News and Publications

Property News - 10 March 2020

Nitrate fears prompt call

A call has been made for a moratorium on market gardening on the eastern Waimea Plains, near Nelson.

That plea to Tasman District Council is one of six from Water Information Network Inc secretary Lewis Solomon in response to concern about nitrate levels under some areas of the plains.

It comes after the council last week published a report on the nitrate levels in the groundwater. The report, covering the findings of groundwater monitoring and a soil survey on the eastern plains, says the indications are that market gardening is a ‘‘higher risk land use for nitrate leaching’’ compared with the other main land uses in the study area – pasture, pipfruit and viticulture.

Data on the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand website, showed that for 2008-12, the incidence of colorectal cancer in females in the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) area was 24 per cent higher than in females in the Canterbury DHB area while the incidence was the same for other cancers combined.

At that time, the concentration of nitrate in drinking water in the NMDHB area varied but was as high as 10mg/L nitrate-nitrogen in Richmond and ‘‘negligible’’ for most of the population in the Canterbury DHB area.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 2 March 2020)

Frustration over delay to springs report

Campaigners for Golden Bay’s Te Waikoropupū Springs are frustrated that a water conservation report has still not been released.

Save Our Springs co-ordinator Kevin Moran said it had been nearly 20 months since the Water Conservation Order (WCO) hearing closed. It was ‘‘frustrating and concerning’’ they were still awaiting the Special Tribunal to release its draft recommendations to Environment Minister David Parker.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) website says it had expected the tribunal to release its findings by February.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 2 March 2020)

Dam may get new PVC face

A geosynthetic (PVC) membrane may be used instead of a concrete face for the Waimea dam, which is now under construction.

Such a swap is tipped to improve resilience. It is also expected to deliver time and cost savings to the project, for which the forecast build cost has blown out by an estimated $25 million to $129.4m.

Waimea Water Ltd – a joint venture between the Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd – is responsible for managing the construction, operation and maintenance of the dam. Chief executive Mike Scott said moving from a concrete face to a flexible geosynthetic membrane on the upstream side of the dam would help to improve its resilience. ‘‘It also helps us with some budget savings.’’

Asked if it would save millions of dollars and months of time, Scott said this was commercially sensitive while negotiations were concluded, ‘‘but in that realm’’. However, those savings were already factored into the $129.4m revised cost.

(Nelson Mail, Friday 6 March 2020)

Petition backs access push

Boaties seeking continued access to a Nelson boat launching site are taking legal advice as they seek public support and negotiate with the city council.

The Delaware Bay Access Group, representing recreational boat users of the Maori Pa Rd site, north of Nelson, launched a petition last month seeking the public’s help to ensure that the launching and retrieval of boats continues as a permitted activity.

The issue of access resurfaced in a report prepared for the Nelson City Council’s environment committee meeting last November. It asked councillors whether a resource consent application should be prepared and lodged to allow for vehicles crossing the estuary at Delaware Bay.

(Nelson Mail, Friday 6 March 2020)

House prices keep rising in tight market

There’s a prediction that house prices in Nelson and Tasman could increase even further as demand continues to outstrip supply in a ‘‘congested’’ market.

Figures from Quotable Value show that the average house value in Nelson City rose to $653,576 in February, a 2.5 per cent rise over the last quarter and a 6.8 per cent hike year-on-year.

In Tasman District, average values rose 0.5 per cent to $623,416 over the last three months, a 4.1 per cent rise compared to the same time last year.

(Nelson Mail, Friday 6 March 2020)

Logging bad for Maitai, says group

River ecology group Friends of the Maitai says radiata pine forestry is its ‘‘number one concern’’ regarding river health.

Steven Gray spoke to the Nelson City Council’s environment committee to update councillors on the forestry and maitai forum established last year and emphasise the group’s concerns about forestry activity in the river catchment.

He said about 42 per cent of the Maitai catchment was being used for plantation forestry, much of it originally planted in the 1980s, and a major part of the problem was the large-scale clear-cutting during harvest.

(Nelson Mail, Fridy 6 March 2020)

Nelson apple factory closing after 57 years

Over 100 jobs will be lost to Nelson after the closure of the Cedenco apple processing plant in Stoke.

The factory was bought by Cedenco Foods NZ Ltd (Cedenco) in 2018 after T&G Global was forced to sell it.

Cedenco currently employs 29 permanent workers and up to 100 seasonal staff at the Nayland Rd factory, most of them Nelson locals, but at the end of the 2020 season the plant will be shut down and relocated to Hastings.

Apple processing, turning apples not fit for grocery or export markets into juice, diced apples, and other products, will continue ‘‘at full capacity’’ throughout the 2020 season.

The factory has been operating as an apple processing plant for 57 years, but has had a troubled few years.

It was formerly owned by Turners and Growers (T&G), which was forced to sell the factory despite restructuring in late 2017 which saw 26 people made redundant.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 7 March 2020)

Quake risk buildings to be closed

Two council-owned buildings in Nelson are being closed over earthquake safety concerns, leaving community groups needing to find other venues.

The Stoke Memorial Hall and the Refinery building on Halifax St would close ‘‘by the end of March’’, the council said in a statement.

The Hounsell Circle Bus Shelter in Tāhunanui will also be closed.

‘‘All the buildings are known to be earthquake-prone. Although none of the buildings pose any immediate danger to the community, [the] council is not prepared to accept the level of risk they present should an earthquake occur,’’ the council said.

Community services committee chair councillor Matt Lawrey said the council acknowledged that closing buildings could ‘‘create lots of headaches’’, and apologised for this, but the decision was made because of safety concerns.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 7 March 2020)

Thought for the Week

(Tuesday 10 March)