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the DESK of: Rehette Stoltz, Deputy Mayor

Rehette Stoltz

Hello and welcome to my monthly catch-up about a little bit of everything Gisborne... 

Scroll down for previous months articles from Rehette...

 

 



JULY 2017

 

GDC Gisborne District Council

I am sure that no will argue with me that Council agendas are usually on the boring side. Not this time around!

 

 

 

 I can assure you that every single item on our Future Tairawhiti agenda for this Thursday is interesting, very important and possibly controversial. I will mention a few, but for more detail, download the agenda from the GDC website, or consult the hard copy in the GDC foyer.

 
We start off by looking at the Makauri Aquifer Recharge (MAR) trial currently happening. Staff is recommending future trials to answer all questions posed. Funding and governance options for a full Managed Aquifer Recharge are still being investigated.

 
As part of our preparation for our 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan, GDC is required to prepare a 30-year Infrastructure Strategy. We focus on the 3 waters (stormwater, wastewater and our drinking and irrigation water supplies), as well as on our flood protection (Waipaoa Flood Control, Ruatoria River Protection as well as Coastal Hazards Protection). Our Community Facilities are currently being reviewed and will be included at a later stage.

 
Questions in regards to our water supplies that we will ask are: Should we look into water metering and charging for residential properties? Should we look at our water storage capacity and plan to maybe enlarge the Sang Dam to its original capacity or should we consider building a new dam in future? This is also where the MAR comes in when we look at future irrigation security and protecting our water sources.

 
We will also ask if we should re-look at reticulation at Wainui and/or Makaraka and what that would mean for property owners as well as consider our ability to accommodate them in our current systems. We also ask questions about water and wastewater options for our townships. In regards to protection, several options are considered to protect our fertile agricultural soils, Ruatoria township as well as our coastal communities.

 
We are all aware of our city stormwater inundation and its effect on our ability to pipe our wastewater effectively to the treatment plant in very wet conditions.  Our current DrainWise project, that will aim to address our stormwater issues, is still being updated and streamlined by staff, and will be included at a later stage. In this report we look at options to reduce/illuminate our dry weather overflows.

 
How we treat and dispose of our Wastewater will be workshopped by Councillors after our meeting and we will consider the 3 options put forward by the Wastewater Options Review Group (WORG). We have to decide what options we will take to our community for consultation. We have several health, cultural and consent issues to take into account and balance that with our community’s ability to pay for it. For a thorough history on how we got to where we are today in regards to our wastewater, read Sheridan Gundry’s book, A Splendid Isolation, page 51-58.

 
We will take a look at possible options presented by Locales for the Observatory on Kaiti Hill and last but not least, we will discuss with the Tairawhiti Roads team, possible options to change the way we rate for different road users.

 
Possible options include reviewing and possibly adjusting our rating differentials to realistically reflect the impact of forestry (and other road users) on our roads as well as investigating the feasibility of a supplementary forestry levy for all logs collected at the port.

 
We have our work cut out for us. Please let us know your thoughts on these very important issues as we work towards making these decisions together as a community.


 JUNE 2017

GDC Gisborne District CouncilThis week it is ‘all go’ at Council. We have our four committee meetings on Wednesday and Thursday and Councillors have about a thousand pages to read! So if you were looking for your local representatives this past weekend, and couldn’t get hold of them, you know they were probably busy working their way through the massive amount of reading!

The agendas cover a very large body of work, and instead of listing them all here, I will pick one from each agenda and elaborate a bit. For a full list of agenda items, please visit the GDC website – the agendas are available to the public two days before the meetings.


The Community Development and Services committee has been tasked with the huge job of evaluating the state of our Community Facilities. 

GDC staff has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to put the basic bones together of our future Community Facilities Strategy. Once developed, consulted on and researched, the strategy will provide clear guidance on what facilities we currently have, how well (or bad) they have been maintained, and how we should manage them going into the future. We have a vast range of facilities that we enjoy and need to look after and part of this review is to make sure that what we have are still fit for purpose now and going into the future.

The proposed criteria take into account issues like financial and environmental sustainability, accessibility, community wellbeing as well as hubbing. Hubbing, where different organisations or sports clubs will use the same, shared facilities is the way forward to ensure the sustainability of clubs.


The vast majority of the Environmental Planning and Regulations agenda deals with minor plan changes to streamline our plans. Plans are very important guideline tools that shape everything that we do from looking after our reserves to planning for future developments, so it is important to make sure that our Plans are current and relevant to our community and environment.

 
We also receive an information paper about the potential detrimental effects to our native trees with the arrival of Myrtle Rust (MR) fungi to New Zealand. We will have to consider a new budget and funding to support the management and monitoring if MR is detected near our region. The presence of Myrtle rust in our region can have an adverse impact on our local economy, particularly the Manuka honey industry.


