Our wrap-up: Plans for SH25A, caring for our coast, and SMP update
Published on 12 May 2023
The latest from Mayor Len
I’m sure by now you are all aware of the big news this week - the long-awaited announcement from Transport and Recovery Minister for the Coromandel Michael Wood that a steel bridge will be built to reconnect Kōpu-Hikuai SH25A, with an estimated completion date of early 2024. Read more about our road to recovery and the announcement here.
I know we’ve all been anxious that the fastest option be chosen to get this vital lifeline reopened – the impact on our Coromandel communities and businesses has been huge. So it was reassuring to be present, and to hear that speed and resilience were top of mind in the government’s decision, and that the bridge would provide a resilient solution to connect the Coromandel "in the shortest time possible".
That’s surely a key milestone in our journey to get our communities and our economy back to some semblance of normality. I’ve felt the pain and frustration you’ve all experienced since the road was closed in late January, and the toll it has taken on your businesses and the cost of living. We’ve been waiting a long time to have certainty around the government’s plans to reconnect the Coromandel, and with a target completion date of early 2024, we now have some much-needed reassurance.
While it’s been humbling to see businesses, communities, friends and neighbours all rallying around to help each other, there’s still a long way to go before it’s business as usual. I was able to remind the government that we still need their support and will do for some time to come.
I was especially pleased to hear Minister Wood commit to continuing to work with Coromandel communities and businesses through his Community Advisory Group, to explore how the government could provide further support.
I’d also like to share that Tapu-Coroglen road should be open to light vehicles next month – weather depending - providing some extra connectivity across the Coromandel. We’re also working on a permanent repair to the Tapu-Coroglen road that is expected to be completed in December. You can read more at tcdc.govt.nz/roads.
Last but not least, it was heartening to hear that central government has confirmed an additional $25 million of business recovery support in the regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. About $4.3 million has been allocated to our Council to administer on behalf of the Waikato region. We’ll be distributing this over the next fortnight as soon as our Independent Panel signs it off.
King Charles III Coronation
Ka rawe! The coronation of King Charles III was marked in Thames with a native tree planting at Victoria Park on Saturday 6 May led by Mayor Len Salt, attended by community members and elected members.
Pictured right: Eight-year-old Max Tyson from Te Puru School, with his mum Nikki Cameron, shook hands with Mayor Len to commemorate the historic moment.
We need your help in caring for our Coast
In the successive storms we’ve had recently, sand dunes have done their job, acting as a sacrificial barrier between the ocean and the land. We need volunteers to help with upcoming planting days across the district, including the two-day Pāuanui Plantathon this weekend.
Digging in the sand is quite easy and dune restoration can be enjoyable and rewarding. You'll be doing your bit for our native plants and animals and working with like-minded locals who care about the environment. All you need to bring is covered sturdy footwear, suitable clothing, gardening gloves and your favourite spade.
Pāuanui: (times subject to change depending upon how many volunteers turn up)
- Saturday 13 May, 9am-12noon and 12.30pm-3pm. Meet at beach access #9 - Northern end of Champion Place or south end Jacksons Claim.
For more information go to tcdc.govt.nz/dunes.
What’s next with our Annual Plan
Our Council has completed the submission process and hearings on our draft Annual Plan.
We had more than 180 submissions, and 32 submitters also spoke regarding their submissions at the Council hearings on Wednesday 26 April.
A strong theme that came through was budget for improved road resilience and stormwater works, and this also continues to be a key focus for our Council. A desire for a lower rates increase and feedback around kerbside collection pricing were also popular themes.
Council will deliberate on submissions on Wednesday 17 May and will adopt the final Annual Plan on Tuesday 27 June. We’ll be keeping everyone in the loop. Our communities can stay up to date at tcdc.govt.nz/annualplan2023.
Regional Banking Hub opening in Whangamatā
The Regional Banking Hubs trial is expanding, and a new hub is opening in Whangamatā.
The Hubs is a joint initiative by the six biggest retail banks in Aotearoa New Zealand to provide services to their customers under one roof, including deposits and withdrawals, phone and internet banking, and the ability to meet with a representative from your bank.
This hub is looking to fill a part-time role for a Regional Banking Hub Concierge. The Concierge plays a vital role in assisting customers, booking appointments, and providing customers with a welcoming and supportive experience. The Concierge will not be required to recommend bank-specific products or provide financial advice.
If you are interested in this role, head to SEEK to find out more.
Update on SMP implementation
The Shoreline Management governance prioritisation group met last week, as it begins work on implementing recommendations from the project.
The three-year Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) work identified our Coromandel communities’ preferred pathways of action to improve resilience to the effects of climate change.
The new governance group is now moving to prioritise and implement projects from those pathways.
The group’s structure continues our Council’s productive and positive partnership with Pare Hauraki, and also includes two representatives from Waikato Regional Council.
“The decisions and the pathways from the SMP have been adopted, we’re not revisiting those. What this group is doing is deciding how and when to roll out the work related to those,” explained project lead Amon Martin.
“Not all of the pathways require us to do something immediately, but 89 of them do require action in the short term, and so that’s what we’ll be prioritising first.”
