Community leaders acknowledged at Council award ceremony, water demand and metering discussed - highlights from this week's Council Meeting 10 December 2020 Eleven community leaders were recognised for the huge contribution they make within their wards, and our district, at the TCDC Community Services Awards ceremony held during this week’s Council meeting. Eleven community leaders were recognised for the huge contribution they make within their wards, and our district, at the TCDC Community Services Awards ceremony held during this week’s Council meeting. “So many of you all give so freely to your community without asking for anything in return, so for me these awards are so special celebrating some very special people in volunteer, help-out and contribute without strings attached, for the benefit of the wider community," says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. The recipients of the awards (endorsed by their local Community Boards) were: Thames: Wati Ngamane – Ngati Maru Kaumatua, for services to the Thames community, including representing the Hauraki Rail Trail. Geoff Furkert/Warren Sly– Volunteer work on behalf of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield Trust. John Isdale – Services to preservation of Thames history. George Udy - Services to Thames Community Patrol and Hauraki Rail Trail Trust. Coromandel - Colville: Claire Laureen Stewart – Services as an Anglican Minister. Jean Ashby – Services to Coromandel Independent Living Trust and wider Coromandel-Colville community Mercury Bay: Harold Abrahamson - Service to the Mercury Bay community for over 30 Years John North – Service to Hahei for 16 years, including improving destination management. Tairua-Pauanui: Trevor Ladd - Service to the Tairua-Pauanui community for over 20 years including conservation and coastal walkways. Michael King - Service to the Tairua-Pauanui community for over 20 years. Whangamatā: Brett Wilson - Volunteer work for Whangamatā Ratepayers Association and Whangamatā Golf Club for over 16 years. Murray Cleland – Service to the Whangamatā community for over a decade. You can view a recording of the ceremony on our Facebook page. You can view the recording of the entire council meeting here. In the Public Forum Bill Cooksley from Sport Waikato gave an update on projects the organisation is working on. You can view it here. A spokesperson from the Tairua Sport and Recreation Trust gave an update on fundraising progress for the skatepark facility proposed for Cory Park, where they $109,500 in principle so far. A Whangamatā Community Marae Committee and Community Hub spokesperson, on behalf of a variety of local organisations, spoke about leasing 101 Lindsay Rd for a community facility. Freedom Camping Bylaw This is now under review and we’ll be going out for public opinion, from Friday 11 December to Tuesday 2 February 2021, with a full campaign. This review is not intended to rewrite the entire bylaw but to assess where freedom camping is currently allowed and/or restricted. You can read the report here. “We believe the current bylaw is pretty good,” says Mayor Sandra Goudie. Freedom camping is permitted on Council-controlled or managed land in certified self-contained vehicles. We’re proposing extending some of the current sites and the addition of one new site. We’re also suggesting a revamp of all the signage around the district and more emphasis on promotion and education around responsible camping, to help people do the right thing. You can find out more about the review and have your say here on our website when it goes live tomorrow. Adoption of Gambling Policy You can read the policy here. This was approved with some changes that include: A 'sinking lid' approach to TAB venues. We don't have any TAB venues, but we have three pubs that have TAB faciites and six self-serve areas within pubs and clubs. These are not affected by this policy change. Relocation of gambling facilities can occur but an additional requirement is that the new location is in a lower socio-economic deprivation area than the existing venue. This is to address the social harm caused by Class 4 gambling which unduly impacts those in higher deprivation areas. Other policies that were adopted at the Council meeting include: Significance and Engagement policy. Council agreed increasing the figure from $1million to $5million in spending to be considered significant to trigger public consultation and/or a Long Term Plan amendment. There’s also a number of other criteria that triggers this policy to go out for public consultation – including whether there’s high public interest, whether there’s a legal requirement to engage with the community, level of impact on Māori, Māori culture and traditions, or affect the level of service of a significant activity. Rates Remission Policy, the Rates Postponement Policy, and the Remission and Postponement of Rates on Māori Freehold Land Policy. You can read about these here. Leases and Licences to Occupy policy. Some amendments in this new policy include clarity about requirements for eligibility for the Community Organisations Category (Category B) and reference to identify the need to consider the provisions of our District Plan and the Reserves Act 1977. Treasury Management policy. This policy deals with our financial management around things like liquidity, internal and external borrowings, credit exposure and debt repayment. Biodiversity and Heritage Strategies While not a legal requirement, we have these two strategies in place to acknowledge the importance of biodiversity and heritage within our district (think kiwi, kauri, our gold-mining, pioneering and rich Māori history). It’s been some time since we reviewed these two strategies. We will be going out for public comment on them in the New Year to see if they need updating. You can read about these strategies here. Whangamatā Reserve Classifications and Whangamatā Management Plans (Photo - Whangamatā Lookout) We’ve been reviewing all the management plans for our parks and reserves throughout the district and now it’s Whangamatā's turn. The reserves have had their classifications approved and we'll be going out for public feedback just before Christmas. A press release will go out ahead of the consultation opening with all the details once the dates have been finalised. In the meantime, you can read the Council report here. Declaration of Land at Kuranui Bay Thames as a Recreation Reserve As part of the Thames and Thames Coast Reserve Management Plan review, it was found that several parcels of council land at Kuranui Bay needed to be formally declared and classified as recreational reserve under the Reserves Act 1977 – once a cadastral survey had been completed. The cadastral survey was used to ground truth what land was above and below Mean High Water Springs (MHWS) and what land was part of the coastal marine area. The surveys have now been completed and the parcels above MHWS have now been either reclassified declared and classified as reserve/ recreation reserve. You can read the report here. Water Demand Strategy We all know water is a precious resource that we need to better manage - which is why our Council has now adopted a Water Demand Strategy. The strategy has a range of initiatives about how we look after our supplies better, including ramping up public education around water conservation, looking at water efficiency audits and extending water metering to identify where our leaks are. You can read the Council report on the Water Demand Strategy here. At next week's final meeting, Council will also be be asked to sign-off on a campaign about the introduction of water meters in some towns. Water metering is one of the tools recommended in our Water Demand Strategy, and ties in with the government's review of the three water (drinking, waste and stormwater) services. