News and Notices

Visit Our Gardens During the Garden Festival 24 October 2018 We are very proud to take part in the PowerCo Taranaki Garden Festival. The festival takes place from 26 October to 4 November.  You can visit our beautiful spaces year round, but spring is a particularly great time to visit our participating gardens: Pukekura Park, Te Henui Cemetery and the Fernery and Display Houses. During the festival we also host guided tours of all three gardens, all tours are free and no booking is required. Pukekura Park Wednesday 31 October 9am Friday 2 November 9am Meet outside The Bellringer Pavilion, via Fillis St entrance, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth Fernery and Display Houses Tuesday 30 October 11am Thursday 1 November 11am Meet at the Fernery and Display House entrance, Pukekura Park, Fillis St, New Plymouth Te Henui Cemetery Monday 29 October 2pm Wednesday 31 October 2pm Friday 2 November 2pm 173 Lemon St, Strandon, New Plymouth. Meet by the main sign by the first roundabout inside the cemetery Hi-tech hub ready to handle an emergency 19 October 2018 NPDC’s state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Centre is up and running and ready to help keep our community safe during an emergency. Based at the TSB Stadium, NPDC has invested $500,000 to create the hi-tech Civil Defence hub which includes GIS map facilities, a back-up power supply, secure communication connections and even its own 30,000L water tank.  “We know that an emergency can happen at any time so we’re absolutely delighted to have this new centre which will help us meet the challenges our district may face,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.  “Our community responded brilliantly to ex-Cyclone Gita earlier this year. The Emergency Operations Centre will enable us to respond even more effectively to localised problems.” Director of Civil Defence New Zealand, Sarah Stuart-Black, praised the new centre and NPDC’s commitment to managing the district through any future event. “The opening of this centre strengthens NPDC’s ability to manage local emergencies effectively.” The official opening, held this week, marks a new chapter for the district’s Civil Defence Emergency Management team with two NPDC staff members running emergency management for our district. There was a fantastic response to our call for volunteers – we had more than 170 people put their hands up to work at the centre during a crisis.  Mr Wright thanked NPDC’s key community stakeholders including the New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency, St John, New Zealand Lifelines Council, TEMO, Civil Defence NZ and the other Taranaki councils for their support. If you want to volunteer at the centre, call us on 06-759 6060 or you can register via our online form. Long Weekend Stay-cation 17 October 2018 Why a stay-cation should be on the cards this Labour Weekend The National Park… obviously The long weekend is the perfect time of year to get back in to nature. Our national park has a huge range of walks to suit whatever kind of adventure you’re after. Plan a trip to the Dawson Falls Visitors Centre, you can take a short, easy walk to Wilkies Pools for a refreshing first swim of the season. Another low effort, maximum impact walk is to the falls themselves, it’s a steep climb in and out, but it’s a quick one. If you want to push yourself further you can do the Waingongoro Hut track, including a walk across the 24m high swing bridge! Check out the DOC website for more information. Get in to the CBD and play tourist for the day. The outdoor pool at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre will be opening for the first splash of summer, pack your togs and show your kids how it’s done on the diving board. If you’d rather stay dry you can get along to see National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs at Puke Ariki, it’s been a hit with young and old and is only on for one more week. Then pop up the road to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery where there are six kinetic Len Lye sculptures on display currently (don’t forget the obligatory selfie out the front). If that’s not enough, grab your coffee and head to Pukekura Park to see all the spring explosions of colour, make sure your walk takes you through the Fernery and Display Houses to see the world-class collection of orchids. Beaches!! If you’re not diving in to the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre or Wilkies Pools then your Labour Weekend swim will have to be at a beach. Luckily you have heaps to choose from. So take the opportunity to steer away from your usuals. Pop out to Ōākura, it’s usually a little quieter than Fitzroy but is a great spot for swimming or surfing. Include a walk up to Goat Rock followed by an ice cream to really make a day of it. Or if you can spend a little longer in the car head out to Tongaporutu. Check the tides before you go down to the beach, and explore the amazing piece of coastline that has changed so much in recent years (with Elephant Rock's trunk disappearing). Bring a picnic to eat at the domain while you look