In the Finance and Audit committee, we consider the Statement of Intent from our holding company, Gisborne Holdings Limited (GHL). It is a 22-page document outlining their performance targets, distribution to GDC ($1.5M p/a), as well as their growth strategies and capital expenditure. We have a very good working relationship with the GHL directors and their aim is to grow their/our assets and generate more money for GDC and ultimately that will decrease our rates take every year.


Our last committee meeting, the Assets and Infrastructure committee takes a look at all our Regional bridges. All up, 280 of our 335 regional bridges and large culverts have been inspected and evaluated to see if they can accommodate at least 44 tonnes (Class 1), and up to now, it has been assumed that all our regional bridges have that capacity. Seven bridges failed the assessment and new weight restrictions have been signposted or bypass routes established where possible.

We also need to ascertain which bridges can accommodate the new, bigger High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV) that carry larger forestry loads. The HPMV trucks are designed to take larger loads and thus decrease the number of truck movements on our roads.

 


MaY 2017

GDC Gisborne District CouncilWe had a busy time at Council last week. We had our 6-weekly committee meetings and over two days, we covered most operations of Council.
This was extensively reported on in the Herald during the week.

This coming week we have no official meetings, but we have a full day workshop on Thursday covering topics like Economic Development and Spatial Planning. Talking about Economic Development. It makes sense for the Eastland Community Trust (ECT) to take Activate Tairawhiti (AT) under its wing.

Let me give you a little bit of background on how we got to where we are now.
 
The Chamber of Commerce made a submission to Council at our Annual Plan Hearings in May 2014 urging Council and ECT to establish an economic development agency.

Up to then, Council were mainly promoting economic development in-house. Both Council and ECT agreed with the Chamber that the region needed a fresh start, with Council and ECT collaborating to establish and fund a dedicated entity to take the lead in our region’s economic development.

Both entities agreed that even though a considerable resource and goodwill have been invested to kick-start economic development in our region in the past, the returns did not match the investment.

Both parties signed on the dotted line and Activate Tairawhiti was born.
AT would report to GDC and ECT on their progress.

AT were assigned two major tasks. Develop the region’s economy as well as support business.

Their job would be to encourage and support economic development for our region, look for opportunities and enhance regional promotion, business development and investment.

Activate Tairawhiti has been busy in the past 3 years. One of their first projects was to initiate and negotiate the establishment of Mindlab in Gisborne. Mindlabs are usually reserved for bigger centres, but they were successful, with assistance from ECT, to secure (alongside Wellington), to be the second venue after Auckland and now every student and teacher in our region have access to world-leading digital learning.

AT identified that there were a lot to gain in wood processing and investigated and negotiated with Wood Engineering Technology (WET) and ECT a $9.4m joint-venture, which will turn lower-grade logs into high-value structural lumber and could create 120 direct jobs over the long term.

They were also succesful in signing a MOU with Air New Zealand to promote our region and make sure we do our best to secure the future of our very important air corridors. They attracted  investment from several organisations – including matchfunding from AirNZ of GDC’s $150k investment, as well as a marketing investment of over $1M from ECT. I mention a few projects – feel free to visit AT’s website to take a look at everything they do.
 
From the examples I noted above, it is clear that AT and ECT have worked alongside each other since 2014 in most projects and this next step of ECT absorbing AT and its functions is a natural progression. 

Both organisations are committed to enhancing the economic development of the Tairawhiti and working as one makes perfect sense. Council used to fund this activity in-house and then transferred the money allocated for economic development to AT in 2014.

Council is committed to being part of AT’s funding going forward and reporting on Activate Tairawhiti’s progress will now be via ECT as per our updated MOU.

 

 

March /APRIL 2017

GDC Gisborne District Council

 

We had a busy time at Council last week. We had our 6-weekly committee meetings and over two days, we covered most operations of Council.

This was extensively reported on in the Herald during the week.

 

This coming week we have no official meetings, but we have a full day workshop on Thursday covering topics like Economic Development and Spatial Planning. Talking about Economic Development. It makes sense for the Eastland Community Trust (ECT) to take Activate Tairawhiti (AT) under its wing.

 

Let me give you a little bit of background on how we got to where we are now.

 

The Chamber of Commerce made a submission to Council at our Annual Plan Hearings in May 2014 urging Council and ECT to establish an economic development agency.

 

Up to then, Council were mainly promoting economic development in-house. Both Council and ECT agreed with the Chamber that the region needed a fresh start, with Council and ECT collaborating to establish and fund a dedicated entity to take the lead in our region’s economic development.

 

Both entities agreed that even though a considerable resource and goodwill have been invested to kick-start economic development in our region in the past, the returns did not match the investment.

