Heritage tree mourned, consent lead times, and local developments underway - this and more Council news 17 December 2021 Find out about these important Council projects and activities and other goings on in our district. Welcome to the weekly wrap-up of our latest Council project news, important dates and information about what's happening in our District. If you missed last Friday’s Council news wrap-up, read it here. ↓ Whangapoua pohutukawa irreparably damaged in storm A beloved tree in Whangapoua has been damaged during this week’s heavy storms. This large pohutukawa at the South End Reserve in Whangapoua has been the site of weddings, photoshoots, and many residents grew up climbing and swinging from this tree. Over 50 years old, the pohutukawa was a part of the community identity. Our Council met with Ngati Huarere ki Whangapoua Trust to discuss appropriate options to ensure this important tree is honoured while ensuring the safety of the community. It was decided that the hanging limb was still intact but other broken and dangerous branches would be removed. The wood will be left at the end of the reserve for locals to have for carving and memorabilia. A karakia was said before works began. What will happen to the tree stump is in the hands of Ngati Huarere. The failed limb has been removed so the public is able to utilise the swing, however we ask that the public refrain from climbing or trying to move the large section of wood left at the base. Longer lead times on building and resource consents Over the past eight months our Building and Planning teams have been processing a higher, and more complex, number of consent applications - significantly higher than previous years. Council are asking for patience with our staff as we work through these applications. In combination with issues related to COVID-19, this increase in applications means that it may take longer than the usual 20 working days to process consents. We occasionally outsource to external agencies– but with consent numbers up nationally it means that these agencies, like our Council, are already working at capacity. It is important to note that from Monday 20 December, the Building and RMA statutory processing clock stops. You can still lodge consents after that date but the processing clock doesn’t start again until early January. The last day for booking building inspections is Thursday 23 December and inspections resume Monday 10 January 2022. We love supporting growth in our beautiful district and we will be working hard to get through the volume of consents as quickly as possible. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe summer. Mystery substance on east coast beaches confirmed as seagrass Waikato Regional Council (WRC) scientists have examined the substance washing ashore on several of our east coast beaches. Some residents speculated that this substance was plastic due to its similar appearance but, looking at it under the microscope, WRC have been able to confirm it is dead seagrass. Regional council scientists say it’s been found at sites that are close to some known subtidal and intertidal beds. Seagrass is important for marine biodiversity and provides lots of benefits to the environment, so understanding why it’s been displaced in several locations will be the subject of investigation by WRC scientists. Late Night Shopping in Thames Tonight Many retail businesses in Thames will be open late for shoppers on Friday 17 December. Look for signs in shop windows to see if they will be open for late night shopping with most participating stores open until approximately 9pm. Santa will be at Create the Vibe on Mary Street from 12 until 2pm on Saturday which is another great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping on the main drag. Vaccine passes will be required for adults; if you do not have one, we will take the photos for you while you wait on the footpath. The Kerepehi Brass band will also be providing Christmas music. Check the Thames Business Association website where a full list of participating shops will be listed: tba.nz. Repco Beach Hop 22 Postponed until 23rd - 27th November 2022 The Whangamatā Beach Hop Rock’n’Roll Festival has been postponed until 23-27th November 2022. The festival was originally scheduled for 23rd - 27th March 2022. “Due to the nature of Repco Beach Hop 22 with car shows and events in public places, we can not restrict entry to vaccinated people only under Orange or Green traffic lights” says event organiser Noddy Watts. “Over the past few weeks, since more detail about the Traffic Light System was made public, we’ve worked closely with the Thames-Coromandel District Council and DHB to find a way to adapt the festival to suit. Despite our efforts it just isn’t possible.” The organisers have spoken to our major sponsors and key stakeholders who are in full support of this decision. Those who have purchased vehicle entry tickets will be contacted in the New Year with the option to roll over the entry to the postponed November 22 event, Repco Beach Hop in March 2023, or apply for a refund if they cannot make either of these events. ↓ Works in your area Pou installation at Taylor’s Mistake The Pou installation is underway. Steel work and Pou pre-work being completed. The first Pou are being installed tomorrow with a view to completion Friday of next week, (24th December). There will be a possible issue with getting concrete trucks to site due to the wider area demand from building sites and the last few days of no concrete pouring at most sites. This has