towards the postcard perfect baches along the river. Taranaki Aims to Become a Renewable Energy Hub 12 October 2018 We are playing a pivotal role in a team that has met world-leading renewable energy experts and discussed how our region can become a leading centre for hydrogen energy, an industry that is already worth billions around the globe. H2 Taranaki is a working group set up to encourage the growth and uptake of hydrogen projects in the region. Our Councillor Stacey Hitchcock and one of our Senior Infrastructure Planner have gone to Europe with the team to glean the latest global thinking and examine how Taranaki can become the energy hub of the Southern Hemisphere. “Taranaki is the perfect region to not only embrace the ‘Just Transition’ to a lower carbon future but to lead it from the front,” says Cr Hitchcock. “Thanks to our history with the energy industry, we’re a region with extensive knowledge, skills and an expert workforce. Together with our natural resources, established infrastructure and international port, we’re perfectly set up to embrace a number of more sustainable energy alternatives. “This project is just one of many strategic opportunities identified in our Tapuae Roa Action plan launched earlier this year and will help us develop a hydrogen roadmap specifically for the Taranaki region.” The team are attending several major energy conferences and discussions in Aberdeen, the Orkney Islands, England and the Netherlands. The research investigation has also included exploring a MOU with Aberdeen, a key energy centre in the Northern Hemisphere, examining opportunities to become a World Cities Energy partner and a chance to connect with other governments around the world who are transitioning to a lower carbon future. Sound Financial Management Helps Us Achieve Surplus 10 October 2018 We have achieved a general rates operating surplus of more than $320,000 while our Perpetual Investment Fund made a return of $21 million (more than $13 million over budget) in the 2017/2018 financial year, according to our latest Annual Report. “It’s a pleasing result. The fact we were able to absorb some unexpected costs (February storm damage and Yarrow Stadium operational remediation) and still finish the year under budget shows we have a firm focus on cost control. Evidence of Council’s sound financial management was recognised in November when international credit agency Standard and Poor’s reconfirmed NPDC’s financial rating as ‘AA/A-1’,” says NPDC Chief Executive Craig Stevenson. We managed assets valued at about $2.6 billion, had a yearly operating budget of $135 million, and are putting a renewed focus on investing in core infrastructure after talking to residents about what we should be doing in the next decade. “There was an incredible response to our 10-Year Plan public conversation with more than 4,000 submissions on what we should be focussed on, a record for a non-metropolitan council,” says Mayor of the New Plymouth District, Neil Holdom. “It’s clear our residents want us to invest more in our three waters infrastructure – drinking, waste and storm water. We’ve responded by allocating more than $44 million over the next decade for water resilience and more than $21 million towards Zero Waste 2040,” the Mayor says. Another highlight from the 10-Year Plan conversation, was agreeing to extend the Coastal Walkway from Bell Block to Waitara, creating a pedestrian and cycle link that promotes connectivity and well-being to the district’s two main population centres. Other milestones over the past year include: In a major step towards unlocking the region’s potential for economic growth, we worked with the other Taranaki councils, Nga Iwi O Taranaki and the business community on Tapuae Roa. The TSB Festival of Lights saw a 20% rise in visitors to nearly 9,600 over the 2017/2018 summer. The value added to the regional economy jumped from $4.6million to $5million. Yusuf/Cat Stevens played to a packed out (capacity approximately 15,000) TSB Bowl of Brooklands in December while Bryan Adams rocked the venue in January. We won two major awards after it became the first New Zealand local authority to create a fully digital Draft District Plan. Pukekura Park was awarded the Green Flag international mark of a quality park or green space for the fifth year running. Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs helped Puke Ariki set new visitor records including the most visitors in a single day (1,920) and the most visitors to an exhibition at the museum (75,000). Kicking Off Work on Car Park for Pouakai Crossing Track 05 October 2018 Close to $1.6 million is being invested in a much-anticipated tourism project that will benefit locals and visitors alike. We start construction next week on the car park and toilet at the top of Mangorei Road. The car park is a key piece of tourism infrastructure at the Mangorei Track entrance to the increasingly popular Pouakai Crossing and part of Tapuae Roa – Taranaki’s regional economic strategy. The toilet and car park, which will take both private vehicles and buses, have been funded with $709,000 from the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund and $849,000 from NPDC. This is on top of a $3.4 million Government investment in the iconic Pouakai Crossing. A further $750,000 will be spent on widening Mangorei Road in a 50:50 joint venture between NPDC and the NZ Transport Agency. “We’re getting the right infrastructure in place so that visitors and locals alike can continue to enjoy our great outdoors and stunning Mounga; one of the reasons why we’re the lifestyle capital of New Zealand,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.