 

Both parties signed on the dotted line and Activate Tairawhiti was born.

AT would report to GDC and ECT on their progress.

 

AT were assigned two major tasks. Develop the region’s economy as well as support business.

 

Their job would be to encourage and support economic development for our region, look for opportunities and enhance regional promotion, business development and investment.

 

Activate Tairawhiti has been busy in the past 3 years. One of their first projects was to initiate and negotiate the establishment of Mindlab in Gisborne. Mindlabs are usually reserved for bigger centres, but they were successful, with assistance from ECT, to secure (alongside Wellington), to be the second venue after Auckland and now every student and teacher in our region have access to world-leading digital learning.

 

AT identified that there were a lot to gain in wood processing and investigated and negotiated with Wood Engineering Technology (WET) and ECT a $9.4m joint-venture, which will turn lower-grade logs into high-value structural lumber and could create 120 direct jobs over the long term.

 

They were also succesful in signing a MOU with Air New Zealand to promote our region and make sure we do our best to secure the future of our very important air corridors. They attracted  investment from several organisations – including matchfunding from AirNZ of GDC’s $150k investment, as well as a marketing investment of over $1M from ECT. I mention a few projects – feel free to visit AT’s website to take a look at everything they do.

 

From the examples I noted above, it is clear that AT and ECT have worked alongside each other since 2014 in most projects and this next step of ECT absorbing AT and its functions is a natural progression.  

 

Both organisations are committed to enhancing the economic development of the Tairawhiti and working as one makes perfect sense. Council used to fund this activity in-house and then transferred the money allocated for economic development to AT in 2014.

 

Council is committed to being part of AT’s funding going forward and reporting on Activate Tairawhiti’s progress will now be via ECT as per our updated MOU.

 

I love the old saying:

Good things come to those who wait. I experienced it first-hand recently when we officially blessed and closed the "old" library, with builders getting ready to kick off the renovations in mid-March. Woohoo.

The first major project I became involved in when I joined the council at the end of 2010 was the redevelopment of the H.B. Williams Memorial Library. The project was already on the books for several years back then, following the generous bequests by the Stanley Green Estate, Hannah Dunlop Estate and the Jessie Iris Jeffreys Estate, but no firm plans were in place. I was new to local government and frustrated by the apparent lack of progress. Since then I have learned that you need a good dose of patience in a slow-moving regime.

The H.B. Williams Memorial library is a much-loved establishment and is one of the most used council facilities, with up to 5000 visitors a week. Our library is so much more than just a depository for books. It is a hub where friends meet, where  students do their research and where our kids learn how to love books, master reading and develop a thirst for learning. I take my two boys to the library every second Friday, and I can see that our library is bursting at the seams - and that this redevelopment will be loved and welcomed by all library users.

The library has had a long history by New Zealand standards. It first opened in 1869 as the Turanga Library, in a room in the courthouse. Patrons came by horseback or boat to the district and there were no roads overland. The library moved to several sites as its popularity grew. In 1967, the land and buildings for the existing public library in Peel Street were donated by the Williams family in memory of Heathcote Beetham Williams and the H.B. Williams Memorial Library was established, much as we know it today. The Williams family is still very involved with the library project and made another generous donation to assist in the redevelopment.

My favourite part of the library is the beautiful stained glass window currently occupying the back wall. Unveiled in 1993, the window measures nearly 40 square metres. Steve Hutton designed this artwork and 95 percent of the glass is hand-blown, handmade glass. Local kaumatua monitored the construction, ensuring the window was historically and spiritually correct. The design depicts the passage of time and development of Tairawhiti from volcanic origins to present day. Midway through the design is an impression of Te Toka a Taiau, a rock symbolising the boundary that lies between the Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata iwi. Crystal and shards of gemstones have been incorporated into the window. Next time you visit the library, make sure to take a closer look. The stained glass window will have a suitably prominent spot in the new foyer of the refurbished library.

The library services are moving to the old Gilmores building in Awapuni Road for the construction period. Staff and professional movers are relocating the majority of the books and computers and, from March 6, we will have a fully functional library service again. If you use the bus to get to the library, make sure to check the changes that have been incorporated into the bus route to accommodate the new venue. If all goes well, we will open the doors to the new, refurbished H.B. Williams Memorial Library in early 2018. Exciting times ahead.

 


January / February 2017

GDC Gisborne District Council

It is back to business at Council this week.

I hope that everyone had some time off in the past month and that they had the opportunity to relax with friends and family. On Thursday, Council has its first official meeting for 2017.

It is a Future Tairawhiti meeting where we discuss big-ticket items and take a helicopter view of all of Council's projects and responsibilities. It is great to start off our year this way - reviewing how and why we do what we do. We will cover a broad range of subjects.