caused pent up demand on concrete trucks. Will have a further update as the work progresses. They will be working Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Sherriff Block Development A section of Council-owned land at 90 Moewai Road in Whitianga known as the ‘Sherriff Block’ is to be developed, largely for recreation purposes. Public consultation took place in 2021 on the long term concept plan for development of the site. The first stage of this is to provide a designated section of the Sherriff Block for events and concerts from 2023. This development is the first stage of a ten-year plan to develop the Sherriff Block. Click here for a map showing the 1st and 2nd stages of development which will take place at Sherriff Block. Our Council has signed a contract with Greenstone Events to have the Sherriff Block as the venue for their events over the next 10 years. This includes the Whitianga Summer Concert, which is usually held annually on Auckland Anniversary weekend. The development of the Sherriff Block will include raising the level of the land using surplus fill from the Waterways development. In December, Council contracted Whitianga Waterways to provide fill and complete the needed earthworks to ready the site for its intended long term use. Council’s contribution is limited to assisting with the management of stormwater from the site. Works are expected to begin early in 2022 and extend over a 10-year period with the first stage completed in time for the Whitianga Summer Concert which will take place in January 2023. Te Puru Domain Arborists have completed work around the western perimeter of Te Puru Domain – removing several trees and crown lifting remaining trees to allow for better tree health and passive surveillance of the park. Small Gauge Railway/Brown Street Toilets Bollard Installation Five stainless steel bollards have been added around the edge of the connective path from the Thames Coastal walkway to the toilets to prevent vehicles from parking over the wheelchair accessible path and to protect the specimen titoki tree. Centennial Drive Bulk Watermain construction Schick Civil Construction Ltd and Construct Civil Ltd will be constructing a bulk watermain for the Wharekaho Subdivision at the start of next year. Works are planned to commence on 10/01/2022 and are expected to be completed on 10/03/2022. Work will commence from the Centennial Drive - Rimu Street intersection and end across the road of 147 Centennial Drive. Centennial Drive will not be closed off during construction, however you may encounter minor delays. Working Hours will be between 7.00am-6pm Monday to Friday and 7.30am-1pm Saturday. We will be drilling the new bulk watermain in 100-meter sections. Every effort will be made to ensure both noise and hinderance are kept to a minimum with neighbouring resident’s health, safety and well-being of utmost importance to the staff working on site. An on-site meeting will be held for any residents that are interested in discussing the project further with the Project Managers from Schick and CCL. The meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 January at 1pm. The meeting location will be at the intersection of Centennial Drive and Christa Crescent. Totara Valley Road intersection project underway Utility services enabling construction works have begun on the Totara Valley Road intersection project. This work is being completed by Chorus and Veolia in preparation for works to begin in February. Powerco will also be performing some enabling works in January. The intersection upgrade work is the first part of the overall Totara Valley Road upgrade project and will cost approximately $1M of the dedicated roading budget. Bluff road walking track temporarily closed The Bluff Rd, Kuaotunu walking track is closed due to a rock fall event that has occurred blocking the track and putting users at risk. A geotechnical assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible to determine the stability of the above cliff face. This assessment will determine possible remedial works and the way forward. Our Council and Pinnacles Civil apologise for any inconvenience this may cause however we are undertaking the necessary measures to get the track open in a safe and timely manner. Location (walking track): No pedestrian access. The closure will impact the section that is usually open for pedestrian use only. Road resealing postponed until 2022 This season's resealing programme has been postponed until the new year due to weather constraints and the forecast traffic increases. Many streets have already resealed over the previous month. Sweeping and linemarking will be completed on all completed sites within the next few days. Remaining sites for early next year: Woollams Avenue Ocean Cl (Northbound, Southbound, and Loop), Kennedy Bay Road, Wainui Road, Puriri Valley Road, Old Maratoto Road, Banks Street, Moanataiari Street, Centennial Avenue, Grafton Road, Sealey Street, Tony Avenue. Some residents on the above streets would have received a letter advising them of an upcoming reseal with estimated dates for this year. Now that work has been postponed another letter will be sent out with the updated dates. Water meters project Water meter Investigation work will be starting in Whangamatā in the New Year. This work involves locating each property's water connection and recording what work is required (enabling works) to enable water meter installation. Once the investigation is complete the enabling works will be tendered, and work will start once we have a