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Pedestrian signage, commercial concessions – topic highlights from the Mercury Bay Community Board meeting

26 February 2021

Changes to pedestrian signage, calls for operators to hold commercial concession on reserve land and an update on the final touches to the Whitianga Skate Park was some of the items discussed at the Mercury Bay Community Board’s first meeting of the year, held this week.

“In regards to the Whitianga skatepark, a huge congratulations to everyone who pulled together to the see this facility open and being used,” says Rekha Percival, Mercury Bay Community Board Chair. “A huge pat on the back to the community and the Skate Park Trust, who drove this project, situated on a great piece of land, which is highly visible. Well done”.

You can read the meeting agenda, or listen to the recording of the meeting here.  

In the public forum:

A resident of Hot Water Beach queried whether the dog bylaw could be reviewed to assess whether it met the requirements of the Hot Water Beach community.

The Whitianga MenzShed would like to see a suitable building built for the MenzShed to enable to them to continue its activity.  They have approached the Whitianga Scouts group and have permission from them to use a piece of their approved leased land on the Sheriff Block.  They would require 613m2 for their project.  The group will fundraise for the building and there would be no cost to the ratepayer.  The MenzShed currently has 37 members.

A Whitianga resident would like to see the constitution of the Mercury Bay Museum made democratic and asked if the Board, on behalf of Council who has an interest in the museum, direct the Museum Trust Board to make this process a public process. 

Matarangi Boating and Fishing Club members presented a plan for a low profile building on Council land in Matarangi.  The area of land they are seeking is 800m2 with the building footprint to be approximately 300m2 and set on piles.  The club started 25 years ago and has 130 members.  They forsee the building would be used by other community groups, Coastguard and education operators.

A Whitianga resident requested support from the Board to approach Waikato Regional Council to provide a subsidy to the Whitianga Ferry for Gold Card use for public transport on the ferry.

A Whitianga resident congratulated the Board and council staff on the great work achieved with the community on the skatepark project.  They’d like to see this same approach put in place for the Cycle Strategy for Whitianga.  The initial focus of this strategy would be safety for children cycling to school.  With currently 1015 students attending Mercury Bay Area School they said the  need for other methods of transport is paramount. They will be submitting to our upcoming 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the public part of all the Board meetings. If there’s a report you wish to speak to, or item you would like to raise, register with us so we can schedule you for the public forum of the meeting. See our website here for more information on how to register.

Pedestrian Give Way Signage

(Photo: The sign to go on the crossings at Albert Street and The Esplande Whitianga)

Since completion of the Whitianga Town Centre upgrade, it has been noted that the "courtesy crossings" on Albert Street and The Esplanade can create confusion over whether pedestrians or
cars should give way. This issue is exacerbated during peak visitor periods.

As the crossings are not official pedestrian crossings, the onus falls on pedestrians to give way to
cars.

To ensure pedestrian safety, the Board agreed to erect "Pedestrians Give Way to Traffic" signage at four locations, (as per the above picture), with an estimated cost for supply and installation of $9,200 plus GST.

The Board approved the funding from its discretionary budget.

Read the report here

Mercury Bay Licensed Commercial Operators

Whangapoua Catering at William Mangakahia Lagoon Reserve

(Photo: Whangapoua Catering has a concession to operate a business on our Council's William Mangakahia Lagoon Reserve)

The Board agreed that businesses with current, existing licenses to operate on council reserve land can continue to do so for further term of one year, starting 1 July 2021 and ending 30 June 2022.

This will align with the new Mercury Bay Reserve Management Plan once they are adopted, the new proposed fees and charges regime which will start 1 July, and with what other commercial operators do in  other parts of our district. In addition to this, the Board recommended that Council call for new applications for a further one-year period, from 30 June 2021.

Mercury Bay Community Board Work Programme

(Photo:Whitianga Skatepark)

The Board was updated on the progress of projects in the Mercury Bay Ward. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The replacement of the Whitianga Transfer Station is on schedule with the site investigation and design process to be completed by July 2021. 
  • Development of the Whitianga Skatepark landscaping will be completed by 30 April 2021.
  • Construction has been completed for the replacement of existing toilet on Meri Te
    Tai Mangakahia Reserve, Whangapoua .
  • Taputapuatea Walkway and Footbridge construction has been completed, Council contractors will be finalising works on the entry gate in the next month.

You can view the entire work programme here

Members’ Reports

The following Mercury Bay Board Members and Councillor reported:

Bill McLean questioned whether there was any economic benefit for communities if mining was to occur in the area.   

Councillor Tony Fox - attended WRC transport meeting and WRC catchment meeting. He also went to several ratepayer meetings over summer, which were all positive meetings. He participated in the Shoreline Management Plan meetings. Tony encouraged other members to go along to the next lot of SMP meetings (you can see further information regarding the meetings here) Tony met with a resident who had queries regarding parking at Robinson Road boatramp.

Councillor Murray McLean - attended ratepayer meetings over the summer period and received positive feedback from residents and visitors about Whitianga’s vibe.

Jeremy Lomas  spoke at the Cooks Beach Ratepayers AGM, which was a positive meeting. He said the hot topic in Cooks Beach is freedom camping, where the community would like to see some clarification made around what obligations Council has in relation to managing this, planting around the current site at Purangi would be a good start.  Jeremy also visited Transit Street boat access at Cooks Beach and advised that the pedestrian path, separating boats and pedestrians seems to be working well.  The feedback from the Whitianga Summer Concert and the events held in Mercury Bay over the summer period was all positive.  There are concerns with rubbish collections in Hahei. 

Deli Connell also attended the summer ratepayer meetings and advised that a number of Matarangi residents are concerned with the speeds that are being travelled throughout the village, a similar to issue occurring in the village of Kuaotunu. Deli will be contacting Zero Waste to see what resources they have available to advise/assist in preparation for the workshop the Community Board will have on this topic.

Rekha Percival, Chair, attended summer rate-payer meetings, which were all positive and very complimentary of staff.  Rekha also attended a meeting with residents in Matarangi in relation to encroachment issues on the foreshore, to look at ways to progress concerns.  A query in relation to the pay and display donation system for Hot Water Beach has been raised with Rekha and also some concerns regarding cars parking in the trailer boat parking area in Whitianga.