Our wrap-up: Tapu-Coroglen Rd update and Annual Plan deliberations
Published on 19 May 2023
The latest from Mayor Len
This week, our Council deliberated on all the public feedback we received on our proposed Annual Plan budget for 2023/24.
Remember back in March/April, we went out with a proposed average rate increase of 11.4 per cent in our consultation document, which was before we had a better understanding of the financial impact of storm recovery.
Your feedback and submissions helped shaped some constructive discussions around the Council table – alongside the knowledge that we have to create some space in our next financial year’s budget to get things like our roads fixed – and prepare that we may still have further large-scale weather events over winter.
So with some further financial reforecasting and modelling – and with your feedback – we’ve reshaped our capital and operation expenses further, and we’re now looking at a final average rate increase of 11.6 per cent. See the full report here.
Some points to note:
- To accommodate storm recovery projects, we considered deferring all budget for the Tōtara Valley Road service extension project but instead endorsed retaining a lower level of budget for roading and stormwater to keep up some momentum.
- We’ve endorsed reintroducing some budget for Whangamatā Nib kerb construction and for the design process of the Hāhei wastewater extension.
- We have re-directed the allocation of Community Boards Grants funding from Contestable to Discretionary. The total budget available has been reduced in line with our need to achieve savings across the board. This has resulted in a saving of $160,500 across the district, however the process for community groups will be simpler with more direct engagement at Community Board level. Our Economic Development team will be supporting Community Groups to help access alternative funding sources which takes some of the pressure off ratepayer and council budgets.
- It was good to see some wide-ranging discussion about the pricing for our new Kerbside rubbish services, starting on 1 September. We had mixed opinions among our Council, but came together to endorse Option 2. This is the pre-paid, Pay As You Throw system costing $8 including GST, per 140L bin empty and a targeted solid waste rate increase of 76 per cent. For me, this was my favoured option, as it gave us the right balance between accommodating both our resident and non-resident ratepayers.
You can read the recommendations proposed in our Annual Plan Consultation Document here.
Also our proposed Schedule of Fees and Charges here.
I also want to thank Council staff for all the hours – and the late nights – behind the scenes that have gone into the annual plan process. As you might expect, it’s always challenging to strike just the right balance between what we’re delivering as a Council and paying for services our communities want and expect – especially when the cost of living and of delivering our services is escalating.
And as I sign off for the week - don’t forget today is Pink Shirt Day. This is such a great way to celebrate our diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to stand against bullying by promoting kindness, inclusion and encouragement.
Photo: Jacob Palu (back - Customer Services Representative - CSR), Kura Hart (front - CSR), Joanne Haakma (back, CSR), Nicole Thorburn (front - Librarian, Thames), Rachel Ellis (back - CSR), Gaylene Sloane (back - Rates Officer), Donna Holland (Group Manager Corporate Services), and our Mayor Len Salt.
Tapu-Coroglen Road repair update
The formation of a new, much larger slip above the existing underslip on the Tapu-Coroglen Road has caused work on a temporary diversion around the underslip to be put on hold for safety reasons.
There are concerns that further excavation to create a temporary diversion route may cause this new slip to collapse onto the road.
Additional geotechnical investigations are being completed in the next week with a view to re-designing the temporary works if possible. These will also inform the design of the permanent works for repair that are now being reviewed to see if they can be brought forward to permanently reopen the road ahead of the anticipated date of December 2023. In the interim, the Tapu-Coroglen Road will remain closed until further notice.
We would like to remind motorists to obey the signage and barriers preventing vehicles driving through this closed section of the Tapu-Coroglen Road. The risks of slips and/or collapse are real and may occur without warning.
Bylaws adopted by Council
Our updated Dog Control Policy and Bylaw came into effect on Thursday 18 May 2023, after they were adopted by Council at its meeting on Tuesday this week.
In addition, our Council adopted amended bylaws for Activities in Public Places and Advertising and Signs, both to come into effect on 23 June 2023.
Find out more
Cyclone Recovery Implementation Plan introduced to Council
A Recovery Plan for our district is under development, which will now help guide the medium and long-term social, economic, infrastructure and environmental rebuilding of the Coromandel following extreme weather events, including Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle.
Progress on the plan was detailed at the Council meeting this week.
“We’re still dealing with 110 slip sites, saturated ground conditions and temporary traffic arrangements causing longer travel times for thousands of residents,” says Stephen Town, our Recovery Lead. “At the same time as we’re working through our recovery, livelihoods, businesses, homes and environments on and around the district will continue to be under threat from further storm events."
