land Use Consent (Application RM150501)

To construct a dwelling on Lot 2 DP 459785 in a Rural 1 Zone.

Submissions due: 4.30 pm on Friday 17 July 2015.

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Beware of Burning Treated Wood 

The Council would like to remind you again about the dangers of burning treated timber and provide you with an update about  air quality.

The Council is currently analysing samples from the Richmond Airshed for arsenic with results expected later this year. Paul Sheldon, the Council’s air quality resource scientist, expects arsenic and lead will be found in the Richmond Airshed. This is because the source of this contaminant is CCA treated or old painted timber which is still being burnt in wood burners.

Arsenic or lead is released into the air when treated wood is burnt.  Although the practice is prohibited in Tasman District, monitoring in similar communities shows people still burn treated and old painted timber. Arsenic is a carcinogen and also an irritant to skin, mucous membranes in the eyes, nose and throat and lungs. Over a longer period it will affect the nerves, blood cells and intestines especially when breathed in.  Lead can affect the body in many ways. It can affect the central nervous, the blood or the organs. The most significant critical effect of low concentrations of lead is considered to be reduced cognitive development and intellectual performance in children.

Tanalised timber (CCA treated) contains high concentrations of copper, chromium and arsenic. When it is burnt the copper and chromium stay with the ash making it toxic to plants and animals, especially if you put ash in your garden. The potentially toxic arsenic goes up the chimney with the smoke. When there is an inversion layer the chimney discharges stay low to the ground.

Recent monitoring elsewhere in NZ is also finding elevated levels  of lead in air quality monitors.  The lead will be coming from timber  that was painted with lead based paints.

Residents should be wary of burning “free” firewood and any building off-cuts. It may include treated timber. Freshly treated wood has a greenish tinge and the planks are labelled with the treatment process (H3 or H4 for example). However, as the wood ages, this tinge disappears and it is hard to see if the wood has been treated. The Council has a test solution available that will identify whether wood  is CCA treated or not. If you are uncertain about whether your wood  is treated or not, call the Council on Ph. 03 543 8400 and we can test your wood for you.

Don’t forget that a good way to ensure you have the best quality firewood is to buy your firewood from a Good Wood firewood merchant.

For more information about air quality in Tasman District and a list of local Good Wood suppliers, please go to the Council’s website, www.tasman.govt.nz/link/good-wood

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Get Moving Maps 

Tasman District has the climate and environment to encourage walking and cycling for transport and recreation and the updated  ‘Get Moving’ maps are designed to encourage the Richmond, Ruby Coast and Motueka communities to walk or cycle for short trips.  The maps show walk and cycle paths that link the communities,  as well as information on the facilities you’ll find there as a visitor.

The maps are free and are available from the Council’s service centres, libraries and can also be downloaded from www.tasman.govt.nz.