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Mercury Bay Community Board elects chairperson and deputy

26 November 2019

The first meeting of the new term for the Mercury Bay Community Board got underway yesterday, with Rekha Giri-Percival elected chairperson and Bill McLean as deputy chairperson.

"It's a privilege to be elected. This Board achieved a lot last term and I look forward to continuing our work on projects such as seeing the Whitianga Skate Park through to completion and getting the Mercury Bay Cycle Strategy underway," Rekha says.

Meeting highlights

In the public forum, teachers and children from Te Puna Reo ō Whitianga spoke in support of its application for a grant of $1,400 to buy bilingual books, song books and cds. The preschool is the only bilingual preschool in Whitianga with 19 tamariki.A supporting letter from the Ngati Hei Trust was presented.

Students from the Mercury Bay Area School spoke in support of its application for a $910 grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, to buy more advanced traps to target bigger pests such as stoats and weasels, at a cost of $53 each.

A representative of the Mercury Bay Skatepark Trust presented the park’s latest concept plan. This now includes the shade structures that were asked for during community consultation. However, these structures were expensive and the Trust  hoped some arrangement could be made with the Board for funding. The Trust has raised $15,000 to date and had several fundraising projects planned for the summer season.

Also in the public forum, the Whitianga Bike Park updated the Board on developments at the park and the theft of its security camera. Another resident expressed concerns about hazards for senior citizens on local footpaths and cyclist safety on the Joan Gaskell Drive bridge and the resealed southern highway by the airport. 

Other Board work project updates

(Photo: The 'living wall' on the stream edge at Carina Creek in Whitianga)

Grant to Te Puna Reo ō Whitianga - The Board approved a grant of $1,400 from the Natural and Cultural and Heritage Fund to Te Puna Reo ō Whitianga  to go towards bilingual books, songbooks and cds to help its children learn Te Reo Maori.

Whangapoua molok facility - The molok waste facility currently provided at the Meri Te Tai Mangakahia Reserve has always been on an interim basis only, and the Board is considering whether the facility should be relocated. The Board recommended Council commission a detailed feasibility and assessment report about relocation of the molloks to the Te Rerenga end of Whangapoua Road, so the relocation can be considered further. This will be brought back to the Board for consideration first.

Road stopping and proposed lease – 31 & 35 Pye Place, Hot Water Beach – The Hot Water Beach Life Guard Service Inc is building a bigger surf club facility, which involves extending the current site on Pye Place to unformed road and the adjoining Esplanade Rd. A recommendation was made to Council that an area of unformed road adjoining the properties at 31 and 35 Pye Place be legally stopped and transferred to the recreation reserve to enable construction.

The Board also recommended Council grant a 33-year lease to the surf club for that area of the reserve its new facility will occupy, and at a rental in accordance with the Licences and Leases Policy currently of $100pa plus GST.

• Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund application  Mercury Bay Area School - The Board declined the Mercury Bay Area School's application for a grant of $910 from its Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.  In making this decision, the Board noted that the Whitianga Bike Park had offered to work with the school to use its traps and there were other sources of funding available specifically for this type of activity, which the school has now been put in touch with. The Board thanked the school and students for the work they were doing.

• Manukarere artwork budget - The Board recommended Council approves an out-of-cycle maximum budget of $70,000 to complete the previously-commissioned Taylor's Mistake artwork..This involves creation of a series of Pou to be placed either side of the intended walkway, creating a visual corridor through Taylors Mistake. The Ngati Hei-approved artist is James Webster. 

• Whitianga Transfer Station project – We have a new waste services manager who has taken over responsibility for this project. This will be discussed in detail with the Board in the New Year. Meanwhile, we are currently trialling a new traffic layout to improve health and safety at the Whitianga Refuse Transfer Station. We thank the public for its patience and support on this project.

• Taputapuatea walkway and footbridge – The new footbridge and walkway is on schedule to be finished by early December.

• Carina Creek development – The living wall at the stream edge of Carina Creek (pictured above) is finished, but funding did not extend to the tidal steps, so that part of the project would be referred to our 2021-2031 Long Term Plan review for consideration.

• Flaxmill and Cooks Beach erosion – Work is underway to build the Cooks Beach backstop wall and it’s expected to be finished by Christmas. More information in this media release here.