“This project is an exciting one and combined with the $156,000 recently announced funding from Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis for upgraded facilities at Waiwhakaiho and a new portable toilet and shower facility, there are really positive signs of central and local government partnering for the benefit of our people and to grow our tourism economy,” says the Mayor. The Mangorei Track will still be open, although Mangorei Road will be closed from the Westown Golf Course to the Pouakai Crossing entrance from Mondays to Fridays, from Monday 8 October until near Christmas. The closures will be from 7am to 7pm each day but Mangorei Road residents will continue to have access. We will be running free shuttle buses from the golf club’s car park on weekdays and the road will be open to all vehicles on weekends. We have consulted with residents and tourism groups, and thanks the public in advance for its support. For more info visit our Mangorei Car Park and Road Safety Improvements page. Request for temporary road closures New Plymouth Christmas parade 03 October 2018 New Plymouth District Council has requested the closure of the following roads to enable the Lions Christmas parade and community events to take place: Date: Saturday 1 December: Roads to be closed from 8am to 11am: Ariki and Gill streets from Egmont to Liardet streets. Devon Street from Egmont to Liardet streets. King Street from Egmont to Brougham streets. Brougham Street from Ariki to Powderham streets. Currie Street from Ariki and Gill streets to Powderham Street. Currie Lane. Huatoki Lane. James Lane. Map of road closure before the parade Roads to be closed from 11am to 2pm: Ariki and Gill streets from Egmont to Liardet streets. Devon Street from Liardet to Dawson streets. Liardet Street from Devon to Gill streets. Queen Street from Devon to King streets. King Street from Queen to Brougham streets. Robe Street from Devon to Powderham streets. Egmont Street from Ariki to Devon streets. Brougham Street from Ariki to Powderham streets. Currie Street from Ariki and Gill streets to Powderham Street. Huatoki Lane. James Lane. Map of road closure during the parade Roads to be closed from 2pm to 4pm: Devon Street from Queen to Dawson streets. Ariki and Gill streets from Egmont Street to west of the Centre City exit/entry. Brougham Street from Ariki to King streets Map of road closure after the parade The application is being considered under the Transport (Vehicular Traffic Road Closure) Regulations 1965. Submissions to the closure should reach New Plymouth District Council by 4pm on Tuesday 16 October. Submissions must be made on the road closure form, which is available online at newplymouthnz.com/submissions, or by contacting the Council on 06-759 6060 or enquiries@npdc.govt.nz. Emergency vehicles will have unrestricted access at all times. During the proposed period of closure, an approved traffic management plan will provide for ordinary vehicular traffic which would otherwise use the roads. Huatoki Walkway Diversion 02 October 2018 Huatoki Walkway: Security of Wastewater Network Tell Us How to Look After Your Green Treasure 20 September 2018 Please note: Public feedback on our Green Spaces Management Plan closed on 31 October. We all love our walkways, parks, streams and rivers, and NPDC wants to know where your favourite green space is and how we should be planning for its future. NPDC already has in place management plans for our big green spaces such as Pukekura Park and Lake Mangamahoe but now we need a management plan for 93 of our other green treasures, totalling about 300 hectares. “Walkways, parks, streams and rivers are where we make memories with our families and friends, and they’re a vital part of Building a Lifestyle Capital,” says New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom. “Our parks team do a great job looking after them and now we want you to tell us which are your favourites and share your ideas about their ongoing management.” NPDC manages some 1,600 hectares of parks and about 82 kilometres of walkways across our district with a dedicated team of specialist arborists and horticulturists. People who fill in the online survey will go in the draw to win a $200 voucher from Palmers Garden Centre. The green spaces are in the following areas: New Plymouth and Bell Block Herekawe Stream Reserves Huatoki Stream Reserves Mangati Stream Reserves Mangaotuku Stream Reserves Te Henui Stream Reserves Waimea Stream Reserves Waitara River Reserves Waiwhakaiho River Reserves Other Reserves in New Plymouth City Ainslee Street Reserves Brois Street