contractor. Enabling works are planned to start in 2022/23. Veolia will be completing the investigation survey and more information will be provided before they start. Installation of water meters in Whitianga began last week and will continue through summer with a short break over the peak period. Please ensure you stay 2m social distance from any work crews to protect them and yourselves. Enabling works to prepare for the installation continue to progress smoothly with over 1163 connections upgraded to date including Albert Street, Alf Simpson Drive, Arawa lane, Buffalo Beach Road, Captain Wood Place. ↓ Stay up to date on roading in the Coromandel Want to stay up to date with what’s happening on the state highways around Coromandel? Visit nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh25-sh25a-thames-coromandel/ for the latest information on Coromandel state highway maintenance, bridge work and other projects. For information on road closures and works on Council-owned roads, see tcdc.govt.nz/roads Silent nights on state highways this holiday break Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency work sites will close from 23 December to 5 January to leave the roads clear for holiday traffic, but there may still be temporary speed limits and road cones at some work sites or where there has been recent road resurfacing. Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships David Speirs says Waka Kotahi and its contractors stop most work before busy holiday travel periods like Christmas and New Year’s, to minimise disruption to people’s journeys. “Always take care when driving through road work sites and follow the temporary speed restrictions to ensure everyone stays safe on our roads. “Traffic management, such as temporary speed limits, signs and cones, is used to alert road users to a change in the road conditions or to works ahead, so look out for the signs and please take care in the run up to Christmas and during the holiday period,” Mr Speirs says. “There will be some holiday congestion and delays, and we all need to factor that into our plans. Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone using the road at risk.” With Auckland’s regional boundary recently reopening, the Christmas-New Year holiday period is expected to be a very busy time on Waikato and Bay of Plenty roads. Some of the key work sites in the Coromandel where traffic management will remain in place over the holiday break include: • State Highway 25 Pepe Stream bridge: Traffic management in place to help manage congestion during peak holiday travel times. • State Highway 25 Boundary Creek bridge: Reduced to one lane with a 50km/h speed limit to extend its useful life. For more information visit: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/media-releases/sh25-boundary-creek-bridge-to-be-reduced-to-one-lane/ Mr Speirs thanks motorists for their patience when traveling over the Christmas-New Year holiday break and wishes people a relaxing time with family and friends. Unconsented zebra crossing at Kuaotunu An unauthorised ‘zebra’ crossing has been painted onto the road at Kuaotunu. The markings have not been painted by our Council or our contractors and have not been consented. At this time our Council is not aware of who painted the crossings, but the matter will be reported to the Police for prosecution. It has been found that household paint was used. This will reduce the skid resistance of the road surface and increase the likelihood of skidding accidents on the corner. If an accident occurs the person or persons involved in painting the unauthorised markings may be held liable for injury if it is proven that their actions contributed to the accident. This may result in criminal prosecution. The solvents associated with these types of paint have a detrimental effect on the bitumen used in the road surface. It is likely that this area will suffer from increased potholing and shoving of the surface from vehicle movements and that its replacement may be required. The oncoming summer temperatures and increased tourism traffic will not help this. We will monitor the situation before and after the removal of the unauthorised markings. Given the location on the bend it may not be possible to patch this area, and there may be a need for significant unscheduled works during the summer period. If you are able to provide any information regarding the person or persons responsible for the unauthorised markings please contact the Police and quote incident number OR-269054N Staff will investigate the markings further and make arrangement for their removal. Christmas hours of operation for all Council offices Friday 24 December – 8:00am – 3:00pm Monday 27 December - Statutory Public Holiday – Closed Tuesday 28 December - Statutory Public Holiday – Closed Wednesday 29 December – Closed Thursday 30 December – Closed Friday 31 December – Closed Monday 3 January – Statutory Public Holiday – Closed Tuesday 4 January - Statutory Public Holiday – Closed Wednesday 5 January – Open regular hours (excluding Coromandel Town) The Coromandel Town area office will also be closed on Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 January. Our Contact Centre will be in operation 24/7 over this period. Contact us on 07 868 0200. Contractors and Bylaws staff will also be out an about over this period. ↓ Public consultations We held four well-attended public meetings (three in person, one online) on our Spatial Plan this week, and our communities were eager to discuss how they want our town and surrounds to grow