Hauraki Gulf update, Community Board news and Santa Parades
Published on 08 December 2023
The Latest from Mayor Len
What is the Hauraki Gulf worth? And when the Gulf is polluted, how is the impact priced?
A lot of people would say the Gulf is priceless, and it is of course. But how do you attribute a dollar figure to a priceless natural asset that is both vital to our economy and to our social and cultural wellbeing?
Well, it turns out there is a way. Earlier this year the Hauraki Gulf Forum released the first Natural Capital Valuation of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The valuation indicates that the Gulf is worth upwards of $100 billion to New Zealand and provides annual flows of value to New Zealanders in excess of $5 billion per year.
Significantly, the impact of the Parnell sinkhole opening in September and the subsequent leaking of untreated wastewater flowing into the Waitematā harbour at a rate of hundreds of litres per second for a month could be costed.
Using the modelling underlying the Natural Capital Valuation, the impact on ‘ecosystem services’ was conservatively estimated at ranging from $50.9 million to $166.6 million for the duration of the sinkhole event.
I heard all this at Monday’s meeting of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, which is a statutory governance board established under the Marine Park Act to advocate for the Gulf. This natural capital accounting can help build the case for sustained and serious investment in quality infrastructure that is resilient to climate and other impacts.
Read more about the Parnell sinkhole and the work to price natural capital in this blog from Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chairs Toby Adams (Hauraki District Mayor) and Nicola MacDonald.
Fringing part of the Hauraki Gulf is the Thames Coast. Anyone driving up Coast Road in recent days can’t fail to have been impressed by the blazing display of pōhutukawa. Entire hillsides are glowing with their red flowers signalling the imminent arrival of Christmas. If you haven’t been up the coast in the last few weeks – go have a look. There are also some stunning examples of ‘New Zealand’s Christmas tree’ in their seasonal glory right in the middle of town, lining Mary Street.
A good opportunity to see them and get some Christmas spirit, and shopping done perhaps, will be tomorrow when Thames Business Association with the support of Thames Community Board, puts on the annual Santa Parade.
The start point is Cochrane and Pollen streets at 11am. The parade goes south down Pollen St to Te Kura o Te Kauaeranga Thames South School Grey Street field entrance where the floats will be on display.
At Te Kura o Te Kauaeranga for the rest of the afternoon is Whānau Day, with bouncy castles, rock-climbing wall, local entertainment and food and market stalls. I hope to see as many of you as possible in Thames for all the activities, it’s shaping up to be a good one. Thanks to Te Kura o Te Kauaeranga, Te Whariki Mānawāhine o Hauraki Women’s Refuge, Waste Management NZ, KMG and The Thames Business Association for sponsoring and organising these events.
Whitianga and Whangamatā have already held their Santa Parades, but if you miss Thames’s on Saturday, head to Coromandel Town on Sunday for their parade and market, beginning at 3pm.
We are also looking forward to the reopening of SH25A. If you have an event or celebration you would like us to promote on our Council channels, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Board Highlights
Tairua-Pāuanui board highlights – Monday 27 December
- A report was received to seek a recommendation from the Board to Council to change the scope of the project from the refurbishment of the existing public conveniences at Cory Park Domain to a replacement of the public convenience at Cory Park Domain with a larger facility, with the increase to the current budget, funded by the Tourism Infrastructure Funding (TIF). The Board resolved to:
- Recommend to Council to change the scope of the project in accordance with Option 3 presented in the staff report. This option was to use the TIF grant of $155,000 combined with the Annual Plan funding of $120,000 to construct a single larger facility at the tennis court end of Cory Park Domain.
- Recommend to Council a project is created to construct a new public convenience at the Cory Park Domain, funded by Tourism Infrastructure Funding grant combined with Annual Plan funding.
- The board received a report recommending that Council approve a new Deed of Lease for Lot 2A located at 20 Red Bridge Road, Tairua. They recommended Council approve the lease for five years effective from Monday 27 November 2023.
- The CAPEX work programme and Action Schedule were received and the board discussed the status of several of the board's projects, and local kerbside collection.