Reserve Dean Park Dorset Avenue/Rossiter Crescent Reserve Flight Place Reserves Frank Frethey Reserve Frankley Road Reserve Heta Road Reserves La Salle Drive Reserve Lorna and Devon Streets Reserve Magnolia Drive Reserves Miritatana Reserve St. Ives Grove Reserves Shelter Grove Reserve Trelawney Crescent/Clawton Street Reserve Virginia Place Reserve Reserves in Bell Block, Inglewood, Pukeho Domain and Uruti Domain Joe Gibbs Scenic Reserve PG Nops Scenic Reserve Tainui Terrace Reserves Taramoukou Stream Reserves (includes Pukeho Domain) Uruti Domain Waihowaka Stream Reserves Waiongana and Waionganaiti Stream Reserves Waitaha Stream Reserves Undeveloped stream reserves Araheke Stream Hangatahua/Stoney River (Okato) Kaihihi Stream (Okato) Maketawa Stream Maketehinu Stream Mangamahoe Stream Manganaeia Stream Manganaha Stream Manganui Stream Mangaonaia Stream Mangaoraka Stream Mangapotoa Stream Mangarewa Stream Mangawarawara Stream Mangorei Stream Mimi River Mohakatino River Ngatoro Stream Oakura River Onaero River Piakau Stream Tapuae Stream Urenui River Wairau Stream (Oakura) Forestry Venture a Win-Win for Iwi and NPDC 14 September 2018 A 30-year partnership between NPDC and Ngāti Maruwharanui iwi is now reaping rewards for the whole district with the success of a joint forestry venture. The trees were harvested from about 6 hectares in the community of Tarata last month and have netted a healthy profit for both sides. The joint venture began with Ngāti Maruwharanui providing the land and NPDC supplying funding and resources. NPDC’s agreed share of the return was 60 per cent, which has brought the district about $170,000. “The success of our district is built on prosperous communities and this venture shows how we can help that happen by planning our future,” said NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird. “This venture is a win-win for everyone involved.” Te Upoko o Te Whenua Marae Chair Nathan Peri said the harvest fulfilled a 30-year vision of the iwi kaumātua and the funds would help secure the future of the marae at Tarata.  “The agreement started with the Inglewood District Council in the 1980s and was completed in unison with the NPDC,” said Mr Peri. “This agreement we had with the council has strengthened our relationship and also enhanced our integrity as an entity to do business with.” NPDC manages 333 hectares of commercial forestry on NPDC land and joint ventures with other land owners. 2018 Rubbish Bag Deliveries 09 September 2018 As we strive for Zero Waste, it’s our last year using red rubbish bags. From October 2019, we’ll be rolling out bins for collecting general and food waste. Every year we collect 7,000 tonnes of rubbish and 6,000 tonnes of recyclables from our homes. Moving to a bins-only collection service next year is one of the steps toward diverting the 40 per cent of recyclable and compostable material that currently goes to the landfill. Over the next six weeks, packs of red rubbish bags will be delivered for the last time, to some 30,000 homes across our district.The packs will be delivered in stages between about 10 September and 15 October. Some properties in New Plymouth city will receive five extra red bags first, then a further 52 red bags. Extra rubbish bags Due to a supplier delay, some properties will first get an extra pack of five rubbish bags, taken from existing stocks, in September, then their full 52-bag pack in October. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. Fitzroy to Glen Avon, Merrilands to Highlands, Westown to Vogeltown, Spotswood to Moturoa and the central business district are the areas affected. Delivery of five-bag packs If you live in these areas shaded on this map, you might get an extra five-bag pack first in September followed by your full pack in October Delivery If you do not have a letterbox and there is no secure place to leave a non-delivery card, please contact NPDC after Monday 2 October and we’ll provide you with a set of bags.  If your letterbox is too small for the bags to fit, a numbered non-delivery card will be left at your property. If a numbered non-delivery card is left at your property, please take it, your ID and proof of address to the Civic Centre or a service centre in Waitara, Inglewood or Bell Block so that you can collect your supply of rubbish bags. For more information please visit our Residential Rubbish and Recycling page. Puke Ariki puts Spotlight on Trail-Blazing Women 07 September 2018 From New Plymouth surfing star Paige Hareb to te reo Māori champion Hana Te Hemara, NPDC’s Puke Ariki’s latest exhibition honours extraordinary Taranaki women. Hina: Celebrating Taranaki Women was curated by Puke Ariki’s four female heritage curators and commemorates the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage. On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The exhibition features the stories of 11 Taranaki women from all walks of life, from Taranaki’s early history to the present. Alongside these 11 stories are a selection of women from our community who have responded with their own personal stories. “Suffrage 125 is a wonderful opportunity to explore