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.
Public Health Warning: Shellfish Biotoxin
New Zealand Food Safety has extended the public health warning currently in place against collecting shellfish from the Western Firth of Thames area.
The area now includes the entire Firth of Thames up to a line from Raukura Point across to Deadmans Point. Paralytic Shellfish Toxins have been detected at levels above the safe limit set by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.
It's Road Safety Week 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 how to realise when 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 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.
Coromandel Rural North Kerbside collection update
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, started this week on 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.
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. Check out the video below to find out why we still need to complete our planting programme to allow dune growth and repair of the damage done by the storms.
Waka Kotahi State Highway updates
As we head into winter our State Highway 25/25A network will continue to be challenged by storm events. Waka Kotahi has a dedicated team on call, making sure the road remains safe, and will continue with on-going maintenance. Please take note of upcoming closures and sites with traffic management in place.
People are encouraged to take care while out on the road, especially if it is raining.
To keep access around the SH25 loop open, Waka Kotahi have prioritised safeguarding these two sites and work continues on repairing and rebuilding them. Both sites have traffic management in place:
- SH25 Ruamahunga Bay rockfill embankment (sea wall). Completion expected late May (weather dependent). You’ll know it’s close to completion when you see the team laying new pavement and the last major tree stump has been removed.
- SH25 McBeth-Opoutere underslip. Further rain is impacting this site but full access is in sight. In June they expect to have it fully reopened. They are working towards allowing heavy vehicle access and once they know this, we will update you with progress.
As we head into winter, their teams have five key areas to monitor:
- SH2 Karangahake Gorge
- SH25A West
- SH25A East
- SH25 Thames to Wharekaho
- SH25 Whitianga to Waihi
Upcoming priorities include:
- SH25 Wilson’s Bay - fixing and stabilising the bank and clearing the drain.
- SH25 Kūaotunu Hill retaining wall - Geotechnical investigations continue between Kūaotunu and Wharekaho from Monday 22 May.
- SH25 Whiritoa Hill underslip – site investigations completed, drainage solutions in place while designers confirm repairs. Site regularly visited and photographed for monitoring.
- North of Tairua on Pumpkin Hill there are multiple underslips being monitored and drainage solutions have been put in place. Geotechnical investigations will take place next week from Monday 22 May.
- South of Whenuakite - Where a 30km/h zone is in place, this site is often damaged and the summer storms have further impacted the surface and drainage. Work completed to date includes, removing a huge amount of slash and debris, realigning the banks of the stream, and reconstructing the road shoulder and banks above the stream. Currently work continues on reconstructing drainage systems, the road pavement and surface.
- North of Simpsons Beach and over Kūaotunu hill where there have been multiple slip sites, impacted culverts and retaining wall failures.
- Mainia Hill – just completed pavement repairs.
- SH25 into Coromandel before Te Kouma – pavement smoothing work programmed to start from Monday 22 May.
SH25 Moana Anu Anu Bridge (also known as the Wentworth River Bridge). The bridge, which is located near the intersection of Tairua and Port roads, will be closed to all traffic from 7am to 5pm Friday 9 June, for essential maintenance work.
What's on in the Coromandel?
The Wild Womens Weekend has an adventure-filled schedule waiting for you in Whangamatā this weekend with a Wentworth Valley walk, Whenuakura kayak trip, wild wacky golf, bubbles, art, music and more.
The Treasury in Thames
See the latest news from the Treasury in Thames below:
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.
Casual at Sugarloaf in Coromandel: We are looking to employ a Casual Boat Ramp warden/officer to assist at Sugarloaf Wharf to cover staff absences and to work on an 'as required' basis.
Primarily working on weekends and peak season, in this role you will work with users to enter boat ramp passes electronically and guiding users through the use of the QR system and managing the safe parking of recreational users.
You will need to be an early riser, to be up and about with the fishers in this morning role.
If you have:
have a strong safety awareness
be confident in interacting with all ages
have excellent people skills
able to pass a full police check
See more here
Dogs looking for new homes
We have two dogs available for adoption:
1. He loves cuddles and knows some basic commands.
2. A very sweet fun-loving dog that wants to be with people.
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.
Emergency Mobile Alert
The Nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert is happening on Sunday 28 May, between 6pm and 7pm.
The alert will be broadcast from cell towers across New Zealand to all capable mobile phones. So, you don’t need to download an app or subscribe to a service to receive it.
Find out more