News and Publications

Property News: 17 September 2018

Site sought to pitch KiwiCamp

Government funds of $300,000 may be lost if the Tasman District Council cannot find a spot to pitch a ‘‘KiwiCamp’’ ablution unit for freedom campers in time for the 2018-19 season.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in August advised that the council would receive $660,000 from the Responsible Camping Fund for a range of freedom camping projects including $300,000 for the KiwiCamp unit.

However, the funding was on the condition the council complete the projects by December 1.

In order to meet the deadline, councillors on Thursday agreed at an extraordinary full council meeting to instruct staff to further investigate and develop – if possible – a KiwiCamp facility in time to utilise the Government funding.

The push comes after three preferred sites near Motueka, Wakefield and Lower Moutere were found to be unsuitable for the unit, which would have toilets, showers, Wi-Fi and charging ports that campers could pay to use via a pre-bought card.

Councillors approved other projects worth $360,000, including $130,000 for the installation of a toilet block for a planned new freedom camping site at a parking area near the resource recovery centre off Fittal St in Richmond.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 10 September 2018)

Slash risk investigated

Fears forestry slash on council-owned land along the Maitai River could damage residential areas in a storm has led to an investigation of harvesting rules.

If the scrap timber washed into the river, it had the potential to cause damage similar to that in Tolaga Bay in June, blocking bridges downstream and flooding houses, a member of public has said.

The Nelson City Council said it would investigate the matter over the next month.

It would consider whether its forestry management company, PF Olsen, had followed logging rules, including new national environment standards that require forestry operators to place slash on stable ground.

The council owns about 12 per cent of the forestry land in the Maitai and Brook catchments, and plans to retire more than a fifth of its total 640 hectares of plantation forests.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 10 September 2018)

Trafalgar Centre use 'alarming'

The Trafalgar Centre was empty for three quarters of the last year, with an income of just over $200,000.

Nelson City councillor Mel Courtney obtained statistics revealing that the main arena was used just eight of the 480 days the centre has been open.

The northern extension was used on 41.5 days, and the whole venue was used on 73.5 days, making a total of 123 days of use, or 26 per cent of the days it has been open.

Courtney said there was not enough marketing of either the centre or events that took place there.

‘‘You can’t sell a secret. It’s got to be advertised more, it’s got to have a rate for the community that’s acceptable so they can use it more, and the flow on effects would be fantastic for the CBD and businesses.’’

‘‘One of the consistent criticisms that comes through is that it’s too expensive. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case because it’s a big centre and it costs a lot of money to run . . . however, the facility lacks a whole lot of things that you should get for the money that you pay for it.

In the year up until its closure in 2013, the centre had hosted 77,420 people in 179 events.

Ball said the priority in marketing the centre until recently was developing customer service and improving ‘‘the professional infrastructure inside the facility to match the industry standards across New Zealand’’.

‘‘The marketing of the centre is now progressing to the next stage, with the promotion of events online via the Trafalgar Venues Facebook page, branding development, and improved signage around the facility,’’ he said.

‘‘This is a work in progress but is delivering results.’’

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 10 September 2018)

Tasman rates are fourth highest in New Zealand

Residential ratepayers in Tasman district face higher rates bills than their neighbours in Nelson and Marlborough, a new report from the Taxpayers’ Union shows.

At a cost to ratepayers of $3053 per year, Tasman District Council charges the fourth-highest average residential rates in the country, according to Ratepayers’ Report – the Taxpayers’ Union’s 2018 local government league tables. That’s $829 higher than Marlborough District Council, or $170 more than Nelson City Council.

Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams said all three councils could be expected to have a higher rates bill than the national average of $2304, because they were unitary authorities, so they also performed the functions of a regional council.

‘‘However, Tasman district ratepayers should question why their rates bills are on average much higher than Nelson city and Marlborough district – all three councils have a mandate to provide similar services,’’ Williams said.

TDC rates were based on the capital value of rateable properties while Nelson City Council rates were based on land values with differentials including one for commercial properties, which he believed helped to offset residential rates.

In Marlborough, the district council had a busy port with ferries and a ‘‘very active commercial portfolio’’, that included the council subdividing its own land for development.

‘‘That helps to offset rates,’’ Kempthorne said.

Tasman district was spread out and included 16 settlements.

‘‘Water, wastewater and stormwater all becomes more expensive with smaller settlements,’’ the mayor said.

By comparison, Marlborough had fewer settlements, while Nelson had a more condensed population base.

However, the big driver for increased debt and rates in Tasman district had been growth, which required new and improved infrastructure.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 12 September 2018)

Beach trees felled

After withstanding the elements for more than 80 years, the lifespan of a pine tree cluster at Nelson’s Tahunanui Beach has been cut short.

