Have your say on our engagement policy, plus recovery and 25A updates
Published on 22 September 2023
The latest from Mayor Len
It’s been nine months since Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Coromandel, which means there’s been nine months of hard recovery work - much of which has been on our local and Waka Kotahi State Highway roading network. Also, during this time, we’ve made sure that even our most isolated and vulnerable communities are re-connected and supported.
Here are a few things we’ve delivered on so far
Funding and grants
- Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund: $437,000 provided to 203 applicants
- Disaster Relief Fund for Play, Active Recreation and Sport: $59,255 provided to 14 applicants, alongside Sport Waikato
- Mayoral Relief Social Recovery Fund will be distributed by next week to applicants from around the district. (More information will be available once applicants have been informed).
- Cyclone Gabrielle Business Recovery Grant: $3.8 million distributed to businesses affected by the cyclone around the Coromandel
Social and Economic Resilience
- Creation of our Recovery Plan, which is currently being implented.
- Rolling out community resilience kits to isolated areas. (This includes Starlink communications systems, BBQs, radios and all basic emergency requirements to allow a community to communicate and function until further help arrives.)
- Established our Community Partnerships unit and employed two Community Social Navigators (through Department of Internal Affairs Funding) to work collaboratively to support our communities and whānau as part of our Cyclone Recovery Plan.
- Our visitor economy has taken one of the biggest hits of the storm-affected regions. We’re leading, alongside central government agencies, a workforce planning project, in anticipation of a much larger civil/road construction capability being needed for the Hauraki and Coromandel. We’re also working with government, business and industry, iwi and hapu to identify training and business needs to support the economic recovery. This includes working with iwi and the Department of Conservation on the future of the visitor experience that can be enjoyed on the Coromandel recognising that Cathedral Cove has experienced severe damage that may be incredibly challenging to recover from.
In my previous column, I talked about pushing hard for long-term investment (10-30 years) in our roading infrastructure. I have personally escorted several cabinet ministers on tours of the SH25 Coast Road, the Taparahi bridge site on SH25A and our Council’s Tapu-Coroglen Road (closed since February and due to open by Christmas, weather permitting). We’ve had the full support of Waka Kotahi and our regional committee partners from the other councils in the region on this.
Waka Kotahi has now completed an investment case for a substantial long-term programme of building State Highways and local roads back better. This includes more resilience in the network. The investment case will be considered by the Waka Kotahi Board at the end of this month and we’re confident that this funding will be secured as part of the $6 billion recovery commitment from the current government, although we don’t yet know the level of funding that might be applied to our District.
I’ve also received assurances from National’s Simeon Brown (Transport spokesperson) and MP for the Coromandel Scott Simpson that this recovery funding will be honoured if there is a change of government.
Alongside this, we’ve played a leading role in developing policy and priorities set by the Regional Land Transport Committee. This committee funds projects for long-term improvement of local roads and state highways. Along with Councillor John Morrissey, we’ve successfully informed the Government Policy Statement on Transport.
In the past nine months on roading there has also been:
We’ve stressed the critical nature of the effects of the weather on our district and the long-term effects on our economic and social well-being. This message has gone through all the way to the final Government Policy Statement, which has re-prioritised focus on resilience, safety, emissions reduction, and connectivity.
We’re moving the goal posts and shifting the focus onto long-term resilience in a way that will directly benefit our district in years to come. That's something we’re also signaling in our upcoming Long Term Plan, which I’ll share more on in my future columns.
Have your say on our Significance and Engagement Policy
When should we be talking to you?
How does our Council determine when a particular issue, proposal, asset, decision or activity should have community input in the form of feedback or engagement?
Our Significance and Engagement Policy helps us guide the appropriate types of community engagement to support robust decision-making. It sets out how and when we engage with you on Council decisions, and also lists our key strategic assets.
We’ve reviewed the policy and are proposing some improvements that we’d like your feedback on, including the process of deciding how important an issue is.
Our public feedback is open from today until 23 October, and we’d like to hear what you think. We’re asking one simple question – and we look forward to hearing your submissions.
