News and Notices

Two Route Options Considered for Coastal Walkway Extension 16 June 2017 Planning has begun on potentially extending the Coastal Walkway from Bell Block to Waitara and two options for the route are being considered. One option is to go inland, possibly through newly rezoned residential land in Bell Block, and develop side-paths along streams down to the coast.  The second and harder option would be a potential coastal route. “We could create the walkway beside the sea but we would have to factor in coastal erosion, protecting numerous historical sites and consider airport security,” says Councillor Mike Merrick. Whichever route is eventually chosen as the favoured option, the extension would enable NPDC to tell the region’s story at important sites along the pathway while preserving areas that are important to iwi and hapu. The area has a rich history as the rohe of the Puketapu hapu and is believed to be the first area settled by Maori on this coast. “Extending the walkway would bring visitors to Waitara’s West Beach and Marine Park and link it to the Waitara River walkway,” says Councillor Colin Johnston. “The extension would bring more visitors to the town, support tourism growth and be an opportunity to tell more of our unique history. It would connect Waitara to the proposed Taranaki Traverse route, up the Waiwhakaiho River to Egmont National Park.” The walkway is currently 12.7km long. Depending on the chosen route, the proposed extension could increase the Coastal Walkway to 20km. “Imagine waking up in Waitara and cycling an eco-friendly and safe route to work in the city; free of cars, buses and trucks,” says Councillor Marie Pearce.  “You could stop in at New Plymouth Airport along the way for a bite to eat and a cuppa while watching the planes.  “Our award-winning Coastal Walkway is a great feat of imagination. Who would have imagined 20 years ago that we would have one of New Zealand’s best coastal attractions?” The proposal to extend the Coastal Walkway to Waitara is open for public comment through the Council’s proposed 10 Focus Areas discussion. The public are asked to share their thoughts on the proposal by filling in a survey form at newplymouthnz.com/Top10 – all participants will go in the draw to win an iPad. New-Style Water Quality Signs Coming to More Sites 14 June 2017 A new style of recreational water quality sign is being rolled out across New Plymouth District. Nine more sites will receive a version of the one trialled at Waitara’s Marine Park since December last year, which generated positive public feedback. “As a result of that feedback we’ve made some slight changes to the design but, overall, people find this style of sign informative and easy to understand,” says Infrastructure Manager David Langford. The large signs will replace various smaller ones so that the key information about water quality and any warnings against swimming or collecting shellfish are all in the one place. The design includes a ‘traffic light’ system to mark any warnings. On the marine signs the warnings are: Green – no health warnings. Orange – no shellfish gathering. Red – no swimming or shellfish gathering. On the freshwater signs the warnings are: Green – no health warnings. Orange – no swimming or food gathering. Red – no dogs or swimming. The district councils use Taranaki Regional Council’s monitoring and national health guidelines to notify the public if the water quality of a site becomes unsuitable for swimming and other water-based recreational activities. The signs have been developed through a collaboration involving hapu, the Taranaki District Health Board, Taranaki Regional Council and the three district councils in New Plymouth, Stratford and South Taranaki. The latest information about water quality is also on the district councils’ websites, including a map of the region that displays the information for each site where water quality is tested. Driving the Change to Zero Waste: Have Your Say on Draft Plan 14 June 2017 The public can now have their say on how we transform New Plymouth District into a Zero Waste community. Public consultation opens today (Wednesday) on the Council’s draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan: a six-year overview that details where the district is at with waste and recycling, the areas we can improve and what action we can take to achieve Zero Waste. “It’s important that we hear from the rural community, commercial operators and urban residents because we all have a part to play to reducing the volume of waste we produce,” says NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford. “As a community, we’re doing better with our waste volumes but there are some options we can consider that would cut that volume a lot more. “For instance, 40 per cent of the waste that currently goes to the landfill could be diverted into reuse and recycling, and 60 per cent of the waste that’s put out in our kerbside rubbish bags could be recycled or composted.” Submission forms are available online here and from the Civic Centre, Puke Ariki and community libraries. “We’ve also launched MyRates.co.nz so that homeowners can look at how the various options would affect their rates, make the selections they prefer and, if they wish, send their selections as a submission,” says Mr Langford. “We’ll also be at the Seaside Market at Ngamotu Beach in