the positive progress New Zealand has made in women’s equality and to celebrate the diversity of experiences from women in our community,” says Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day. As part of the exhibition Puke Ariki will host two events; the first is The Peace Project which will coincide with Suffrage 125 celebrations. From 8 September visitors to the libraries are invited to write messages of peace and equality on doves made from recycled milk bottles. All of these messages will be included in artist Viv Davy’s installation that will take shape on the Puke Ariki air bridge from 20 September. This installation is inspired by the work of feminist, pacifist and environmentalist Elsie Andrews who is one of the 11 woman featured in the exhibition. Later in the year, historian and award-winning author of A History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes and the four Puke Ariki heritage curators behind Hina will explore the history of New Zealand women, through objects and artworks from the museum’s extensive collection. The presentation will encourage seeing New Zealand’s history through a female lens: from the points of view of wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts. Hina opens in the Lane Gallery on 7 September and as well as the stories of the women there are a number of donated artefacts on display including a surfboard from Hareb and a kete from Puke Ariki’s taonga māori collection that was conserved by Rose Evans, one of the exhibitions respondents. What is Hina? Hina is the name of a supreme female element, an atua (primary ancestor), that controls the moon. Across indigenous cultures the moon represents knowledge and human enlightenment. Hina (commonly known by Māori as Hine-te-iwaiwa) is the patroness of women and all their labours. She is a celestial being responsible for childbirth, tidal occurrences, weaving and the cycles of the moon. Puke Ariki fact file It first opened on 15 June 2003. The total number of visitors to Puke Ariki and district libraries in the 2016/17 year was 809,036. In that same period, Puke Ariki and community libraries issued 792,563 items. It is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre. Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Gallery of Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regularly. The temporary exhibition space shows touring exhibitions that are either curated in-house or brought in from other museums. 10 Reasons Why Winter Rocked 30 August 2018 In the New Plymouth District Community Heroes Recognised 29 August 2018 When Suzy and Jamie Allen lost their eldest daughter, Carrie, to cancer when she was just 12, they did they only thing they knew how – they turned their grief into action, sold their house and built Taranaki Retreat, a space for those facing extreme stress, struggling with mental illness, or having suicidal thoughts. Last night (29th August), the Allens were two of the 12 community members awarded a New Plymouth District Council’s Citizens’ Award, recognising them for their significant contributions to the district. Collectively, this year’s recipients have decades of volunteering experience across a range of sectors, including sport, education, local government, civil defence, emergency response and health and well-being. The Awards, now in their 39th year, are an annual event inviting nominations from right across the District. This year’s recipients came from Waitara, New Plymouth and Inglewood and all were nominated by others from within their own communities. “One thing we know about our district is that it is filled with volunteers who freely and selflessly give their time and energy to the community,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “The Citizens’ Awards are a chance for our communities to recognise and acknowledge their own community heroes – the doers; the behind-the-scenes people who make things happen. There are many community heroes out there and the recipients of this year’s Awards are 12 of our District’s best. I couldn’t be more delighted and proud to recognise such a special group of people from within our community.” The recipients of the New Plymouth District Citizens’ Awards for 2018 are: Suzy and Jamie Allen have spent the last four years creating Taranaki Retreat – a community sanctuary and place of healing for those facing extreme stress, struggling with mental illness, or having suicidal thoughts. Lynn Bublitz has lived a life of service in the community, with more than 30 years’ volunteering spanning local government, arts, education and community organisations. Lynn was awarded a Queen’s Service Order in 2008. Alison Cole is current president of the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club, and has been a committee member, club member and lifeguard for the last 23 years. She is also the current club secretary and past president of the Waitara Kayak Club. Grant Downes has been an active member of the New Plymouth Fire Brigade’s Operational Support Team for the last 36 years, and is currently the Senior Station Officer and Team Leader – a role he’s held for 23 years. Faye