To read more about the changes we're proposing, and to make your submission, visit tcdc.govt.nz/significance
Taking action towards a circular economy and sustainable future
Our Council has adopted a new Waste Management and Minimisation Plan which includes an exciting and relevant new vision statement “Our Coromandel Communities – Taking action towards a circular economy and sustainable future”. The plan sets out how we intend to manage the community’s waste in 2023-2029. It has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
The final plan is the result of consultation In February and March 2023 with iwi, members of our communities and our local resource recovery representatives. There were also public hearings in late March.
This document outlines how Council will work with residents, homeowners and businesses to achieve positive waste reduction outcomes.
The upgraded rubbish and recycling system introduced in September 2023, which includes a food scraps bin, is one of the many ways our communities can help reduce waste to landfill.
CE performance review – unanimous support for driving results
In the performance review for our Council’s Chief Executive (CE) Aileen Lawrie, the Council voiced its unanimous support of the job she’s done over the past 11 months since taking up the position.
"Thank you, Aileen. Overall, you have delivered a very strong performance in a particularly challenging environment including a new Council, legacy issues with the organisation, natural disasters, Local Government reform, and becoming established in a new, and bigger role, in a new district,” says John Morrissey, who is Chair of our Chief Executive Liaison Committee, and Coromandel-Colville Councillor.
“Our Council is very pleased with your performance – and this is reflected in how we’re working together alongside staff as one team. You’re working on the right things and turning the ship around, noting there is more to be done,” says Councillor Morrissey, “We appreciate your performance in FY23, and we’re optimistic for the future. Thank you. Keep it up. You have our trust, confidence, and support.”
The Chief Executive’s performance review was part of this week’s Council meeting, in a public excluded report. Councillors requested some points from the report be released publicly. These were:
- Councillors, executive leadership, and staff are extremely positive about the CE’s leadership, leadership style, and the impact this was having on the morale and culture of our organisation.
- The delivery of very solid results against the FY 23 KPIs that were inherited.
- Both Councillors and the Executive Leadership Team are confident the CE is demonstrating the competencies required for success.
- Approves the CE total remuneration be increased by 3.6 per cent, (in line with market movement), effective from 1 July 2023. (The CE’s salary is available through our Annual Report here.)
“It’s extremely humbling to have unanimous support from Councillors which I really value,” says Aileen. “But I also want to acknowledge a CE’s performance is also defined by how their staff are operating and delivering – it’s a team effort in what has been a challenging year as we all pulled together through extreme weather events and into recovery,” says Aileen. “So, I also want to thank staff for their commitment to TCDC and our Executive Leadership team and elected members.”
Aileen Lawrie was the chief executive of Ōpōtiki District Council for 12 years. During that time, she drove many projects for the Ōpōtiki community including theTe Tahuhu o te Tangi research and technology centre, the development and extension of the Mōtū trails and the award-winning Ōpōtiki Harbour/Aquaculture Development project in partnership with Whakatōhea.
She is also one of 12 members on the Local Government Steering Group, advising the Government on the resource management system reforms.
Aileen’s background also includes regulatory, planning and management at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Environment Canterbury, with a particular interest in coastal planning legislation.
Kerbside collection update
We’re three weeks into the new kerbside upgraded rubbish and recycling service. We acknowledge there have been a few hiccups in the first couple of weeks, which is to be expected in any new contract. However, we’re told most of these issues have been resolved and there’s been progress in ensuring our contractors deliver a quality service.
Waste Management NZ say for the most part services are running well. They have employed new drivers, some of whom have had to familiarise themselves with the latest mechanical operations of the new trucks, our district and the industry. The drivers did go through a thorough training process beforehand, but in any new job it takes a few weeks to get up to ‘speed’ through practical on-the-job experience. It’s a learning curve and they’re now nearly there.
Waste Management NZ are also managing a whole new fleet of trucks, with enhanced health and safety provisions. Sometimes this means extra time at each address to enter and exit the vehicle in the Duo truck that collects both food waste and glass. They report some delays with a small percentage of bins and thank the community for their patience while they get this resolved.
Almost all bins have been delivered and our contractors have reassured us that they will have sorted out all the missed bin deliveries by end of next month. They have been experiencing some supply chain issues unfortunately.
Waste Management NZ have advised us that all bins that missed their scheduled collections in the first few weeks of service have since been emptied. If this is not the case for you and your property, please tell us.