over the next 30 plus years. An online meeting, open to the public, was held Monday evening. The Plan is an evidence-based, future-focused (30-year plus) strategy that outlines an agreed vision and direction for Thames and surrounds. Community feedback at this stage in the project will help us plan for future prosperity, identify areas for growth and change, and support the aspirations of iwi. Early conversations with iwi, agencies and community and business focus groups have shaped the initial stages of the Plan. We’re now preparing to share progress with everyone and seek input. From the end of this month and through summer we’ll be asking for feedback on Your Thames, Tomorrow Maiea ake - mai i te hiku ki te kauae, tō pito whenua, tō āpōpō. An online survey is now available here. Your feedback will guide us in our considerations for land use change, infrastructure development and delivery, environmental management and recognition of cultural values. Across all areas of planning, we are working to improve the four well-beings – social, economic, environmental and cultural – for Thames and surrounding areas. If you were unable to provide your feedback online or through the drop-in sessions, you can also contact project lead Mitch King directly on email@example.com tcdc.govt.nz/ourthamestomorrow Adapting to Climate Change: We still need your input We need your input so we can prepare for the impacts of climate change. Although our in-person and online public meetings for our Shoreline Management Project have now concluded, you can still give feedback on adaptation options like managed retreat or coastal protection. You can send us your feedback online here. There are detailed instructions in the link on how to use the feedback tool and provide your comments alongside your section of coastline. If you would prefer to simply email us, then please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and include which section of coastline you are providing feedback on. Find out more about this project at tcdc.govt.nz/smp Catch our Transport Survey Our Council wants your thoughts on proposals to extend the existing Thames Connector public bus service and on a possible new public transport service from Coromandel Town to Thames. About both proposals, we’d like to know: How often you might use it? What you would use it for? If the service were not provided, how would you travel? What times would you like the service to run? How frequently? How should it be funded? Go to tcdc.govt.nz/transportsurvey to complete a short on both proposals, plus some general questions about transport options in the Coromandel. We’ll be carrying out a separate consultation on a proposed service for Tairua to Whangamata to Thames and Waihi at a later date. Silent nights on state highways this holiday break Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency work sites will close from 23 December to 5 January to leave the roads clear for holiday traffic, but there may still be temporary speed limits and road cones at some work sites or where there has been recent road resurfacing. Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships David Speirs says Waka Kotahi and its contractors stop most work before busy holiday travel periods like Christmas and New Year’s, to minimise disruption to people’s journeys. “Always take care when driving through road work sites and follow the temporary speed restrictions to ensure everyone stays safe on our roads. “Traffic management, such as temporary speed limits, signs and cones, is used to alert road users to a change in the road conditions or to works ahead, so look out for the signs and please take care in the run up to Christmas and during the holiday period,” Mr Speirs says. “There will be some holiday congestion and delays, and we all need to factor that into our plans. Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone using the road at risk.” With Auckland’s regional boundary recently reopening, the Christmas-New Year holiday period is expected to be a very busy time on Waikato and Bay of Plenty roads. Some of the key work sites in the Coromandel where traffic management will remain in place over the holiday break include: • State Highway 25 Pepe Stream bridge: Traffic management in place to help manage congestion during peak holiday travel times. • State Highway 25 Boundary Creek bridge: Reduced to one lane with a 50km/h speed limit to extend its useful life. For more information visit: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/media-releases/sh25-boundary-creek-bridge-to-be-reduced-to-one-lane/ Mr Speirs thanks motorists for their patience when traveling over the Christmas-New Year holiday break and wishes people a relaxing time with family and friends. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” Last chance to complete the Tairua Skatepark site selection survey Our survey on the three sites shortlisted for the Tairua Skatepark closes on Wednesday 22 December, so make sure you complete it if you haven't already - it's very short. The link to the online survey can be found on the skatepark project web page - tcdc.govt.nz/tairuaskatepark - or, paper copies are available at Tairua Library. Based on all the feedback we've received on this site shortlist survey, plus the analysis of the sites according to the criteria that Council adopted at its 7 December meeting (see the full report here), Council will approve a preferred site and a formal consultation on that will be held from 14 February to 8 April, with a final decision expected in late May 2022.