the first weekend of July and talking directly with community groups so that we can answer any questions and encourage people to have their say.” The draft plan lists the district’s key goals as: Maximising opportunities to reduce levels of waste sent to the landfill. (The region sends about 55,000 tonnes of waste to the landfill each year – about 40 per cent of which could be recycled or composted.) Reducing the harmful and costly effects of waste, e.g. reducing the instances of illegal dumping. Improving efficiency of resource use. NPDC proposes to deliver on these goals by: Changing the current kerbside collection of a weekly 60L rubbish bag and two fortnightly recycling bins (one for glass and one for general recycling) to a fortnightly 120L rubbish bin and three recycling bins (for glass, general recycling and food/green waste). Growing the Council’s education programmes to drive behaviour change. Developing collaboration and partnerships in the district, regionally and nationally. Showing leadership and innovation by modelling good practice in Council facilities and addressing commercial waste. If all of the proposed changes are approved after public consultation, it would result in an additional $2.15 per week on household rates. Submissions close on 14 July. Are you a Big-Picture Thinker with a Vision for the Future of our Community? Do You Want a Seat at the NPDC Governance Table? 13 June 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is gearing up for a by-election in the North Ward following the resignation of former Deputy Mayor Craig McFarlane. Nominations for the vacant seat open today (TUESDAY). NPDC has total assets worth about $2.5 billion dollars and provides all the core services you’d expect – water, waste and roads – as well as a dynamic cultural and recreational opportunities for our people and visitors alike. The person elected to the North Ward seat will play a key role in continuing to guide the growth of our district. People standing in the by-election will need to be: Over 18 years old. On the electoral roll. A New Zealand citizen. Nominated by two people who reside in the North Ward (Waitara and Clifton areas). Nomination forms are available online and at the Waitara Library and Service Centre and the Liardet Street Civic Centre. Voting in the by-election will open in mid-August with voting closing on 6 September. Every registered voter in the North Ward will be able to vote – to check if you’re enrolled, go to elections.org.nz. Timeline for the North Ward by-election Tuesday 13 June – nominations open. Tuesday 11 July – nominations close (noon). Tuesday 15 August – voting documents delivered to voters registered on the electoral roll in the North Ward. Wednesday 6 September – voting closes (noon). Saturday 9 September – declaration of results. Public Safety Project Begins at Tongaporutu 12 June 2017 A key road safety project begins on Wednesday (14 June) at Tongaporutu in an effort to keep pedestrians off the state highway. The pathway that runs beneath State Highway 3 at the Tongaporutu Bridge is being concreted by New Plymouth District Council with support from local residents. NPDC Manager Parks Operations Stuart Robertson says concreting the path, which connects the north and south sides of the village, was included in the Tongaporutu Development Plan after community consultation. “This underpass is the only safe way to get from one side of the residential area to the other, as walking on the state highway isn’t advisable,” says Mr Robertson. “By concreting the path we’ll be making it accessible in all weather and it’ll be an easier and more inviting route for everyone to use.” The work is expected to take three weeks, during which time the area under the bridge will be closed. “We’ve scheduled the project for June because it’s a quiet time of year for visitors,” he says. “Anyone wanting to walk from one side of the village to the other will need to cross the state highway during the works period so we ask people to take extreme care. It’s a busy state highway and people will need to be certain there’s no oncoming traffic before walking across.” People Friendly District - A Question for Our Community 09 June 2017 The Council’s community conversation on its proposed top 10 Focus Areas continues this week with the issue of developing a people friendly district. A new survey on this topic is online at newplymouthnz.com/Top10, and everyone who takes part goes in the draw to win an iPad. “People are the heart of our district; together with the NPDC, we’re partners in our community, development and business,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “That is why we must become a more People Friendly district.” People Friendly means different things, in different places, around the world. In Buenos Aires and Singapore, for example, it means improving transport systems to help pedestrians get around more freely. Copenhagen and Melbourne are aiming to become cleaner, greener, safer and more comfortable places to live. A survey in Christchurch found many people wanted people friendly to mean family friendly with easy access to libraries, playgrounds and other facilities. “For New Plymouth District, it means serving you more efficiently and planning and designing our district to build stronger and more connected communities,” says the Mayor. “We’ve been listening to your opinions and feedback. We know your expectations of us are constantly rising and while we deliver some great services, like most organisations, we want to do better.” Councillor Roy Weaver says the Council is aiming to be a one-stop shop to give the public fast, efficient service in person, on the phone and online.  “You’ll be able to register your dog, apply for building or alcohol consents, order land information memoranda and browse a user-friendly District Plan,” says Councillor Weaver. “We’re working on smarter online systems that will let you track your request, submission or application in real time, on your smart phone or pad. For less clicks. “We’ve started this journey by updating our NPDC website and putting more Council services online, such an app to let you pay for parking on your smartphone. “Further down the track, we’re looking providing free wi-fi in the business hearts of Waitara, Inglewood, Bell Block and New Plymouth CBD – so you can stay connected when you’re shopping, dining or doing business.  “People are also telling us they want to vote online for Council elections.” The Council is planning for growing communities. An ageing population means we need more small homes near shopping areas, families want easy access to parks and schools, and people without children want more apartments and terrace homes near urban centres. Also, young people want recreation facilities, such as skate parks and sports grounds, while working people want to be close to their jobs. This means designing communities where people move freely – with fewer car trips – to see friends, family and neighbours and get to work and the shops. “We need to build walkways that link people to places easily whether they’re on a skateboard or mobility scooter or pushing a pram or a wheelchair,” says Councillor Weaver. “New facilities such as the Len Lye Centre and the planned new airport terminal must be accessible to all.” Adds Mayor Holdom: “We can expect that new smart systems will add some costs to our budgets for the next 10 years, but better services – with fewer delays – should lead to lower operational costs. “We need to work out if our community think it’s a priority and if ratepayers are willing to pay for it.” Long-Serving Councillor Richard Jordan named as NPDC Deputy Mayor 08 June 2017 Councillor Richard Jordan is the new Deputy Mayor for New Plymouth District Council (NPDC).  Richard Jordan has 22 years’ experience in local government, having served six terms on the Inglewood Community Board and is currently in his second term as a Councillor. “Richard brings a wealth of experience to the role of Deputy Mayor,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.  “I’ve been impressed with Richard’s leadership as Chair of our Performance Committee and particularly his commercial focus and wide range of experience across a range of industries. “Richard is very active in the wider community and is respected for his common-sense, his business acumen and his ability to guide projects that benefit the public. Richard will be a great ambassador for the district and an excellent leader among our team.” Deputy Mayor Richard Jordan was first elected to the Inglewood Community Board in 1995 and served all six terms as Deputy Chair before his election to the Council in 2013. He has a long experience in farming, including being a director of Moa-Nui Dairies. Cr Jordan is a trustee of the Inglewood Development Trust, treasurer of Inglewood RSA and operator of the popular Fun Ho! National Toy Museum. Richard Jordan steps into the vacancy created with the resignation of former Deputy Mayor Cr Craig McFarlane, who is taking time away to focus on his health. NPDC Deputy Mayor Resigns: By-election for the North Ward and New Deputy Mayor to be Named Soon 08 June 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Deputy Mayor Craig McFarlane has today announced his resignation from the Council to focus on his health following a stroke in February. Mr McFarlane has faithfully served the community for more than 13 years.  “I have absolutely loved my time on the Council, working for the people of the North Ward and the wider District, helping drive progress and ensuring our plans reflected our community’s collective aspirations. I’m resigning from the positions of Deputy Mayor and Councillor to focus on my health,” he says. Mr McFarlane says he wishes to thank all those who had supported his Council career; particularly his wife Rhonda, who has made a number of sacrifices to allow him to pursue his passion for local government. “Rhonda has been incredible, stepping up within our business while I have been working on Council matters and having to endure my coming home late at night from a wide range of meetings and community engagements.” Mayor Neil Holdom paid tribute to McFarlane as a solid wingman and a pillar of the community. “Craig’s resignation is a real loss to the Council and to the community. I think I speak for the entire organisation when I say we will miss Craig, we respect Craig, we did not wish to see him resign but we all understand that he must focus on his recovery and he has our full support. “As a new Mayor I have benefited hugely from Craig’s sage advice, his no-nonsense approach, his keen intellect and a deep understanding of the workings of local government and in particular New Plymouth District Council.” A decision