First up on the agenda - we are starting work on our 2018-2028 Long Term Plan. Council officers are already work hard behind the scenes to get the timeframes sorted and signed off in order for us to get this massive piece of work ready to present to our community for feedback in early 2018 and formal sign-off at the of June 2018. We will be asking for your input and feedback regularly throughout this process, so let us know if you have any great ideas on how to make our place even better.

We will be updated on our Cycleways programme, our In-House Gardening transition (it had a bumpy start), our Regional Transport Plan (2018-2028) as well as our proposed Uni-Plan. We will also have two workshops after our meeting. We will have a Finance workshop to alert us early on in the Ten Year Plan process on what projects we are committed to at this stage and what budgetary constraints there might be to consider.

We will also have a workshop to discuss and brainstorm the Waikanae to Waipaoa Land Use. Council has been looking at this area for a long time and we have received several suggestions from the public about what they would like to see in this beautiful, prime location.

The only agenda item that might ruffle a few feathers is the proposed Interim Boat Trailer Parking solution. Council staff has been working with stakeholders - boat owners, business owners, the Port Company and the wider public - to find a temporary solution to ease the congestion around the Shed Three area during the busy summer period. Safety concerns around the mixed-use area has been an ongoing concern for all users.

To put it simply - in the area directly in front of the boat ramp, there is not enough space to accommodate a large amount of boat trailers as well as the cars from the commercials businesses that occupy Shed Three. Everyone agrees that it is a shared space. Boat users feel strongly that it is the only area in Gisborne to let you boat in the water, and that the area should be prioritised for this use.

Council has been working with designers and the Inner Harbour stakeholder group to come up with a workable solution to temporarily address the parking concerns while the larger project - The Inner Harbour project - are completed. The expectation is that the completed Inner Harbour project would address the concerns of all users and design the area appropriately to accommodate the needs of all users.

But in the meantime, a temporary solution is on the cards, but not all users are happy with what is proposed.  So it might be a case of going back to the drawing board again to work on a temporary solution that have buy-in from all users.

 

 


 

December 2016

 

GDC Gisborne District Council

It has been a bumpy ride in local politics lately.

 

Everyone involved experienced this recent election as a super-charged, stressful time – I for one are happy that the next one is a good three years away!  

 

Then voting day arrived and we had to bid farewell to some of our colleagues who weren’t re-elected or retired, and last, but not least, we had to welcome a group of newcomers to the inner circle.

 

It would be fair to say that it wasn’t all smooth sailing this past 6 weeks since the election either, but we put all that behind us late last week when we got together for two very successful induction days.

 

New, as well as seasoned Councillors, worked side by side to share their visions and dreams and aspirations and to define our combined strategic direction for our lovely region. Aside from the obvious planning outcomes from these days, we all got to know each other better, socialise a bit and focus on our individual, as well as our collective strengths.

 

My feeling is that it shaped us as a team who are all keen to paddle our waka in the same direction. It was also a good time to get to know the newbies better. Karen, Malcolm and Shannon impressed me and all three are passionate, eager to learn and ready to get to work.

 

Well, this week, they will get a taste of what Council is really about. Between the four Committee agendas, they have 538 pages to absorb and make sense of, but I am sure that they will be ready with their contributions come committee time.

 

Feel free to pop in to our meetings at the Cozzie Club this Wednesday and Thursday. Most parts of the meetings are open to the public – the meeting schedule is on the GDC website.

 

Large parts of the agendas will be business as usual, but there are several activity reports to inform the new Councillors of what their committees are responsible for. Jeremy gave a broad overview of most agenda items on Saturday, so I will focus on a couple that I think will be of interest.

 

 

From the Environmental Planning and Regulations agenda, the item that will interest nearly every resident is the CBD Parking Policy option paper.

 

There was a public outcry when GDC doubled the parking fees to $2/hour a couple of years ago. Even though it is not high compared to other centres, it was a general feeling amongst residents that it was too high for Gisborne.

 

Anecdotal evidence by shop owners claim that the high parking fees are keeping their customers away and that it contributes to a dying CBD.

 

So Council officers are investigating options ranging from free parking, the first hour free, a maximum of $1.50/hour or sticking to the status quo. Consultation with the public will happen in the next couple of months, so watch this space.

 

Another item that features on the Assets and Infrastructure Committee agenda is the “Safe Systems Approach to Roading” and this report investigate and prioritise concerns raised by residents about the safety of their neighbourhood streets.

 

A good example is Lytton Road/ Potae Street intersection and another one is the Childers Road-Roebuck Road intersection. The committee will receive an update on these projects and the team from Tairawhiti Roads will be there to present their report.

 

These concerns are part of the bigger roading picture and will get ranked against other priorities.  Not an easy task for the committee members when you have several very worthy contenders vying for the same pot of money.