Latest News & Public Notices

Have your say on our public consultations and find out about other work happening in your neighbourhood

09 October 2020

Welcome to the weekly wrap-up of our latest Council project news, important dates and information about what's happening in our District - all now in one easy-to-read email, sent every Friday.

This week:

  • Have your say on our public consultations
  • Our Council road and resealing work continues
  • Other work happening in your neighbourhood
  • Fixing our beach accessways
  • Kōpū Marine Precinct project update
  • Audit and Risk Committee and upcoming meetings
  • Microchip Monday
  • What's on in the Coromandel
  • Destination Coromandel's webinair around summer campaign and tourism promotion
  • Early booking tip - Kauaeranga Valley camping experience

If you missed last week's update, read it here.

Have your say on our public consultations

Our Rates Remission Policy, Rates Postponement Policy, and our Policy on Remission and Postponement of Rates on Māori Freehold Land are being reviewed to align with current practice and to ensure consistent language and clarity.

The three policies provide a mechanism for eligible ratepayers to apply for a rates remission or postponement if certain conditions are met.

Consultation opens today, Friday 9 October and run until 1 November.

Rates Remission Policy

This sets out the rates remissions available and the eligibility criteria. Some key changes from the current policy:

  • Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenanted land – removed the requirement to re-apply every three years
  • Land affected by a natural calamity – added fire to the remission title, a specific policy statement relating to fire and a policy statement to clarify that any decisions made by Council on the status of the rating unit is final
  • Penalty remissions – added a policy allowing penalties to be automatically remitted if rates arrears are paid within 14 days
  • Community, sporting and other non-profit organisations – added a policy and delegation power to give Council discretion to apply a remission if a non-profit organisation is experiencing extreme financial hardship. Clarified that applications will be considered on their merits and any decision made does not set a precedent for future applications
  • Extreme financial hardship – added a policy to provide temporary rates relief under certain conditions

Rates Postponement Policy

This policy sets out how people who own their own home and are over 65 or in financial hardship can postpone or defer paying their rates. It aims to alleviate hardship for ratepayers who may struggle to pay their rates while also ensuring that the potential revenue is not lost. Key changes from the current policy:

  • Editorial changes to ensure consistent language and clarity
  • Updated delegations to align to current practice
  • No significant policy changes are being proposed

Postponement and Remission of Rates on Māori Freehold Land Policy

This policy is aimed at supporting owners of the land in its traditional use and recognising the importance of the relationship of Māori and their culture with their ancestral lands. The policy provides guidance on when the postponement and remission of rates on Māori Freehold Land may occur and under what conditions. Key changes from the current policy:

  • Incentivising the development of Māori Freehold Land – new policy has been added to facilitate the economic development of the district, financial returns for Māori freehold land owners and the payment of rates to Council
  • Papakāinga on Māori Freehold Land – new policy has been added to recognise the importance of papakāinga (housing or community development on ancestral land)
  • New users of Māori Freehold Land – new policy has been added to remove the barrier of rate debt for new users to be able to use or develop Māori freehold land

Don’t forget we also have four other items out for public consultation:

  1. Water Demand Strategy
  2. Gambling Policy
  3. Significance and Engagement Policy
  4. The draft Mercury Bay Reserve Management Plan.

Go to tcdc.govt.nz/haveyoursay for more information and to make an online submission.

Our Council road and resealing work continues

The road and resealing work on our Council roads across the district continues this weekend and next week. Please remember to park off the road on the scheduled day so work can proceed.

As it's dependent on weather, we're updating our website and Facebook page daily, also listen to the local radio stations.

You can view a summary of other scheduled weekly roading activities in our district on our website - tcdc.govt.nz/roads.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's State Highway 25 summer chipseal resurfacing programme is also underway with road reconstruction work between Whenuakite and Boat Harbour Road starting today.

  • Construction work will take place on-site between the hours of 6.00am and 7.00pm.
  • The nature of the works mean that a stop/go operation will be in place with one lane closed at a time during working hours.
  • Access to properties within the work site will be discussed directly with affected owners/occupiers prior to the start of the works.

Click here for more information.

Other work happening in your neighbourhood

Whitianga Soldiers Memorial Park – (Pictured right) A kauri tree originally planted at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club in 1945 and then relocated to its current site in 1996 adjacent to the Mercury Bay library has suffered extensive crown dieback and is showing very little recovery.

There’s still a small amount of live growth, but not enough to sustain the trees health and any remedial pruning works to remove dead branches will leave it in poor form and structure.

Our contractors watered the root zone during the drought, however this had to stop during lockdown and the extreme conditions eventually took their toll.

Like most of our native tree species kauri prefer a forest situation and are not well suited to sandy soil. Any change in conditions with extended hot and dry periods leaves even established trees vulnerable.

The tree will be removed before the summer holiday period.

Unfortunately, there’s many native trees lost throughout Whitianga due to the drought. We’ll replace this tree with a species better suited to the soil conditions and will also make the felled trunk available for community projects such as carving.