on a Deputy Mayor would be made in the next few days and a North Ward by-election is likely to be held in late August. The North Ward covers from the New Plymouth airport to just north of Mohakatino, including Waitara, Lepperton, Tikorangi, Urenui and surrounding rural areas north-east of the Waitara River. The McFarlane family have requested the media respects their privacy at this time and will not be making any further statements on this matter. Craig McFarlane local government history Elected to the Waitara Community Board in 2004, serving as Board Chairman. Elected to New Plymouth District Council in 2007 and has served as the Council appointee to the Waitara and/or Clifton community boards every term. Appointed Deputy Mayor in 2016. Request for temporary road closure Farmers Market Currie St 07 June 2017 In accordance with the tenth schedule of the Local Government Act 1974, the following roads will be closed to ordinary vehicular traffic to enable the Farmers Market Taranaki Trust to conduct weekly Sunday markets. Date and period of closure: from 7.30am to 1pm every Sunday commencing on 5 November 2017 and concluding on 3 June 2018. Roads to be closed: Currie Street from Devon to Gill streets. Huatoki Lane from Currie Street to James Lane. In the event of a situation necessitating the use of the roads, contact must be made with the organiser on-site, on the day. The roads may be reopened at an earlier time as decided by the organisers upon removal of all road closure signs and barriers at the venue. The roads will then be open to normal vehicle traffic and normal traffic regulations will apply. LED Project a Shining Light for Energy Savings 06 June 2017 A large energy-saving programme is running ahead of time and under budget, and is bringing larger savings than expected. Two years ago the Council started replacing all 8,000 sodium streetlights in the district with LED lights in an invest-to-save initiative.  About 2,800 will have been switched over by the end of this month (June). “To say we’re pleased with the progress of this programme is an understatement,” says Infrastructure Manager David Langford. “We’ve got about a third of the lights switched over as at the end of May, and we are already seeing a greater than 11 per cent reduction in the total energy used by the district’s streetlights.  “In just the five months from November last year to March this year we’ve saved a total of 82,000kWh. That’s enough to power 134 homes for a month. “The installation programme is a year ahead of schedule, and because of the reducing cost of LED technology and an increased subsidy from Land Transport NZ the electricity savings will have paid off our portion of the project in 7.5 years instead of 10.” The original $5.5 million budget had a 51 per cent subsidy from Land Transport NZ. The lowering price for LED streetlights has changed the budget estimate to $3.82m and LTNZ has increased its subsidy to 85 per cent, to be applied retrospectively. The entire project is now forecast to cost ratepayers $573,000. As well as delivering significant energy savings, the LED streetlights have a cleaner white light and the new system is more reliable with lower costs for maintenance and replacements. Road Safety Improvements Require Temporary Closure of City Roundabout 02 June 2017 Safety improvements for drivers and pedestrians are coming to a busy New Plymouth roundabout. The intersection of Dawson/Bulteel/Mill/Frankley/Standish will be closed from Friday next week (9 JUNE) to Thursday 15 June (weather permitting). Pedestrians will continue to have footpath access through the site. Infrastructure Manager David Langford says the road seal at the intersection needs replacing. “We’ll also be enlarging the roundabout with a flat apron, which will encourage vehicles to slow down, and constructing new features such as a pedestrian island refuge on Standish Street, kerb extensions and tactile pavers,” he says. A map of traffic detours during the closure is linked at the bottom of this page. Detour signs will also be in place. “We ask drivers to be patient during the works and plan for the extra few minutes to drive around the detours,” says Mr Langford. “We know road closures are an inconvenience but they are essential to keeping the road workers safe whilst they are improving our roads.  “Remember, road workers are someone’s family and we want to be able to get them home safely at the end of each day – and removing the risk of working next to fast moving cars and trucks is part of this.” Map of detours during temporary intersection closure (216KB) Pedestrian Improvements Coming to Key Central-City Street 30 May 2017 Pedestrian Improvements Coming to Key Central-City Street Work begins tomorrow (Wednesday) on improving sections of footpath on Liardet Street, New Plymouth. The project includes repairing sections of footpath and replacing sections of kerb and channel. In addition, the traffic light poles at the Leach/Vivian and Courtenay intersections will be moved to better align their push-buttons with the pedestrian crossings. Tactile pavers for vision-impaired people will also be installed. The work will be undertaken in sections and will take about two weeks to finish (weather permitting).  “We’ll need to close of sections of the footpaths during the works period so please take note of the diversion signs,” says Manager Transportation Carl Whittleston. New Plymouth Businesses Get Behind NPDC Central City Focus Area 30 May 2017 Business and shop owners in New Plymouth are backing the NPDC’s campaign for a thriving Central City. “The Taranaki Chamber of Commerce has a keen interest in supporting the strategies to boost the vitality of our central city,” says chair Sophie Braggins. “An urban core with culture, activity and engagement that attracts varied retailers and appeals to a wide portion of our community is what we need to continue to develop.” Investment in the Central City has proved successful in generating business and drawing customers, according to the Chamber and the Business and Retailers Association (BARA). The West End Precinct, which the NPDC supported with funding to renovate the iconic White Hart Hotel, is a prime example, says BARA membership and events coordinator Michelle Brennan. “It is a challenging time for many retailers in the CBD, but the private development of the West End Precinct has encouraged further improvement and beautification of buildings by other owners particularly in the western end of the CBD,” says Brennan. “This has led to new and diverse retail and office spaces. Reports from retailers in this area indicate increased turnover and foot traffic.” The chamber and BARA support measures to improve the Central City for both businesses and their customers. “There have been some positive steps taken already with lighting, art, planting and assistance with event and promotion funding,” says Brennan. “BARA is working with NPDC on initiatives that attract new investment, specialty retail stores and encourage the public to see the CBD as the premier shopping destination.” A Thriving Central City is one of the NPDC’s top 10 Focus Areas for the current term. Residents and ratepayers are being invited to have their say in an online survey. Should a Thriving Central City be one of NPDC's Focus Areas 26 May 2017 Reinforcing New Plymouth as a destination for leisure, events and cultural activities is the aim of the proposed Central City top 10 Focus Area – and New Plymouth District Council wants residents to have their say. “Our goal is to have a retail and cultural hub that lures local, national and international visitors alike,” says Councillor Alan Melody. “This will in turn bring jobs and business opportunities, supporting ongoing economic growth in our district. “We’ll be starting the discussion on the Council’s Facebook page and encouraging people to fill in our survey so they can share their thoughts on the issue.” The survey is online at newplymouthnz.com/Top10 – everyone who fills it in goes in the draw to win an iPad! Councillor Shaun Biesiek says New Plymouth’s central city has been the business, social and cultural hub of Taranaki for more than 170 years. “When it’s pumping, everyone is better off. Businesses prosper, creating new jobs, and shoppers come for a wider range of goods, services and have a great time,” he says. “Visitors have a more exciting stay and are more likely to return or recommend New Plymouth as a destination. “The Lonely Planet global accolade is driving a wave of publicity that is benefiting our retail sector and keeping the tills ringing. But it needs our help to sustain this vitality for future generations. “Visitor and shopping trends are changing. We’ve all seen empty shops, the growing trend of buying online and competition from big retail hubs such as The Valley. It’s a sign the Central City needs to seize new opportunities and be more creative.” Examples of being more creative include the Utopia Multimedia Festival in March, putting in lighting to accentuate art in the Huatoki Plaza and support for heritage conservation, such as funding earthquake-proofing of the old TSB Bank and the Hookers Building. The Council is working with the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Retailers Association (BARA) to create opportunities during big events that bring a surge in visitors – for instance, entertainers and buskers in the Central City during WOMAD. When a cruise ship visited earlier this year, shops opened on Sunday and had German translations in their windows. Other opportunities in the year ahead include the All Blacks match against Argentina, the Shop Local and Spring promotions, Art in the Street, the Running of the Bulls and the Taranaki International Arts Festival.  “When Yusuf-Cat Stevens plays here in December, we’ll help retailers with a market day when food, entertainment and great shopping will take over Devon Street,” says Mr Melody. “We’re also devising a summer programme including a Festival of Laughs, starring top comedians, to run alongside the Festival of Lights, a bike race and a skateboarding competition.” Adds Mr Biesiek: “Our support for heritage buildings has helped create the West End Precinct, which fans out from the renovated White Hart Hotel to include boutique shops, businesses and upmarket bars and eateries. “Down the track, we’re looking at free wi-fi so people can stay connected while shopping, browsing and dining.” Kerbside Recycling Service Unaffected by Small Fire at Recycling Centre 26 May 2017 About 8.30am today a small fire occurred at the recycling centre on Colson Road.  