Can we please remind customers to attach their Pay As You Throw tags around both the red lid handle of the rubbish bin and the black handle of the bin itself. There are pictures and videos on our website. www.tcdc.govt.nz/kerbside
Refuse and Recycling Transfer Stations
The handover of our seven Refuse and Recycling Transfer Stations has gone well. It’s a much-improved service with standardised and longer opening hours, seven days a week (including most public holidays – even Labour Weekend). We know that a lot of you are taking advantage of the sites being open daily and for longer hours. This Sunday the transfer stations change to longer daylight saving hours of 8.30am-5.30pm.
Where to find Information
Please remember our website is the best source of information. That’s www.tcdc.govt.nz/kerbside. We have videos and pictures and an easy-to-read guide to our services. You can also pick up our leaflet and collection calendars from any of our Council offices.
There has been some misinformation circulating. As you know, just because someone posts it on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
We understand that our communities are passionate about rubbish and recycling. We welcome feedback and queries so we can strive to improve our service. But please remember that politeness and respect go a long way. Our Customer Services staff have had to deal with unacceptable rudeness and aggression – we know customers like that are a minority, but it’s unfair on our staff who’re working hard to serve you and iron out any problems.
Please also be kind to Council and Waste Management staff whilst we work through this transition together. These staff are part of our community too and they are somebody’s grandparent, father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter.
Thanks for your understanding. Despite initial teething problems, we’re confident it’s a major improvement to our services to households and that it will markedly reduce waste in the district.
The latest from Waka Kotahi NZTA
Progress on SH25A
Exciting news from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency – work above the ground has started on the SH25A bridge. Below is their latest technical update:
Abutment A and D: They have poured the blinding concrete at Abutment D and have landed both Abutment A and Abutment D reinforcement cages. The team's fixing and forming the cages for their first abutment pour.
Pier B: Concrete pile pours at Pier B were completed, which included our deepest pile to date (41 metres). This is double the depth of the other piles (about 22 metres deep). These piles have already been cropped and undergone integrity testing. The team has started installing the column cages for the bridge, two of four have been installed at Pier B. We can now see the structure appearing out of the slip floor (as per the photo below).
Pier C: Completion of the working platform and moving the piling rig into position. Drilling out the four piles and pouring the first. Once we’ve finished the remaining three pours, this will mark the completion of the Taparahi bridge piling activity. This means, our piling rig and crew will be demobilising and head off-site to another project – thanks team!
Off-site: The steel bridge girders continue to make their way through the paint booth in preparation for transport to site later this month. Also in production are the precast concrete elements and the rails which will run along the top of the bridge barriers.
A reminder of temporary speed limits
Drivers along the SH25 Thames Coast will have noticed the new temporary speed limits in place. These reduced speed zones are part of Waka Kotahi’s changes to ensure that speed limits fit the current use and conditions of the road.
Click here to read more.
News and Project updates
Kōpū Marine Servicing and Business Precinct
The countdown’s on to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the Kōpū precinct, with work very nearly complete on the recreational boat ramp. The top section of concrete boat ramp has been constructed, and the pontoon abutment will be poured next week. This will complete the recreational boat ramp build, with only the floating pontoons left to be installed.
The cofferdam (a watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the seabed to allow the construction of the slipway) is currently being installed. This will take 3-4 weeks, after which the excavations for the commercial slipway can commence.
The piling barge arrives on site next week to continue with the construction of the commercial wharf. The first job is to remove the last row of sheet piles from around the recreational boat ramp.
Earlier this month the Hauraki Gulf Forum members visited the Kōpū site and talked to experts who said that yachties would find the haul-out facilities at Kōpū useful and that the spread of the noxious weed Caulerpa through using the facilities would not be an issue.
The Treasury granted funding
A sum of $15,000 towards the operating costs of Thames’ research centre and archive, The Treasury, has been approved by Council from District Retained Earnings, to cover short-term operational expenses until December 2023.
This follows a request to Council from the Trust that manages the facility for operational funding before the end of November to avoid a budget deficit.
In our Council's public meeting this week The Treasury Relationship Manager Jan Wright told our Council that The Treasury, on Council land in Queen St, continues to fundraise using avenues like philanthropists and sponsors to bridge the gap, but The Treasury was expensive to run.