The group will use a dual factor assessment process which considers both the urgency of projects and their importance in relation to social, environmental, economic, community and tangata whenua criteria.
It will then make recommendations on action to our Council for adoption and funding considerations at a district, regional and central government level.
“We’re seeing regional and central agencies building strategic responses to climate change based on evidence,” says our Mayor Len Salt. “The shoreline project has given us truckloads of evidence; our governance group is now prioritising the projects, and we’ll use that process to put forward a strong case for the funding and resources to take action where it’s needed first in our district.”
The scoping and prioritisation phase is expected to be completed by the group this calendar year, and the results will help inform Council’s 2024 Long Term Plan.
For more information go to tcdc.govt.nz/smp.
It's almost dog rego time: Update your information
Dog registration time is fast approaching. Now is the time to make sure your information is up to date so we are sending reminder notices and important information to the right address.
If you've moved or other circumstances have changed, you can update this information online quickly and easily.
NEMA's Cyclone Recovery Unit weekly update
The Government continues to work closely with regions, including ours, affected by recent weather events and our recovery efforts. See the latest summaries from the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Transport/Waka Kotahi.
It's Road Safety Week 15-21 May and our Council is part of the Fatigue Campaign launching across the East Waikato.
We'll be running small pop-up fatigue stops in conjunction with More FM from 8-26 May. You can also book a free driver refresher course for your business or organisation.
Fatigue is a danger for us all, we all get tired at various times during the day depending on what is going on in our lives.
After recent weather events many of us are driving longer distances with delays en route, and driving is a very complex activity.
This is your opportunity to think about what you do to realise you are fatigued. What are your fatigue signs? What can you do to help with fatigue? Simple actions like packing a water bottle and snacks can help.
Our road safety partners and the NZ Police will also be focusing on fatigue across the East Waikato and running their own fatigue stops. You may be given an official fatigue campaign drink bottle.
Join our local two-hour pop-up events to find out more:
- Tuesday 23 May – Whitianga, Sports Complex carpark at Moewai Park from 10am-12 noon
- Friday 26 May – Coromandel Town, Woollams Ave carpark (outside the Playcentre) from 10am-12 noon (new date due to poor weather this week)
Your business or organisation can also book a free driver refresher course which includes the fatigue campaign. Call us on 07 868 0200 to find out more and make a booking.
This is a reminder that instalment three of the 2022/2023 rates is due on Monday 15 May. If you haven’t received your instalment invoice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request one.
Please could you also check we've got your correct postal details (and correct any mistakes or omissions) online.
Kōpū Marine Servicing and Business Precinct
A 3D image (above) has been prepared by Herons subcontractors to assist with construction methodology. Have a look at how the whole precinct will look when finished. Find out more about this project at tcdc.govt.nz/kopu.
Te Kouma Slip
Our roading team has carried out a geotechnical assessment of the slip. At present the slip is continuing to move after every rainfall event with no indication of it stabilising.
The current intention is to replace the earthworks bund around the toe of the slip with concrete barriers on Monday 15 May that will be more resistant to washout, collect slip material and allow it to dry out in situ before removal. This should reduce the number of closures due to further slips across the road.
At this time we cannot predict when the slip may stabilise, or when permanent repairs can be carried out.
Coromandel Rural North Kerbside collection update
Coromandel Rural North Kerbside Collections:
Council has confirmed the alternative arrangements for kerbside collections. Starting next week, rubbish and recycling collections in these areas will be serviced on different days, by Coastal Bins Limited.
- Rubbish (blue bags): Weekly collection on Mondays, starting Monday 15 May
- Recycling wheelie bins: Fortnightly collection on Fridays – from Friday 19 May and fortnightly thereafter
- Glass crates: Fortnightly collection on a Friday - from Friday 26 May and fortnightly thereafter
- These changes are for the entire Coromandel Rural North area, including Port Charles and Waitete Bay.
- For safety reasons our contractor’s staff will only collect recyclable glass presented in a Council-approved crate. If you need to purchase a crate or have a broken crate requiring replacement, please visit one of our Council offices.
- Coastal Bins collection trucks will go in the direction of Kennedy Bay to Port Charles, then Colville. We need all customers to place their rubbish and/or recycling kerbside by 7.30am on what will be the left side of the road for the trucks as they drive that route.
We know that having rubbish and recycling collections on different days is a change from what customers may be used to, but we appreciate your understanding. tcdc.govt.nz/kerbside
Local Council Road updates
*If any other significant updates due to weather
Port Charles Road will be open/closed as per the following times on Saturday 13 May (weather permitting) for rehabilitation work:
- 7.30am to 11.30am – road closed
- 11.30am to 12.30pm – road open
- 12.30pm to 4.30pm – road closed
- 4.30pm to 7.30am – road open
The back-up day for this work is Monday 15 May 2023 should bad weather require the work to be postponed.
Waka Kotahi State Highway updates
Waka Kotahi/NZTA is scheduling some SH25 closures for various work:
Kereta Hill (south of Manaia) – Sunday 14 May to Tuesday 16 May, overnight closures from 8pm to 11pm and midnight to 5am. From 1090 Thames Coast Rd (flat bit just before hill) to 713 Manaia Rd (Ohoni Stream Bridge).