- The board discussed ongoing work to improve Council’s Request for Service (RFS) system in 2024.
- The board also received the meeting schedule for 2024.
Whangamatā Community Board Meeting – Tuesday 28 December
The Board heard from the Ratepayers Association and Whangamatā Surf Lifesaving Club.
The Board requested that staff provide budget estimates on options for the construction of a timber boardwalk as well as options for a GAP20 track in the Whangamatā Harbour Cycle Pedestrian Walkway project.
Discretionary fund applications:
- Enterprise Whangamatā were awarded $725 to assist with accounting costs.
- $3,000 was awarded to Whangamatā Theatre Society for hall hire costs.
- $725 was awarded to Whangamatā Arts Collective for accounting costs.
- The Board recommended to Council to approve funding to the Whangamatā Information Centre of up to $28,000 from the Whangamatā Community Board area retained earnings, for the 2023/2024 financial year.
- The Board approved the use the Tourism Infrastructure Funding grant to relocate a replacement motorhome dump station to the road berm adjacent to 118 Lindsay Road Whangamatā.
Thames Community Board – Wednesday 29 November
Approval was given at the Community Board meeting on Wednesday 29 November for new signage and tourism rebranding promotion of Thames, focusing on its selling point of “explore interesting”.
New signs directing people to the main street and tourism attractions, most with a map, are set to be installed outside Thames Civic Centre, near the Queen Street roundabout and at Porritt Park playground. A picture frame to encourage visitors to stop and take photographs inside it is also proposed for Waiomu Domain.
In addition, the board is liaising with Waka Kotahi NZTA about signage around Jellicoe and Queen Streets to direct visitors into the town centre’s Pollen Street.
The Community Board is recommending to Council to spend $300,000 granted under the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund to contribute towards the new Changing Places toilet facilities at Porritt Park. The grant had initially been made towards new toilets at Waikawau Boat Ramp. However, this project is still under discussion with iwi and the Waikawau Boat Ramp Society. The Board has asked staff to proceed with discussions and to consider applying to the fund again for Waikawau public toilets.
Allocations from the Board’s Discretionary Budget were agreed to for the following initiatives which align with the Board's work programme priorities:
• $2,245 for a light for Thames Community Patrol vehicle
• $3,155 a Thames Community Centre drivers’ licence course for 15 youth participants
• $1,573 toward lightweight camping gear for Thames Youth Sea Scouts.
Promoting Thames and tourism
•$3,330 to purchase 24 Christmas banners for Pollen Street
• $2,590 towards traffic management for Thames Santa Parade
• $7,000 for marketing via social media over summer, aimed at potential visitors about the Thames information website and Thames
• $10,000 for new visitor signage.
Work projects are proceeding at a pace under Thames Community Board, with work scheduled in the next couple of months including:
• the installation of a disability pool hoist at Thames Centennial Pool
• investigation work and modelling for a stormwater upgrade in Albert Street
• design work for Thames South water treatment plant at Pūriri.
Coromandel-Colville Community Board – Tuesday December 5
The Board held its final meeting for the year this week, with a busy public forum:
Concerned community members spoke about the cell tower located on Pagitt Street, raising concerns about the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation on health and presenting signatures of independent scientists and doctors working in this field
A community member raised the issue of erosion at Wyuna Bay, asking for a wall to protect the bank of grass between the road and the beach (used for parking and picnics) from further erosion.
In other matters, the Board:
Received the report for the Capital Expenditure Work Programme dated 13 November 2023
Accepted the Coromandel-Colville Community Board Meeting Schedule for 2024
Recommended that our Council approve the Proposed Assignment of Lease for the Coromandel Stamper Battery located at 410 Buffalo Road, from Coromandel Developments Limited to New Zealand Gold Mining Heritage Limited
Recommended that our Council proceeds with acquiring Land located at 21 Calloway Lane, Shelly Beach, for road improvements.