With the economic crisis, The Treasury commented, “an absolutely extraordinary” facility, was competing for a smaller pool of money against services such as foodbanks and women’s refuges. It was acknowledged The Treasury was of national significance and was a valuable resource for sharing the stories of local iwi and hapū through preserving historical documents from as far back as the 1850s.
Current work being undertaken
Whangapoua Wharf pile replacement
Whangapoua Wharf pile replacement work is scheduled to start Friday 22 September. It is expected to take up to a week to complete. Please keep clear of the wharf, machinery and contractors during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Matarangi wastewater treatment plant
The plant is being upgraded to increase its capacity to meet future demand. Additional aerators will be operational before Christmas, the membrane bioreactor installed for trial is complete and is operational, and investigations into upgrading power cabling are taking place.
Hahei beach access stairs
Work to rebuild three access stairways to Hahei beach that have been closed since they were damaged in February’s Cyclone Gabrielle is expected to begin Tuesday 24 October. The work will take two to three weeks to complete. Until the damaged stairs are repaired, access to the beach remains the beach front car park access. Contractor Walkway Solutions is doing the work.
Calling all artists for the Chorus Cabinet Art project
Chorus and our Council have an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents with the Cabinet Art Programme.
You may have seen them in other regions, where cabinets are painted to become works of art in the street, often telling stories about local communities.
Ten cabinets have been chosen for beautification across the Coromandel and artists are encouraged to submit their designs.
Send your design to email@example.com by Sunday 8 October.
Selected artists will be paid for the materials used and a contribution for their time.
Here you can find information on the location and dimensions of the 10 cabinets in our district here
More information on the Cabinet Art Programme and examples can be found here
Image: 'Kiwi with monarchs' by Dannika Tukua (Te Awamutu).
Whangamatā Half Marathon
A reminder that the Whangamatā Half Marathon
is taking place this Saturday, 23 September. Traffic management will be in place from 7.30am to 4pm, while the event takes place. There will be single lane (one way) traffic flow on Ocean Road, Rangi Ave, Otahu Road and Barbara Ave.
Thanks for your patience – and good luck to those taking part.
Thames Heritage Festival
With the theme 'Arts and Crafts, Lost and Found', the festival is a chance to learn about talented craftworkers, past and present. The crafts range from fine needlework to forging heavy metal. There will be workshops, displays, lectures, and fun things to see and do at heritage sites across Thames. These include:
• Thames School of Mines
• The Treasury Research Centre & Archive
• The Thames Museum Te Whare Taonga o te Kauaeranga
• Bella Street Pumphouse
• The Goldmine Experience
• Thames Small Gauge Railway
Click here for more information and the full programme.
Opportunities at our Council
Corporate Policy Team Leader
If you're a strategic thinker with a passion for leadership, we're looking for someone just like you! We're on the hunt for an enthusiastic and innovative Corporate Policy Team Leader to lead the direction toward achieving our Council's strategic objectives. If you're ready to take the reins in corporate planning, strategy development, and policy formulation, this is your chance to leave a lasting mark. Click here to find out more and apply.
Parks and Facilities Officer
We are looking for a Parks and Facilities officer to join our council. In this role you will be part of a great team that oversees the operation, maintenance, improvement and management of Council parks, reserves, sports fields, and walkways in the beautiful Coromandel. You will have responsibility for supervising Council contractors, working with local iwi to achieve effective co-management of environmental resources and providing quality service and advice to all stakeholders. Click here to find out more and apply.
Strategic and District Planning Team Leader
We're on the lookout for a dynamic and forward-thinking Strategic and District Planning Team Leader to lead our Council's strategic and land use planning functions and processes. If you're ready to make a significant impact by leading resource management policy, District Plan development, and strategic initiatives, this is your opportunity to shine. Click here to find out more and apply.
Customer Services Representative
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 Thames 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. Click here to find out more and apply.
This 8-month-old male puppy is very quiet and chilled that loves playing with people or sleeping beside you.
He also loves cuddles when he gets to know you.
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.
We also send this update as an email each Friday. To receive it, visit www.tcdc.govt.nz/subscribe