The Moana Anu Anu Bridge (also known as the Wentworth River Bridge) on the outskirts of Whangamatā will be closed 7am-5pm Wednesday 17 May and Friday 9 June.
Read Waka Kotahi's latest update here.
Visit Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency here.
What's on in the Coromandel?
NZ Trio are performing a special concert in Whitianga, Saturday 13 May. Bursting with colour, this concert features the works of past masters, Mozart and Brahms, with the 21st Century sounds of Arvo Pärt and New Zealand composer Gareth Farr.
Find out more, including other upcoming events here.
Are you local government material? Start your career at Council
We're looking for people with ability and passion to create sustainable change in our community. As one of the largest employers in our district, we offer a diverse range of career opportunities.
Why choose Thames-Coromandel?
The Coromandel offers breathtaking scenery, golden beaches and remarkable rainforests. Our district offers a peaceful, restorative atmosphere with plenty of opportunities for adventure. Our district is only 90 minutes from the big cities: Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton, close enough for a regular commute, but far enough for a complete change of pace. That sets our district apart.
Water Services Field Representative - Reporting to the Water Services Manager, this Whangamatā-based position administers and monitors the performance of the Three Waters Operations and Maintenance Contract and other Three Waters services as appropriate.
Utilities Engineer - If you are a civil engineer, have experience in Three Waters asset management and service delivery, the ability to develop relationships with a broad range of people, we would love you to come and join us.
See more here.
Dogs looking for new homes
We have two dogs available for adoption:
- 12-month-old male pup (pictured left): neat, playful nature, but gentle as well.
- An adorable brindle female (pictured right): around 2-years-old, who has a quiet gentle temperament, extremely patient, loves a pat and affection.
Council and Community Board updates
Check out the highlights from our Mercury Bay and Thames Community Board meetings.
At its recent meeting, our Mercury Bay Community Board was updated on the big projects in the area.
Sherriff Block development - Despite delays from Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle much work on the stormwater drainage for the site and earthworks for the concert venue has been achieved. tcdc.govt.nz/sherriffblockdevelopment
New Whitianga Refuse Transfer Station - The project is being paused for a review due to challenges around contractor availability, supply chain issues, increases in costs of materials, site conditions and wet weather. A plan to move forward with the project should be in place by June. tcdc.govt.nz/MBRTS
Matarangi Wastewater Treatment Plan upgrade - Waikato Regional Council has not yet set a date for the hearing on our Council’s Resource Consent application for the plant’s discharge of treated wastewater. In the meantime, upgrades to the current site are increasing the existing plant’s capacity.
Whitianga South Highway dust issue - We’ve been working to resolve a number of factors around the issue of dust raised by commercial activities, with several options being considered. We expect to be able to report details to the Mercury Bay Community Board at their June meeting at which time we will provide an update for residents of the area.
The Thames Community Board met this week, find the full agenda here.
Easement Proposal - 31A Patui Avenue, Ngārimu Bay - The Board recommended to Council that it grant an easement to the Ngārimu Bay Water Supply Society Limited to convey water over fee simple land located at 31a Patui Avenue, Ngārimu Bay, Thames Coast. The Board also recommended a one-off charge of $1000 plus GST be paid to Council for the grant of the easement. Additional cost may be incurred by the society for Council legal services.
New Lease - Part 395 Ngāti Maru Highway, Thames - Thames Airfield - The Board recommended to Council that it approve a Deed of Lease with the Thames Clay Target Club Incorporated for part of the Thames Airfield land located at 395 Ngāti Maru Highway, Thames. The Deed of Lease will commence on 1 July 2023 for a term of 10 years.
Pollen Street Infrastructure Upgrade - The ground-penetrating radar report has been received and further geotech investigation works are planned following report findings. Aerial drone surveys are planned to take place in May to gather further spatial data of the roading corridor.
Totara Valley Road – The Tender period for the road-widening construction of has been extended by two weeks, now due to end on 26 May. Construction is expected to begin in September or October depending on weather.
Kōpū Marine Servicing and Business Precinct - The target date for the opening of the whole precinct is May 2024. For the most recent updates on this project, visit www.tcdc.govt.nz/kopu
Thames Sub-regional Aquatic Facilities Project and Thames Sports Partnership Project – A consultant has begun research in the Hauraki District following a resolution to widen the scope for the Aquatics Facility project. The steering group will meet again on 30 May and technical assessments will begin on possible sites and options for consideration for both aquatic and sports facilities.
Due to lack of business the Coromandel-Colville, Whangamatā and Tairua-Pāuanui Community Board meetings have been cancelled.
Rubbish and recycling changes ahead
Household kerbside collections are changing from 1 September 2023.
- Instead of blue bags you’ll get a new 140-litre wheelie bin for rubbish which’ll be collected fortnightly.
- You’ll also get a new 25-litre bin for food scraps which’ll be collected weekly.
- Recycling will be collected fortnightly from your glass crates and mixed recycling wheelie bin.
- All Council Refuse Transfer Stations will be open seven days a week.