Hot Water Beach – Domain Road car park and Bull Paddock car park  – The car parks will be sealed before Labour weekend.

Whangapoua drainage – Is to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances with our contractor.

Whangapoua boat ramp - Sheet piling is being removed  and we’re expecting to pour the balance of the boat ramp next Thursday.  The boat ramp will be opened to the public approximately one week after the final pour.

Thames Centennial pool - The pace clock that was mounted on the old boiler containers has been relocated to the northern end of the pool.

Thames airfield - The damage at the northern end of the main runway has been fixed.

Rhodes Park, Thames - The compactor at Rhodes Park has been taken away for repairs and should be back in the next fortnight.

Wentworth Valley Road, Whangamata - Tree removal, pavement and drainage works continue with culvert installation and extensions where necessary.

Planned water shutdown - Matatoki - Wednesday 14 October, 10am - 12pm. All of Matatoki Road (starting cnr SH26) and includes Bond Road.

Create The Vibe Thames

Your feedback to Create The Vibe Thames is on displayed on the windows of the HQ in the form of “word clouds”.

Groups can now apply to use the HQ, free-of-charge, to encourage continued activation of the space. There’s criteria you’ll have to meet to use the space.

“Funky” furniture has been obtained for the HQ via a forage through the Seagull Centre. It’s received upcycling treatment and will be part of the HQ.

Potential “community champions” have been phoned and emailed to ascertain their availability for the upcoming co-design workshops on 15 October and 5 November.  These will inform our design options which will be taken back to the HQ for public feedback in mid-November.

Quotes are being sought for revitalisation of the Civic Centre foyer with the aim of trialling it as a vibrant and welcoming art space in time for the Innovating Streets launch event on 6 March.  It is envisaged that this will initially be student artwork.

Work on the Stirling Sports wall mural will begin on Sunday 11 October and will take much of the week. The wall will be prepared ahead of time to make it ready for the mural.  The Baxters Wall next to Thames Library has graffiti guard on it which needs to be addressed either by treating the wall (a complex process) or an alternative is to add wooden panelling over the brick.  Staff are working with the Baxters owners on this aspect.

tcdc.govt.nz/createthevibethames

Coastal works

We’ve reassessed the damaged beach accessways at Pauanui and Whangamata following the severe erosion over the winter months.

At Pauanui, beach accessway 9 is going to be made shallow to remove the sharp drop to the beach (similar to the picture right).

Accessways 10 and 13 are going to be realigned and reshaped to improve and make the access safer. The section of beach from accessways 10 to 13 (around Mount Vista Pl) will remain fenced off due to the steep scarp. We will look at reshaping and replanting at the end of summer along this section as we need the beach to build back up to provide good foundation for replanting.

In Whangamata we’ve met with DOC to come up with an agreed approach to the damaged accessways opposite Graham St (including access 8). The northern damaged accessway will be reshaped make the gradient shallower and the current structures will be removed and replaced with mulch and handrail. The accessway just to the south will remain closed over summer to allow for the beach to build back up to provide good foundation for replanting - tcdc.govt.nz/coastal.

Coastal gardening

Our successful dune planting season has come to an end, however there will be some other informal coastal gardening (dune weeding and maintenance) coming up. Pest plant management will start next week once the school holidays are over.

  • Buffalo Beach dune maintenance and weeding bee – Fridays, 8am-10am at Buffalo Beach reserve, Whitianga.
  • Hot Water Beach community dune maintenance working bee - Tuesday October 13, 8am– 10:30am at the main carpark.

Bring your favourite little spade or garden tool and gloves. Don't forget your water, hat and sunscreen. See tcdc.govt.nz/coastalgardening for more information.

Shoreline Management Plans (SMP)

Our Coastal Panels will be starting site visits at the end of October in their areas, followed by an Assets of Values and Objectives meeting.

They will then meet again in November for a Hazards and Adaptation Menu meeting.

The minutes from the orientation meetings last month will be available on our website early next week and agendas for the upcoming meetings will also be loaded to our website here.

Kōpū Marine Precinct project update

Above: Updated plan showing the proposed development.

Next week, Thursday 15 October, we’ve invited key stakeholders will meet with our project team to go through the final design for the marine facility at Kōpū.

This design is an update following the original business case of 2018, and is a culmination of input from a number of key stakeholders over the past few months. 