The far Back Beach car park and an area of the Tahunanui Back Beach have been closed since August 29 so a large number of dying trees can be felled and removed.

Nelson City Council Group manager community services Roger Ball said the trees that had died were in the areas that were flooded with saltwater during the storm surge from ex-tropical cyclone Fehi in February. The trees had to be removed for safety reasons, he said.

‘‘It has taken some weeks for the trees to show signs of this root damage by the salt. We’re not aware of any other reason for the death of the trees.’’

Ball said the salt damage from the flood tide had affected other reserves along the coastal edge. Replanting works had been carried out as necessary.

Fisher said a group of trees at the southern end of the Back Beach would be left standing to provide protection from erosion and the elements.

The council said on its Facebook page that there would be an opportunity for the public to gather firewood once the tree felling had been completed.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 14 September 2018)

Forestry firm reviews work

The biggest forestry business in the top of the South Island has committed $500,000 towards research on sedimentation, as the business prepares to launch community consultation on contested forestry practices.

Nelson Forests Ltd has also announced a school leaver programme, providing apprenticeships at the Kaituna Sawmill near Blenheim next year.

The developments follow studies this year that linked damaging sediment in local river systems to run-off from pine plantations.

‘‘We realise that there is a high level of interest in forestry’s role in sedimentation and that our community is looking to us to proactively address this issue,’’ said Lees Seymour, managing director of Nelson Forest’s management company, Nelson Management Ltd.

The company has commissioned Landcare Research and Cawthron Institute to start the research on its 60,000 hectares of productive forest in Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman district. It would add to work the company had already undertaken, including new methods to manage run-off from earthworks during rain events to trap sediment, Seymour explained.

Nelson Forests had ‘‘minimised’’ slash that remains after harvesting, but more needed to be done to build the market for turning slash into a fuel product, he suggested.

The company was considering the future of about 1000 ha of its steep land which had been classified as ‘‘red zone’’ under new national environmental standards for plantation forestry.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 14 September 2018)

Councils to discuss Waimea dam funding

Nelson city and Tasman district councils are to enter negotiations over proposed funding from the city council towards the Waimea dam project.

The city council in May agreed to allocate $5 million in year 3 of its Long Term Plan 2018-28 to the $102m dam project. That grant is conditional on agreement by Tasman District Council for the continuation of Nelson’s ongoing rights to access 22,000 cubic metres a day of water from the Waimea aquifers and the opportunity for the grant to be transferred to a shareholding in the dam company.

TDC supplies water to Nelson residents and businesses in the Saxton area including the Alliance Nelson plant.

City council chief executive Pat Dougherty on Tuesday said there seemed to be ‘‘some doubt’’ about whether that $5m was committed but an agreement could be negotiated to address those concerns before financial close.

Dougherty stressed any decision to provide TDC with water would be for the city council to make; he was simply outlining what would likely be in a staff report for his council to consider.

‘‘Fifteen years [provision of water to Richmond] could turn into 71⁄2.’’

The city council could provide Richmond about 5000 cubic metres a day but if that supply was on a long-term sustainable basis, the system would need to be upgraded, which a ‘‘quick, provisional guesstimate’’ indicated could cost $20m to $25m. If that upgrade was brought forward, the recommendation was likely to be that TDC carried most of that cost, Dougherty said.

Also, in a severe drought, Nelson residents would get the first call on water; Richmond would be the first to be turned off. In addition, if the dam did not proceed and there was a moratorium on growth on the Waimea Plains, Nelson city might expect its growth rate to climb.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 14 September 2018)

Extra classrooms for packed school

A Nelson primary school says fears of continued overcrowding have been allayed by news that it will get two new classrooms.

The Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, announced on Thursday that Nelson Central was among eight South Island schools being given a share of $8 million of government funding to address roll growth pressure.

The announcement came as a relief, principal Pip Wells said.

‘‘It gives some certainty that we can provide the sort of education that we want to be able to provide for all the students that have a right to come to Nelson Central.’’

With more than 500 students, the school was well over capacity and using ‘‘every inch of space’’, Wells said.

‘‘We’ve re-purposed a book room, we’ve taken all the books out and made that into a junior temporary classroom for term 4.

The situation was less than ideal, with the only ‘‘reasonable’’ breakout space now the library, Wells said. ‘‘And that’s over utilised as you can imagine with 22-plus classrooms.’’

Construction on two new classrooms, already in the pipeline, was about to begin.

Having two more on top of that, went a long way towards managing roll growth, Wells said.

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 15 September 2018)

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