The fire service arrived soon after and the fire was extinguished. All staff exited safely. Says NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford: “Whilst there was a lot of smoke it was actually a small fire. “The staff did a really good job following our emergency plans and we’re thankful that nobody was hurt, although we’ve taken two staff to see a doctor just as a precaution. “We suspect that it was caused by something in the recyclables that shouldn’t be there. Determining exactly what caused the fire is part of the investigation that’s under way now.” The collection of kerbside recycling is not currently affected by the incident as all recyclables will be stock-piled on-site. “We’ll be getting specialist contractors to inspect the equipment and confirm if any damage has been done. How soon we get the facility running again will depend on the outcome of that work,” says Mr Langford. Rubbish to Get the Smart Bin Treatment in Okato 24 May 2017 As part of delivering a more cost-effective and high-quality service, New Plymouth District Council is about to bring the ‘smart rubbish bin’ treatment to Okato. Two solar-powered Big Belly bins will be installed in the town next week following successful trials of the bins at Kawaroa Park and the Mt Bryan Reserve car park in New Plymouth. “We’ve had really good results from the New Plymouth sites, for both cost-saving and reducing the amount of litter on the ground,” says Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. “It’ll be great to bring those same results to Okato.” The bins compress rubbish and send an alert to the Council when they are ready to be emptied. Before the Big Belly bins were installed at Kawaroa and Pig-Out Point the Council would empty rubbish bins at these sites once a day at this time of year. Now, a collection crew is sent only every second day, “and even then the bins aren’t full thanks to the rubbish being compacted”, says Mr Robertson. The two new bins will replace the nine existing rubbish bins in central Okato, yet will have greater overall capacity. They will be installed in the centre of town next to the noticeboard and at the playground. In addition, a public seat in the town centre will be replaced with one made from the same recycled plastic material used in the planks that comprise the boardwalk in front of Waitara’s Marine Park. NPDC Lends Expert Staff to Join the Fight against Myrtle Rust 23 May 2017 Horticulture staff from New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) have joined forces with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to hunt out myrtle rust in Taranaki. Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson says NPDC is happy to support MPI to try to contain the menacing fungus.  “We have a team of expert arborist who have years of experiencing looking after native trees. These skills will be invaluable supporting MPI to identify and combat myrtle rust,” he says. “One of the first steps in managing an invasive species is to identify the scale of the problem and we have the people-power to help with that,” he says. “Myrtle rust has the potential to badly affect some of our iconic vegetation. Everyone can do their bit by keeping an eye on the plants in their gardens and in public areas and if they spot something that could be myrtle rust, don’t touch the plant – just take a photo and contact MPI.” The NPDC team has received training from MPI on detecting myrtle rust in sites throughout the region, which so far has 10 sites where the fungal disease has been confirmed. The fungus attacks various species of plants in myrtle family, such as pōhutukawa, mānuka, rātā, kānuka, swamp maire and ramarama. Commercially-grown species such as eucalyptus, feijoa and guava are also susceptible. Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery. If you think you’ve seen myrtle rust… 1. Don’t touch the infection – this will spread the disease. 2. Take a photo if you can, without touching any plant material. 3. Mark the site with a ribbon or similar; ensure you can describe your whereabouts. 4. Phone the MPI hotline 0800 80 99 66 immediately. For more information visit mpi.govt.nz. Deadline Nearing for Citizens' Awards Nominations 22 May 2017 You have only until the end of this week to nominate someone for a Citizens’ Award! Nomination forms are online at newplymouthnz.com and must be returned to New Plymouth District Council by 5pm on Friday (26 MAY). “If you know someone who should be recognised for their efforts in the community, send their name in now so that they can be considered,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “There contribution could be a one-off exceptional action or something that has been done over a long period of time – the quiet workers in the background who usually don’t get any glory but are crucial for organisations and community services. “We all know someone who deserves an official ‘well done’ for their work or dedication to a cause. These awards are the chance to give these people the credit they deserve – so don’t let them miss out!” Up to 12 Citizens Awards will be presented by the Council. Should We Improve Waitara's Stormwater System? 22 May 2017 New Plymouth District Council’s (NPDC) community conversation on its proposed10 Focus Areas continues this week with the issue of Waitara’s stormwater. A new survey on this topic is online at newplymouthnz.com/Top10, and everyone who takes part goes in the draw to win an iPad. In the 1820s, Waitara became the first port in Taranaki and the town started to develop around it. It grew in an ad-hoc manner and design standards, historically, were very different from today.  