Some of the key outcomes of the design development and stakeholder consultation include:

  • Separation of recreation and commercial operations to address health and safety risks and operational issues. The formation of King Street will provide public access to a dedicated new public recreational boat ramp and parking area. A barrier and gate will separate the recreational and commercial areas.
  • Marine hardstand servicing on the river side of the existing stopbank such as washdown, antifouling and painting is challenging due to a number of constraints including budget availability, environmental effects, ground settlement and flooding risks. As a response to these constraints, the scheme has been developed to accommodate out of water boat servicing access to areas on the landward side of the existing flood protection within the surrounding Kōpū Marine Precinct.
  • An all-tide commercial wharf and pontoon to facilitate in-water servicing, and loading of vessels
  • After consultation with Waikato Regional Council Operations, the relocation of the existing stopbank is no longer required. Instead, the car park and commercial area will be formed on land towards the coastal edge by filling the existing silt trap.  It was confirmed with the bulk freight terminal operators and licence holders that the existing bulk freight barge wharf facility is outside the scope of the scheme and will remain unchanged.

See tcdc.govt.nz/Kopu-Marine-Precinct for more information.

Achievements and challenges of 2019/20 are highlighted in the draft Annual Report

Our Audit and Risk Committee met this week. You can read the highlights or watch the unedited audio recording here.

Upcoming meetings

  • Emergency Management Committee meeting – 9am, Wednesday 14 October, Thames Council Chambers, 515 Mackay St.
  • Shoreline Management Plan Governance Committee meeting – 1pm, Wednesday 14 October, Thames Council Chambers, 515 Mackay St.
  • Council meeting – 9am, Tuesday 27 October, Thames Council Chambers, 515 Mackay St.

Copies of agendas, reports and minutes are available on this page or at Council offices, two days before the meeting.

Members of the public and media are welcome to attend the public part of the meeting. If there is a report you wish to speak to, you may do so in the public forum of the meeting. See our website here for more information on how to register.

Microchip Monday

Now we're back in Alert Level 1, our Council can continue providing a low-cost ‘Microchip Monday’ service for dog owners in our district.

  • 12 October, 9am-12pm – Thames Office, 515 Mackay St
  • 19 October, 9am-12pm – Whangamata Office, 620 Port Rd

Microchipping helps us to promptly identify dogs that are roaming or lost so we can reunite dogs with their owners rather than take to them to the dog pound. We’ve noticed many dogs on our database don’t have a microchip number.

See tcdc.govt.nz/microchipping for more information.

What's on in the Coromandel?

There’s still a number of events coming up over the next few months to keep you all entertained. Click here to see more.

Destination Coromandel's Summer Campaign webinar

Hadley Dryden from Destination Coromandel is going to share what our Regional Tourism Organisation is doing to promote domestic tourism to the Coromandel from Labour Weekend onwards. There’s already bus backs (pictured) and billboards in Auckland.

Join the webinar (Monday 19 October, 12pm) on the programme first steps and the domestic marketing and our "Where Kiwis Holiday" campaign.

Destination Coromandel also recently received one-off funding of $700,000 as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP).
The investment plan for the 2020/2021 year includes activities across three categories:

  1. Destination Management and Planning
  2. Industry Capacity Building and Product Development
  3. Domestic Marketing

Planning consultation is underway and project briefs are being drafted.

Click here for more information.

To manage the delivery of some key initiatives over the next 12 months, Destination Coromandel seeks a Project Manager.

This role will be crucial for the planning and development of an enhanced tourism ecosystem for The Coromandel’s future. To be successful in this role, an ability to implement plans that provide tangible results is essential.

The Project Manager will be required to work with a range of stakeholders. A person with previous experience with tourism, project and destination management is sought, and local knowledge of the Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel districts’ would be useful. Click here fore more information.

And if you’re a tourism related business, share your stories, summer offers, packages and images with Destination Coromandel to promote your business and secure bookings.

The bush-clad Kauaeranga Valley in the southern Coromandel is part of the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Hauraki District, and is a short drive from Thames. The valley includes numerous walks and swimming spots, and includes a visitor centre and nine campgrounds all managed by DOC.

Avi Holzapfel, DOC’s Hauraki Operations Manager, says the Kauaeranga Valley camping experience is particularly popular with families – some of whom have been visiting the valley for 30 years for a yearly holiday.

“We have some regular visitors for whom the valley is their annual get-away,” Avi Holzapfel says.

“They come for the bush-clad walks, the swimming, the chance to explore the forest and spend time in nature. It’s a different experience to the traditional New Zealand beach-side camping holiday.”

DOC’s Hauraki and Coromandel district staff anticipate a greater demand for campground sites on the peninsula this summer, as COVID-19 curtails the usual international travel plans for many New Zealanders.

“The Coromandel Peninsula is traditionally very busy over the summer period and we expect to see a real spike in bookings for the summer of 2020-2021,” he says. “Our advice to people considering a camping holiday in the Kauaeranga Valley is to book early.”

Click here to read more.

Get ready to ShakeOut next week

Next Thursday, 15 October at 9:30am, New Zealand will have the opportunity to learn and practice the correct actions to take during an earthquake and tsunami by participating in ShakeOut drill day.

Wherever you are during New Zealand ShakeOut, you can take part in the drill. Just 'Drop, Cover and Hold' for up to one minute, and if you're in a coastal area practise your tsunami hīkoi.

Click here to sign up.