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Discussion on the Climate Change Declaration Decision - highlights from this week's Council Meeting

10 February 2021

Following the summer break, our Council got straight into discussions around the process on a decision to reconsider signing the Local Government Climate Change Declaration, as our elected members met for their first Council meeting of the year.

"It's been a completely action packed summer for visitors on the Coromandel, and into the Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi long weekends,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “And while the traffic was bumper to bumper, it’s all been well managed on both the local roads and the State Highway through Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency. As soon as people come over the Kōpū Bridge, they get a whiff of the Coromandel and they’re happy. Thanks to everyone for making it a safe Coromandel summer.”

You can view the recording of the entire Council meeting here

Topics that were discussed at this week’s Council meeting:

  • The public forum
  • Draft Public Convenience Strategy
  • Revoking the Russeks Road Policy
  • High Court Decision on the Thames-Coromandel District Council Climate Change Declaration Decision
  • Licence to Occupy – 34 Julian Drive Whangamatā
  • 101 Lindsay Road, Whangamatā
  • Chief Executive Report

In the Public Forum 

  • Two Thames businesses spoke about the proposed changes to Mary Street (pictured right), as part of our Council’s Innovating Streets project.
    You can read more about the proposed changes and the project here.
  • A Tairua resident presented on the redevelopment of Pepe Reserve in Tairua as well as the proposed skatepark at Cory Park.
  • Thames local John Isdale introduced his replacement, Scott Ellisse, at the Thames School of Mines, thanked our Council for the Community Service Award he received last year and spoke about parking in Thames.
  • Coromandel Town Marine Developments spokesperson Gilbert James gave an overview of where his project is at.

Draft Public Convenience Strategy 

In 2011, our Council decided to develop a Public Convenience Strategy. It went out for public consultation in mid-2012 but was never adopted.

The management of public toilets is handled through our Public Conveniences Asset Management Plan and the Public Toilets Standard, which are a set of national best practice guidelines. It’s been decided the Public Convenience Strategy isn’t needed and the Draft Public Convenience Strategy can be removed from our Council’s policy register.

You can read the report here.

Revoke the Russeks Road Policy

In 1996, we adopted a policy on the requirements to develop Russeks Road in order to allow a resident to build a low standard access road.

Staff have suggested a policy may no longer be the best option, and a note on the property file will achieve the same outcome, seeing as requirements to build a road are already covered by other legislative processes. Policies that haven’t been formally revoked are technically still in force, and we could be held to account for any policies that aren’t implemented.

That’s why Council agreed to have this Policy removed from the policy register.

Read the Russeks Road Policy

High Court Discussion on the Thames-Coromandel District Council Climate Change Declaration Decision

(Photo - Local Government Leaders' Climate Change Declaration)

Council has directed staff to prepare a report by no later than April this year, to reconsider the strategic issues of climate change  - and to make sure the decision not to sign the declaration is consistent with the requirement of the Local Government Act (LGA) and our own Significance and Engagement Policy, as directed by the High Court. 

This follows Council's decision last year, to approve the Mayor’s decision to not sign the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration (the Declaration).

The Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action Inc. challenged this decision with a hearing in the High Court in August 2020 and a decision released in December that same year, where the Court found that Council’s decision was inconsistent with the requirements under the LGA. 

Under s17 of the Act, the High Court quashed Council’s decision and directed our Council to reconsider and determine whether or not to approve the Mayor signing the Declaration, consistent with the requirements of the LGA, our Council’s Significance and Engagement Policy, and the High Court’s judgement.

Once the staff report has been received in April, Council will then reconsider its decision to authorise the Mayor to sign the Declaration.

Read the report on the High Court's decision. 

To read what our Council is already doing toward climate change mitigation, click here

Licence to Occupy - 34 Julian Drive, Whangamatā

The property at 34 Julian Drive, Whangamatā, gains access to the road using an existing privately-owned bridge. The bridge is in a state of disrepair and is considered to be unsound. The owners of the property wish to remove the historical bridge and replace it with a suitable box culvert structure.

In the meeting, our Council approved the Licence to Occupy.

You can read the Licence to Occupy application here.

101 Lindsay Road, Whangamatā

(Photo - 101 Lindsay Road, Whangamatā)

A proposal to sell the Council owned property at 101 Lindsay Road, Whangamatā, will be included as part of our upcoming 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation.

The land is industrially zoned and over the years has been leased to many different organisations. In 2018, the Whangamatā Community Marae Trust approached our Council asking to lease the space for a community Marae space.

More information about the proposal will be made public when we go out for formal feedback in early March. You can find out more about our upcoming LTP on our website.

Chief Executive Report

(Photo - Our Chief Executive, Rob Williams)

Our Chief Executive provides a report on our financial and operational performance at each Council meeting, along with updates on significant projects, communications and campaigns.

Some points to note from this update include:

  • Our operational surplus at the end of December was favourable to budget by $4.2 million. Some of this can be attributed to the increased sales of rubbish bags and increased use of transfer stations over the December period.
  • Personnel costs are favourable to budget due to ongoing vacancies, and the Shoreline Management programme was delayed while the governance structure of the project was being finalised but is now progressing.
  • The capital expenditure programme is behind budget by $3.3 million largely in the roading activity due to the timing of the programme but is on track for completion by year end.
  • Rates debtors are decreasing as expected since the beginning of the financial year and are on par with the same period last year.
  • All Council’s borrowings are within treasury policy limits.
  • Included in the report was an update on the Three Waters Reforms, progress regarding the 2021-2031 LTP, other projects and communications campaigns that are currently underway.

You can read the report here.