Mercury Bay Community Board meeting – Wednesday 6 December
The Board confirmed the establishment of the Whitianga Esplanade Redevelopment Advisory Group, to provide and make recommendations to the Mercury Bay Community Board about the Whitianga Esplanade Redevelopment project. The Board also confirmed the membership of the Advisory Group: Councillor Rekha Giri-Percival and Board Member Peter MacKenzie, Joe Davis and Shelley Balsom as the Ngāti Hei appointees, and Calum McGillivray as the Whitianga Marina appointee.
The redevelopment project is to progress investigations into the redevelopment of the Whitianga Esplanade waterfront area to identify the most efficient and effective way of alleviating current health and safety issues and to provide for growth in the activities currently taking place in the area. The first step in the project is to carry out a round of user and iwi engagement in the new year.
The Board also recommended to Council that the Mercury Bay Boating Club’s lease fee for the part of the recreation reserve they use at 93 Buffalo Beach Road in Whitianga be waived for the 2023/24 financial year due to the difficulties brought about by the cyclones. Erosion forced the club to temporarily relocate its clubhouse to a different part of the reserve while it looks for a permanent site. Because of this the clubhouse has been unusable. A staff member informed the Board that the club was looking at two sites, one elsewhere on the Buffalo Beach reserve and another location, Dundas Street. An application to the Department of Conservation for the use of that site has been lodged.
Coastcare reflects on planting season after 57,000 native plants restored
Last Friday, our Council, Coastcare and the Cooks Beach Care Group hosted a Coastcare mini-conference at the Cooks Beach Community Hall.
Members of Coromandel east coast volunteer dune groups came together to reflect on the past year, celebrate the completion of the planting season and learn about some of the exciting new ways Coastcare, Waikato Regional Council, and our Council will be looking after our beautiful coastline. We had volunteer group attendees from Whangamatā to Kūaotunu, a representative from the Bay of Plenty, and staff from Waikato Regional Council, the Department of Conservation. We also had a special guest: Moniqua Nelson-Tunley Waikato Regional Council Senior Biodiversity Officer and Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand Trustee came to talk to us about reptiles of New Zealand.
Cyclone’s Hale and Gabrielle showed us how vital our dunes are. High water levels and waves hammered the coastline, and the dunes acted as a sacrificial buffer, absorbing the energy. A better grasp on how coastal dunes work enables our communities to better understand why we must look after our dunes.
Monitoring was one of the key topics we covered at the Coastcare Mini Conference 2023. With the community's help, we hope to monitor dune shape, health and self-repair (recovery), planting success, biodiversity (unique species of plants), birds, reptiles and insects. We will also look at our public education – is it working, could it be better?
This year, together with community volunteers and local schools, 57,500 native plants were planted on Coromandel beaches. There were approximately 2460 volunteer planting hours recorded. Native plants on the dunes help recover and bind sand, repairing the damage caused by cyclones. The plants are shelter, habitat, and food sources for many native New Zealand birds, reptiles, and insects.
To all the volunteers in our communities who give their time to help nature and restore and protect our beaches, the Coastcare team and our Council cannot thank you enough. We could not have achieved as much as we did without you during this challenging year. As we head into the summer break, we can be proud of what we have all achieved. Ngā mihi.
If you're interested in being involved with the Coastcare program, please get in touch: email@example.com
Tairua Skate Park progressing well
The team from Acid are progressing well and the Tairua Skatepark project is on-track.
The ramps, half-pipe and stairs have been poured, as well as the acoustic wall between the skate park and tennis courts.
The completion of the acoustic wall means that now both tennis courts are able to be used, accessible via the gate on the Manaia Rd side.
Construction for the Tairua Skatepark is taking a break from the beginning of next week until early February.
Felix and Leo Gage-Brown from Tairua School were 'principal for the day' on Monday December 4. They spent some of their time as principal being shown through the site by Antony from Acid (pictured). The boys then returned to school and gave a presentation to the school assembly.
Dredging at Matarangi Boat Ramp
Next week our Council is dredging the Matarangi boat ramp at low tide (where practicable). These works will begin on Tuesday 12 December and are scheduled to end Monday 18 December (weather permitting).
We'll be removing sediment from around the ramp area indicated by the red polygon and dewatering this on the adjacent reserve land indicated by the red cross. Dewatering is keeping the sand in one place to allow the excess water to drain out.