Compounding this is that Waitara is a settlement adjacent to the coast and built on low-lying swampy land largely at sea-level. It has Taranaki’s largest river running right through it and a high water table. Waitara has always been prone to flooding and like most of Taranaki, it experiences high rainfall – an average of more than 1500mm per annum. Even in its driest month Waitara can receive nearly 100mm of rain.  Says Councillor Colin Johnston: “Over the decades the town has experienced some of New Zealand’s worst flooding, for example in 1971 when more than 250mm rain fell in just 24 hours. “So today, when there is a severe storm there may be stormwater flooding in the town. Pipes reach capacity, the excess stormwater tries to find its own way out and stop-banks built to keep the river from flooding act as a barrier to water escaping.  “This is exacerbated by huge volumes of water from the large rural area nearby that also need to be released.” There are other factors at play too. As Waitara is largely flat, it is difficult to build pipe networks with sufficient slope to smoothly get rid of excess water.  When the stormwater system is overwhelmed during wild weather, stormwater starts to find its way into the sewer system. This increases the volume of water in the sewer system until it too, is overwhelmed, resulting in rare and unplanned overflows.  “We know during severe storms, flooding makes life tough for homes and businesses in the town,” says Councillor Johnston. “We care about this community and want to make it better. During the last two years just over $1.5 million has been spent on upgrading Waitara’s stormwater. But a lot more needs to be done.” Says Mayor Neil Holdom “So we’re investing in modelling high-rainfall events to predict the effects of flooding in the town. This will identify potential options for improving the town’s stormwater and what it might cost.” During the next year, the Council will be listening to and talking with the people of Waitara about this modelling, sharing possible solutions and what they might cost which is expected to be many millions. The Council will then propose including these solutions in its 10-year budget (called the long-term plan). “So go on, have your say and let us know if you think Waitara stormwater should be a Focus Area for our district,” says the Mayor. The Journey Towards Zero Waste 18 May 2017 Proposals on how to make inroads into being Zero Waste by 2040 are about to be considered by New Plymouth District Council’s (NPDC) elected members. The Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan is a six-year overview that details where the district is at with waste and recycling, the areas we can improve and what action we can take to achieve Zero Waste, says Infrastructure Manager David Langford. “Our community has expressed a strong desire for the Council to drive a reduction in waste and improve how we as a community manage it – something that’s been reinforced through our recent public conversation around the proposal Focus Area of Zero Waste 2040,” he says. The draft plan lists the district’s key goals as: Maximising opportunities to reduce levels of waste sent to the landfill. (The region sends about 55,000 tonnes of waste to the landfill each year – about 40 per cent of which could be recycled or composted.) Reducing the harmful and costly effects of waste, e.g. reducing the instances of illegal dumping. Improving efficiency of resource use. NPDC proposes to deliver on these goals by: Changing the current kerbside collection of a weekly 60L rubbish bag and two fortnightly recycling bins (one for glass and one for general recycling) to a fortnightly 120L rubbish bin and three recycling bins (for glass, general recycling and food/green waste). Growing the Council’s education programmes to drive behaviour change. Developing collaboration and partnerships in the district, regionally and nationally. Showing leadership and innovation by modelling good practice in Council facilities and addressing commercial waste. If all of the proposed changes are approved after public consultation, it would result in an additional $2.15 per week on household rates. “We will be wanting public feedback on the proposals so we intend to open them up to public consultation in the middle of June, after the Planning Committee has approved the draft plan,” says Mr Langford. The draft plan will be considered by NPDC’s four community boards next week and the Planning Committee on 6 June – watch Planning Committee meeting live online at newplymouthnz.com.  As a result of the current Waste Management and Minimisation Plan the Council established a new kerbside rubbish and recycling service, which began nearly two years ago. Since then: The volume of kerbside waste dropped from 12,000 tonnes per annum (2014/15) to 7,000 tonnes (2015/16) due to increased recycling. Kerbside recycling has increased: items being recycled rather than put in rubbish bags has increased from 13 per cent of kerbside waste to 45 per cent. Customer satisfaction has increased to 82 per cent from 72 per cent in 2015. In 2016/17, the cost of NPDC’s solid waste services was $8.2 million, funded by fees, waste levies and rates.
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