Dravitzki has been a volunteer at New Plymouth Riding for the Disabled for the past 15 years, a volunteer at St Patrick’s School Pony Club in Inglewood, and a committee member and twice President of local Lions clubs for the last 22 years. Bruce Findlay was the founding Chairman of the Taranaki Air Ambulance Trust, and has been Trust Chair for 10 of the last 12 years. He was also a member, vice president and president of the New Plymouth Aero Club. Karen Gillum-Green has spent the last 30 years as coach, manager and president of TET Athletics Taranaki and Egmont Athletics. She is also a current committee member of the TET Stadium Trust, New Zealand Masters Athletics and Taranaki Masters Athletics. Jean Hastie has been a member of the New Plymouth Stroke Support Trust team for the last 15 years, a volunteer with the TSB Showplace’s host team since 2006 and at the Jean Sandel Retirement Village since 2014. She was also a past volunteer at both ASCOT @ Temaru and Hospice Taranaki. David Leask has been involved in civil defence for the last 35 years. He also gave more than 13 years’ service to the Taranaki Scouting movement, plays active role in the Anglican Parish of St Chad and volunteers at the Marfell School breakfast club. Erica Perry was born with Millers Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, and has been delivering speeches to local school students and other sufferers and their families since 2014. In 2018, she completed her first ever two-person team relay half marathon. Elise Smith was a founding member of the Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society, Project Manager for the Pukekura Park Portal Project, and is also a member of both the Friends of Pukekura Park Trust and the Taranaki Kiwi Trust. Have your say on Freedom Camping 26 August 2018 To camp or not to camp? Make sure you have your say Just where freedom campers can park-up and for how long is the question NPDC is asking the public, as consultation begins on its draft Freedom Camping Bylaw. Monitoring at 13 coastal sites in our district for the last four summers shows a steady increase in the number of freedom campers: 297 in 2015, 490 in 2016, 850 in 2017 and 1,656 in 2018. About 70 per cent of the freedom campers in 2018 were in non-self-contained vehicles. “Managing Freedom Camping is one of the District’s and our country’s biggest challenges,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “Our draft bylaw aims to strike a balance between welcoming freedom campers and protecting our most beautiful places. It’s important locals can continue to enjoy these pristine spots, free from physical and visual pollution. We’ve got an open mind and want to have a public conversation around what the possible solutions might be. So we’re urging everyone to have their say during the public consultation period.” The proposal includes: • To allow non-self-contained (NSC) campers access to only selected car parks near 23 public toilets. • To ban tents and other temporary structures. • To have NSC campers restricted to no more than two nights in any one place in a 30-day period.  • To toughen up the camping rules at Waiwhakaiho, East End and Kawaroa by restricting freedom campers to selected car parks. • To change the summer rules at Fitzroy and Oakura beaches to a year-round ban, although with the possibility of selected car parks for freedom camping from 1 May to 31 October. Last summer NPDC installed extra portable toilets, rubbish collection and security to help alleviate the impact. It is also working with a popular freedom camping app to provide regular updates. Fill out our survey form at: newplymouthnz.com/HaveYourSay or drop into one of our customer centres. Public feedback closes on 26 September. Rebate Chance for Low-Income Ratepayers 23 August 2018 Ruth Walker pops into NPDC’s Civic Centre every August and always leaves with a smile. The 74-year-old pensioner is one of more than 2,300 people who benefit each year from the rates rebate scheme. “The fact I can get back a considerable amount is great, and I’ve found it very easy every time,” she says. Getting a rebate depends on how much income a ratepayer has, the size of their rates and the number of dependants living with them. If you earn $42,000 or less per year, give NPDC a call all-year-round to see if you’re eligible for a rebate. Some retirement village residents are able to apply for a rebate, even if they don’t own their own unit. Some owners of owner-occupier flats, and named trustees of trust-owned properties, might also be eligible. Says NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird: “We’ve had a small team helping people apply for their rates rebates during August and they’ve done a great job. But people can apply for a rebate at any time during the year – just give us a call and we’ll tell you what you need to do.” For more information, contact NPDC on 06-759 6060 or enquiries@npdc.govt.nz. Huge Thank You for Tornado Response 21 August 2018 Our Civil Defence Team, Fire and Emergency NZ and NZ Police did an awesome job helping those affected by the tornado on Belt Road last night. Here’s some information about the incident. Tornado hit at about 5.30pm yesterday. About 20 properties have been impacted. 