On slightly more golden pond
The trial clean-up of Nelson’s Modellers’ Pond is almost over, and there is some light in the murky waters.
A report on the three-month trial came before the Nelson City Council works and infrastructure committee on Thursday, five days before the end of the trial.
The method being trialed is a product called Diatomix, a mix of silica-coated nano-sized nutrient packs called flocs.
These flocs are consumed by diatoms, a type of micro-organism which is a base for a food chain including insects and fish which tend not to eat the algae choking the pond.
When given the Diatomix nutrient mix – which algae cannot eat – diatoms quickly outperform the algal blooms and starve them out, resulting in a clean pond.
This method has been used successfully in Australia, and is also being looked into for Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury.
The trial’s budget doubled to $135,000 with no apparent explanation in August.
NCC group manager of infrastructure Alec Louverdis said the committee report was a ‘‘procedural’’ one, asking for the final report to be accepted at the next full council meeting to give the trial time to be completed on November 20.
The results of the trial will be delivered to the full council on December 13.
(The Nelson Mail, Monday 19 November 2018)
Fonterra cuts plant's coal use
Fonterra only had to look over the fence in finding a solution to reducing its carbon footprint at its Brightwater milk processing plant, near Nelson.
The Brightwater plant, which produces whole milk powder, has started burning a blend of coal and wood biomass, using its 32-year-old 7.2 MW Maxitherm boiler.
The site's newly converted boiler was officially launched by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods on Monday.
The conversion aims to slash the amount of coal used and cuts carbon emissions at the site by around 2,400 tonnes a year – roughly the same as taking 530 cars off the road.
Fonterra's senior energy and utilities technologist Craig Wright said Brightwater's 24-hour, 7-day operation used about 800kg of fuel an hour.
The new co-firing ratio would now run on a 60 percent wood, 40 percent coal blend – although coal would still account for 75 percent of the energy produced.
(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 21 November 2018)
Nelson's house price surge revealed
Areas of Nelson that have traditionally been thought of as the most affordable in the city have seen the biggest surge in home values over the last three years.
QV, on behalf on Nelson City Council, last week released new valuations for all properties across the city.
Analysis provided to the Nelson Weekly exclusively by Corelogic shows that some suburbs have increased in value by up to 50 percent since the last valuations.
In 2015, the median house value of a home in Toi Toi was $270,000, now it is $410,000 – a 52 percent jump. In Washington Valley the 2015 value was $300,000, now it is $444,000 – a 48 percent jump.
(The Nelson Weekly, Wednesday 21 November 2018)
Logging company gets council all-clear over waste
A forestry operation on Nelson City Council-owned land in Nelson that sparked safety concerns has been given the all-clear by the council.
A member of the public raised the alarm three months ago about logging waste left on hillsides along the Maitai River, fearing it could cause ‘‘catastrophic’’ damage to residential areas downstream if it washed into the river during heavy rain.
An investigation by council compliance officers found that forest management company P F Olsen undertook the harvesting near the Maitai Dam in accordance with ‘‘plan rules’’.
The operation occurred before national environmental standards on plantation forestry came into effect in May, the council pointed out. It recommended that the contractor stabilise an area of slash, and decommission a track. It also recommended that the contractor incorporate maintenance work into its management practices, including reducing the potential for blockage of culverts, and the cleaning of cut-off drains and water tables.
(The Nelson Mail, Friday 23 November 2018)
The $500,000 property question
The bad news for first home buyers earning the average wage is that $500,000 will not go far in the Nelson and Tasman region these days.
You are also likely to face stiff competition from other buyers, and are unlikely to have money left over for renovations.
The good news is that it’s not Auckland prices. And – if you search hard enough – there are some good homes left in the half-million-dollar bracket.
As prices march upwards – an average property is now valued at $594,000 in Nelson city, and $586,000 in Tasman district – the Nelson Mail wanted to discover whether half a million dollars could still buy you a decent entry into the market.
(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 24 November 2018)
Thought for the Week