This dewatered sediment will remain for about a
week, while it naturally evens out and returns to normal. We appreciate your patience during this time.
Predator control and community: a dream team for Coromandel kiwi
The Department of Conservation have reported that kiwi are thriving in Eastern Coromandel thanks to sustained predator control by DOC and the local community.
Surveying of kiwi in the area between Tairua and Hot Water Beach has shown a 10 percent increase from 2015 to 2020.
Numbers are expected to increase following the recent distribution of biodegradable 1080 bait pellets at Whenuakite which will provide further protection to kiwi from stoats.
Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group spokesperson Janice Hinds says the area’s kiwi benefit from a combined predator control approach.
“We have an amazing crew of landowners who contribute to on-ground predator control covering 3,500 hectares," says Janice.
“Then, every 3-4 years the Department of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council apply 1080 bait – cleaning up the possums destroying the canopy, and the trap-shy rats and mustelids we miss. The difference is extraordinary."
Kōpū Marine and Business Precinct
Construction of this major facility for the district is entering its final few months, on track to be opened for use in May 2024.
The commercial wharf has been constructed up to the T head (the section of the wharf structure that looks like the letter "T" when viewed from above).
The piling barge Calliope has relocated and is currently setting up the temporary works to enable the installation of the remaining wharf and fender piles. All wharf piles are due to be installed before Christmas.
The commercial slipway is currently being constructed. The concrete ramp is going to be poured in two halves with the first pour due the week beginning 11 December. The full concrete surface will be constructed before Christmas.
After the Christmas break, Heron Construction and Land + Sea Civil will be returning to site on 8 January to pour the wharf’s concrete topping slab, install wharf furniture and place the floating pontoons to the recreational boat ramp and wharf.
Fulton Hogan will be returning to site on 15 January to complete the formation of King Street. Once King Street has been constructed, Fulton Hogan will move into the precinct area to complete their finishing works which include widening the Quay Street entrance, laying services, topping up the pavement areas and installing the lights, CCTV cameras, fences, gates and signage.
Lead the Way Campaign
Over the last six weeks our Council has been running a campaign focused on responsible dog ownership and the summer dog rules.
This included an online quiz testing the public's knowledge of responsible dog ownership.
Over 300 people took part in the Lead the Way quiz, with 95 percent of participants finishing with a perfect score.
Michelle Egen and her rescue dog Max were our randomly-selected quiz winners. Congratulations and thanks for joining in.
Over the last 6 weeks we have spoken to over 700 dog owners. Thanks to everyone who got involved in helping to promote responsible dog ownership in our district.
Opportunity: Customer Services Representative (Coromandel Town)
We are searching for a confident, motivated customer services star to bring their skills and enthusiasm to a great team delivering customer services in our Coromandel Town office.
The role sits within the team providing front-of-house, digital and phone communications, and is part of the wider Customer Services team across the district.
The Customer Service Representative role is the link between Council, customers, contractors of Council and their customers in alignment with the core values of Customer services team.
We have some beautiful dogs up for adoption, including:
Roxy is a very gentle, placid, well-natured dog.
She loves to cuddle just as much as she loves to play.
She has come from a family environment and loves pats and attention.
If you're interested in knowing more about Roxy, please contact our Council on 07 868 0200.
Theo is a handsome young chap who loves pats and to play with other dogs.
He is a gentle soul and would be well suited to most homes. Very trainable, he just needs someone to show him the ropes and get used to being on-lead.
Isabella is a good-natured, very friendly, and energetic husky. Would suit an active and outdoorsy home. Well-mannered and responds to basic commands.
If you are interested in adopting a dog, please contact us on 07 868 0200. Once your interest is known, a Dog Control Officer will be in contact with you to discuss the adoption and carry out the appropriate checks; this may include a visit to your property.
Please note that some people may not be acceptable for adoptions and that we reserve the right to make decisions on the most suitable homes for any dogs available for adoption.
If your adoption is successful, you will be required to register and microchip the dog prior to taking it home.