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District Governance model and infrastructure work relating to the Great Walks Project approved.

09 December 2015

A sum of $304,000 has been approved to pay towards concept designs, consents and legal requirements for the development of a car park along with road sealing at Lees Rd, Hahei.

This was one of two decisions Council supported at its meeting this week. The second was to approve a District Governance Structure for the Great Walks project, which will be made up of two representatives from Council reflecting levels of investment and being the lead agency, one representative from DOC and one representative of tangata whenua.


 

Budget approval
 

The $304k for the Lees Rd section will go towards 1.6km of sealing Lees Road from the top of the hill to the Stella Evered Reserve as well as towards the consenting, legal and design fees for the car park at Lees Rd.

The car park will initially provide 150 parking spaces and up to 500 spaces in the future. Council is currently working with a private landowner on a perpetual access and financial agreement for the car park.

"Both the sealing and car park are needed to accommodate expected increased traffic volumes," which is why the $304k of existing district budget has been brought forward a year earlier," says Garry Towler, who is Council's Project Executive on the Walks Project.

Dust sealing was already identified within our district's dust sealing programme in Y2018/2019 and the type of sealing being used is in accordance with our code of practice based on average daily traffic volumes of no more than 100 vehicles a day. A review of traffic numbers in the New Year will inform whether any additional work is needed at the end of Lees Road.

"The Great Walks project including the sealing of Lees Rd and the Lees Rd car park is funded through district rates and external funding," says Mr Towler. "The Pa Rd car park is funded out of the Mercury Bay ward which was agreed in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan."

Our Council has allocated $2.5m, DOC has contributed $450k, $1m has been successfully obtained by Lotteries Significant Fund, and Trust Waikato has contributed $330k. We have a revenue generation strategy for on-going funding of the Walks, as well as revenue generated from the introduction of car parking fees at car parks relating to the Walks, which will be reinvested back into infrastructure and the Mercury Bay ward.

At the time of preparing the budgets, $1m was estimated to cover Lees Road improvements ($600,000) and the new car park ($400,000) and further research now indicates that capital costs for the car park will be $420,000 and sealing of Lees Road will be $700,000. Following design and consenting work, more accurate cost estimates will be brought to Council early next year.

"We're also collecting traffic data over this peak summer period and we'll be in a position to determine if road widening is required for north of Lees Road (estimated at $100,000) (totalling $1,220,000)," says Mr Towler.

The first Great Walks route has sufficient funding available to fully complete the walkway from the 'Blowhole' to Whitianga (Stage One). This includes all structures, viewing platforms, fencing and safety measures.


The Governance model
 

At its meeting this week Council also endorsed a Project Board Governance Model for the Great Walks project to cover the District. It will be made up of 2 Council representatives (Mayor and Chair of Council's Economic Development Committee) 1 DOC representative and 1 tangata whenua representative.

At a simple level the Great Walks Project Board can make decisions on Council's behalf as the project progresses, and will report back to Council at key milestones for the project," says Mr Towler. "This fosters a flexible and creative environment to progress projects within timeframes, but provides Council with the ability to approve major project variances," he says.

A link with the EconomicDevelopment Committee is critical given the expected significant economic benefits to the region that is expected, l. Meanwhile other stakeholders have the ability to engage with either directly through Council or the Project Board.

The individual representatives may, and will, change as different Walks are established around the Coromandel. Critically, community groups will be contacted early to ensure appropriate representation from the community and for their input at the beginning of the next Great Walk as it moves around the district.

For the First Great Walk, when fully complete, will link Hot Water Beach, all the way through to Whitianga and potentially further north to Kuaotunu. The Governance Directors for the first Walk will be made up of TCDC, DOC and Mercury Bay iwi Ngati Hei. Reporting to the Directors is a Project Executive, Project Manager, Key Stakeholders and Key Users. This structure is based on the Council project management system Prince2.

Project Board meetings are held regularly and a representative from the Hahei Stakeholders and Ratepayers Group and the Chair of the Mercury Bay Community Board are invited to all these meetings and have speaking rights. Other stakeholders will be brought if needed as the project develops.


 

Updates on the 4 separate work packages relating to the first stage of the Great Walks Project.

There's been a site visit to the Andlinger Track with the potential tenderers for the construction of the viewing platform to see what needs to be done there. A tender will be awarded before the end of this month.

We have done an initial survey of a walk around the Purangi from the Stella Evered to Cooks Beach. There are a number of different options that are viable and it will depend on costs as to what option will finally be chosen. A report on this will be ready in the New Year.

The package of work at the Stella Evered Reserve has been finished, as has the native planting along sections of some of the planned route. The plants are looking really healthy thanks to the rain (and crystal rain). Growth was helped through natives currently being sheltered by existing gorse.

We are also just following up with our roading department to make sure a No Exit Sign has been erected at Lees Rd towards the Stella Evered Reserve, along with the planned removal of a tree that needed to go.


In other matters.

The Mercury Bay Area Office continues discussion with the Hahei Ratepayers around the development of the Hahei Community Plan.

We are on track for the Park and Ride at Pa Rd for this summer with signage, advertising etc. There will also be people managing traffic at the Grange Rd car park.

A report to the Mercury Bay Community Board to include parking by-law restrictions on road parking along Pa Road, Grange Road and Lees Road will be presented in February 2016 for endorsement to Council.

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