11 houses have been seriously damaged and occupants advised to stay with family or friends. One couple are in emergency accommodation. Further assessments are ongoing. Our civil defence team, Fire and Police have been busy helping out. Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park has had some minor damage to its Central Hall room. We’re onsite today cleaning up the tree damage. Central Districts Indoor Bowls club’s hall has been tarped by the Fire brigade and their insurance firm has been notified. Some NPDC facilities like Todd Energy Aquatic Centre were without power for a short period last night. It’s back to normal now. There has been no damage to NPDC’s core services such as our water and road networks. Homeowners are now contacting their insurance companies and are making sure any loose items around their homes are secure. The weather outlook is not great, more rain is forecast. So take care everyone, hunker down at home and keep safe. For regular updates go to Taranaki Civil Defence Facebook page or ring NPDC 06-759 6060 and ask for our Civil Defence team. Portable solar powered loo and shower unit for visitor hot-spots 15 August 2018 NPDC is delighted the Government is backing improvements to our facilities for residents and visitors. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has granted $156,000 from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to enable NPDC to buy a relocatable cubicle with two toilets and a shower. The Taranaki-made solar-powered cubicle will send an alert when its septic system needs emptying. The MBIE funding also covers improvements for managing sewage, rubbish and signs at the Waiwhakaiho River mouth, including Big Belly Bins that compress rubbish and send an alert when they need emptying. Mayor Neil Holdom says he appreciates the effort Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis is putting into working with local government on tourism infrastructure. “We’ll trial one of these portable units at a freedom camping site this year to see how it copes with demand. It’s an example of thinking differently and finding out if we can meet community expectations with local ingenuity,” says the Mayor. “The idea of a portable toilet is nothing new but the idea of a Taranaki-made, robust, fully self-contained off-grid system with two toilets and a shower, solar panels, water and septic tank, which we can move around to where it’s needed, is something new for NPDC. We could even use it for big events or during emergencies.” NPDC is currently considering which proposal for freedom camping it will send out to the public for their feedback. “Whatever the outcome of that consultation we know that during summer the facilities at Waiwhakaiho will be stretched, and our people have expressed real concern about overuse, litter and related health risks. The Tourism Infrastructure Fund’s investment in improved facilities for everyone at Waiwhakaiho will help us meet growing demand at this busy spot and avoid possible environmental harm without hitting ratepayers in the pocket,” he says. Eyes in the Sky Save NPDC Time and Money 10 August 2018 From flying planes in the Outback to flying a drone in Taranaki, NPDC’s Sam Dymond has an eagle eye on our water supply. The Water Treatment Plant Technician used to work in the Australian desert as a commercial pilot but he’s changed his aircraft of choice since joining NPDC last year and now flies a drone to check the district’s water network. Using the drone saves NPDC staff time and money in surveying hard-to-get-to places in the district. “It’s an easy and cost-effective way to look at the roofs of reservoirs or pipes that are far from a road,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright. “Ordinarily we’d have to get our staff into full health and safety gear before sending them up to the top of a reservoir, but now we can ditch the harnesses and fly a drone in a fraction of the time.” As well as flying a drone for NPDC, Sam, who has previously worked in the oil and dairy industries, calibrates and tests the equipment at all four water treatment plants to make sure they are up to the National Drinking Water Standards. Says Sam: “Drones are quick and easy to use. It’s a simple hi-tech solution that saves time and money and removes the risks of working at heights. “I really enjoy being a water treatment operator. It’s such an important job as everyone in the community relies on us to provide safe drinking water. Every day is different and we’re always kept on our toes.” NPDC is just one of a handful of councils in New Zealand that use drones for water supply inspections, and NPDC has just completed a drone inspection programme. NPDC operates four water supply networks in the district, comprising more than 800km of pipes and 17 reservoirs. It costs more than $10 million a year to maintain and operate the networks, delivering clean and healthy drinking water to about 28,250 households. Mountain bike heaven 02 August 2018 NPDC's Lake Mangamahoe set for 10km of extra trails