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government to support the review – and as part of this we received $4.8million, which we have recommended be used for installation of water meters for Whitianga and Whangamatā town supplies. Water metering is already in Thames South, Thames, Coromandel Town, Pauanui, and some parts of Tairua and Whitianga.The benefit of having water metering is that we can make savings through locating major leaks, knowing who our biggest water users are, and working with them to look at ways to better manage/conserve water. When Tauranga adopted water metering they found a 30 per cent reduction in water leaks – which is a massive saving to the water supply. We want to see how much we can save through the same process. The water meters are primarily a purpose for water saving – and at this stage not a revenue gathering device. We will be seeking public feedback if, and when, we proceed with any user charges. Right now. we’re directly targeting Whitianga and Whangamatā communities with a rate insert and targeted advertising about water metering. We’re also doing a district-wide push on water conservation and management education, which started at Labour Weekend and will run through to the end of summer – as we know we’re in for a huge increase in visitors – and a potentially dry summer. You can read more info on the TCDC website. You can find out more about our water restrictions and water conservation here on the website. Storm Damage Response Budget Approved Additional funding of $299,528 has been approved from our Council's disaster relief fund towards five storm events. The following table breaks down the storm event, and co-contribution from Waka Kotahi/NZTA for the State Highway reinstatement work. Read the report here. COVID-19 Response Committee Continues We set up a COVID-19 Response Committee in March 2020 ahead of the country going into Level 4 lockdown. Council agreed there’s still a need for the Committee, while the country is at Level 1. There is still uncertainty and no guarantee that the whole country, or particular regions, may move up or down alert levels in the future. Read the report here. Speed Limit Briefing Report This report, requested by Councillor Tony Fox who is our Regional Transport representative, is to provide background on the current situation regarding the setting of speed limits on the road network, and on potential changes to national and regional policy. Currently there isn’t any clear national directive on speed limits in urban and rural settings, so our Council has been adopting a “pragmatic approach” recommended by the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) road safety forums to setting speed limits. This has seen us: Undertaking studies to introduce 30kph or 40kph speed limits around school zones in line with current national instructions for their introduction by 2030 Reviewing changes to current speed limits in line with current national guidance in response to requests received. An example of where we have done this is at Joan Gaskell Drive in Whitianga, where the Community Board endorsed changing the speed limit from 80km to 50km, as the area had become more commercially built up from when the 80km was introduced years earlier. Reviewing speed limits in response to road safety incidents raised as a result of fatalities or injury. Reviewing speed limits as required in support of capital or development led road improvements. To read the full report and to find out more about what Waka Kotahi/NZTA are doing on the State Highway roading networks, to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the roads through its Road to Zero safety initiative click here. Transport Investment Plan Our Council has endorsed a Transport Investment Plan looking at how our transport network could be used to stimulate the economy and create an increasingly prosperous district. You can read it here. The Plan identifies a list of potential initiatives/projects which could be pursued – provided it has full investment from external funding channels.These initiatives are around walking, cycling, district signage/wayfinding and a freight hub. None of the initiatives in the Transport Plan have any budget allocated in the upcoming 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, but could be put forward for opportunities through government funding if, and when, they are made available. The Transport Plan sits within our Economic Development’s Productivity Plan “Connected Journeys,” workstream. You can read more on the website here. Non-Financial Performance Measures 2020/2021 We produce quarterly reports to advise our Leadership Team and our Audit and Risk Committee of how our organisation is progressing against meeting certain performance measures during the year. The quarterly report provides an opportunity for our elected members to review progress of the levels of service as set out in our 2018-2028 Long Term Plan. Where performance is under target, there is often a need to confirm that corrective actions are in place. Of the 136 measures across the organisation 65 (48%) are on track to achieve 22 (16%) are achieved 39 (29%) are not measured this quarter. There are six (4%) that are off track and four (3%) that are not achieved. Where progress against these measures is off-track at the end of quarter one, our activity managers have been asked to explain why and what steps are being taken to improve this over the following quarters. You can read the Council report here. Chief Executive Report (Photo - Our Chief Executive, Rob Williams) You can read the report here. Some points to note include: Our operational surplus at the end of October was favourable to budget by $2million. Some of this is attributable to the phasing of budgets, and increased subsidy revenue due to increased work volumes in the roading activity. Expenditure to date is also favourable to budget due to less reactive works than anticipated in the waters and coastal activities. Staff are also working hard to realise savings where possible. The capital expenditure programme is behind budget largely in the roading and wastewater activities. Both variances are mainly attributable to the phasing of works. Total debt has increased by $2.7 million in line with the capital works programme. Rates debtors are decreasing as expected since the beginning of the financial year and are on a par with the same period last year. All Council’s borrowings are within treasury policy limits. Included in the report was an update on the RMA and 3 Waters Reforms, progress on successful Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) projects and communications campaigns underway.