Latest News & Public Notices

Highlights of our October 27 Council meeting

28 October 2020

Mixed view of gambling, support for ageing, youth and disability strategies and we’re going to be asking for your views on tourism, changes to rubbish and recycling and boat ramp and parking fees and charges.

(Click on the image above to watch the 27 October meeting online)

This week, Council held its six-weekly meeting. You can view the entire meeting online here

You can also read the full council agenda and reports here

The meeting included:
• Public forum – Me Mana Toi Moehau Trust and Creative Waikato commenting on our Arts Strategy
• Hearings on our Gambling Policy – with presentations from the Problem Gambling Association, NZ Racing Association, Pub Charities, along with local bar and pub owners.

Some meeting highlights are below.

Review of social wellbeing strategies

We have three social wellbeing strategies, pertaining to youth,   positive ageing  and disability  which were up for review.

“We care about these sectors of our community and we know much of the guidelines in these strategies are already included in business as usual,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie.

Some examples include:

• Footpath widening in main centres like Thames and Whitianga to accommodate mobility scooters

• Ramp access to some popular beach spots for wheelchairs

• Providing play equipment in highly used playgrounds (Porritt Park Thames) for children with disabilities

• Providing skate facilities for youth around the district

• Holding a youth and employment expo every year

We also have our Community Plans, Economic Development Action Plan, Long Term Plan and Code of Practice for Subdivision and Development which outline how funding and development within the District can provide for youth, people with disabilities and over 65-year-olds.

That’s why Council decided to retain the strategies and review them prior to the next Long Term Plan.

You can read the full report here

Long Term Plan pre-consultation

Our Long Term Plan 2021-2031 will be going out for public consultation in March 2021,  but we’re sign-posting now that it’s going to be a tight budget and we can only commit to delivering our core and essential services.

That means sticking to our budgets – with not a lot of wiggle room for discretionary or the 'nice-to-have' items.

Earlier this year we went out with a proposed annual rate increase of 10 per cent, which we were able to reign in to 4.98 per cent, due to the impact of COVID-19.

As part of the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 we’re doing some pre-consultation from Friday 6 November on some ideas we have, which include:

• Should we continue to pay for tourism promotion?
• How can we deliver rubbish and recycling services to reduce the burden on ratepayers?
• Should we introduce more water meters around the district?
• Should we be looking at more user pay charges around our boat ramps and car parks?

We’re just finalising our content, with details released from Friday 6 November.

You can read the council report here.

Proposed District Plan update

We’ve spent $4.3 million over the past seven years on our Proposed District Plan review.

This is a huge project that has taken thousands of hours of hearings and 31 reports.

As at October 2020, we have settled 65 appeals in their entirety. The remaining seven appeals relate to four issues in the Proposed District Plan – Decisions Version which are:

• Amendment of Section 15 Development and Growth policies (one appellant) – awaiting
consent order to be issued by Environment Court.
• Section 29 Biodiversity Rule 3 – plantation forestry and Significant Natural Areas (three
appellants) – ongoing live issue.
• Proposed structure plans (two appellants) – agreement reached with appellants but still
working through access issues with NZ Transport Authority.
• Northern Land Property Limited appeal (1 appellant) – hearing held April 2019 and
awaiting decision from Environment Court.

In addition, there is a hearing to be held in relation to the Kauri Dieback Rules which is subject to a section 293 process.

You can read the full report here.

Chief Executive Report

This is an update of activities and performance across the organisation for the period to 30 September 2020. 

Some highlights to note:

Operating surplus: For the first quarter of this financial year the operational surplus is favourable to budget by $2.7 million. Some of this is attributable to the phasing of budgets, so there will be some catch up during the second quarter. Staff are also working hard to realise savings where possible. Rates debtors began this financial year slightly higher than for the same period in the previous financial year mainly because of the extended timeframe given by Council to pay the final rates instalment. September rates debtors are on a par with the previous financial year. Short term borrowing of $5 million was activated during September for cash flow requirements until receipt of the first rates instalment. This was repaid on 15 October with the receipt of rates instalment revenue. Council’s external borrowings are within all treasury policy limits.

3-Waters reform: The central government 3-Waters reform is progressing as previously indicated. The MOU between Council and the Department of Internal Affairs was signed and submitted in August. The associated draft funding agreement was submitted in September identifying the projects proposed to be funded with Councils tranche one funding. The proposed projects include installation of water meters in Whitianga and Whangamata along with a small allowance for continuing to investigate any wider regional opportunities. Read more about this issue in the latest edition of Our Coromandel magazine (P158-159). 

• A Transport Investment Plan investigating the opportunities our district’s transport network presents to stimulate productivity and support the local economy is underway. This project sits within the Connected Journeys workstream of our Productivity Plan. Five workshops around the district have been held with stakeholders. A final workshop with Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency was held in early October. A draft report is being finalised and presented to the December council meeting.

You can read the full Chief Executive Report here  and the summary report here