'Sharrows' point to safer roundabout cycling
16 November 2017
A new type of road marking designed to improve the safety of cyclists is coming to a New Plymouth roundabout.
Sharrows, or ‘share arrows’, will be painted next week at the recently-upgraded roundabout at the Mill/Frankley/Standish/Dawson/Downe intersection. The on-road markings have been used internationally since 1993 to indicate the likely presence of cyclists and motorists in the same lane.
“They’ve also been used in Wellington and Auckland for the last three years and they’re useful when there isn’t enough space on the road to build dedicated cycle lanes,” says NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford.
“The markings will encourage cyclists to merge with other traffic in the centre of the lane when approaching and going around the roundabout, and they’ll alert motorists that cyclists will be travelling with them in that space.
“Cyclists already have to use the road lane when going around a roundabout and these sharrows will encourage road users to be more considerate of each other.”
Those riders not comfortable merging with traffic can use the footpath to walk around the roundabout.
Australian research shows that sharrow markings increase distances between cyclists and drivers and also increase cyclists’ safety.
NPDC will monitor the effectiveness of the sharrows before considering their use at other sites.
NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million and employs 506 full time staff. We reliably provide all the core services you’d expect – roads, water and waste – as well as dynamic Parks, Libraries, an art gallery, commercial forestry, a Zoo, Venues such as Yarrow Stadium/TSB Showplace and events such as the iconic Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park.
NPDC changes gambling policy in a bid to help cut social harm
15 November 2017
New Plymouth District Council has made changes to its Class 4 Gambling Venues Policy to reduce the potential of gambling harm.
NPDC will introduce a sinking lid policy for gaming machines in Waitara and a cap of 320 for the rest of the district (excluding Waitara).
As a result, if venues in Waitara surrender their gaming machine licences the number of machines permitted within the Waitara area will be reduced. While there is no obligation for venues to surrender machines, the sinking lid sets a potential future reduction in the number of gaming machines in the town from 49 to 25.
Currently, the national density of operating machines is 32.7 gaming machines per 10,000 people. Waitara’s density is 70.7 and in the rest of New Plymouth District it is 39.7; if the target of 25 gaming machines in Waitara is eventually reached, the density would be a 36.1 in Waitara.
Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts says to help NPDC prepare its draft policies for gambling and TAB venues, a report was prepared on the social impact of gaming machines in Taranaki.
“That report showed that Waitara is a high risk community for problem gambling, in part due to the high number of gaming machines in the community,” says Mr Hodgetts.
“By reducing the number of machines, as gaming machine licences are surrendered through the sinking lid policy, we help reduce the risk for Waitara residents.”
As part of the policy, the rules around inactive (or sleeping) machines (when a venue has fewer machines operating than it is licensed for) has been clarified.
Also, changes to both the gambling venues and TAB venues policies ensure that the locational areas of these outlets match those of alcohol venues, so that these venues will not be located near sensitive sites such as schools and churches.
NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million and employs 506 full time staff. We reliably provide all the core services you’d expect – water, waste and roads – as well as dynamic Parks, Libraries, an art gallery, commercial forestry, a Zoo, Venues such as Yarrow Stadium/TSB Showplace and events such as the iconic Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park.
LLC pumps $7.4m into district economy and generates 103 jobs, says BERL report
10 November 2017
The Len Lye Centre has been a huge boost for the New Plymouth District economy, a new report says.
The centre brought in more than 17,000 visitors to the area from outside Taranaki just to visit the iconic gallery in 2016 and this boosted GDP and generated jobs, the report from analysis firm BERL reveals.
New Plymouth District Council commissioned the report to look at the economic impact the centre was having on the district. BERL says that 34,400 people made 118,900 visits to the gallery last year.
Visitors to the district spent $7.4 million on accommodation, meals, transport, shopping and entertainment and this helped to generate $5.6m in GDP. BERL says this expenditure was enough to generate 103 full-time equivalent jobs.
New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says while controversial it was clear the Len Lye Centre was generating positive profile for Taranaki, creating employment and delivering economic benefits.
“It’s positive to note the BERL report’s finding that the LLC is generating $7.4 million in visitor spend with Taranaki businesses, directly and indirectly creating around 100 jobs in New Plymouth in the process,” says Mr Holdom.
“Like it or loathe it, the LLC is a magnificent looking piece of architecture and reflects our vision of Building a Lifestyle Capital. Locally, it’s the cultural hub of our district for all ages, providing education programmes for young and old, a wide range of films as well as being a popular venue for corporate hosting.”
The centre was a hit with Taranaki people with 82 per cent of respondents from New Plymouth rating it as very good or good and 85 per cent of those from outside the district rating the art gallery as very good, the report says. “It is the jewel in the crown of New Plymouth,” said one respondent.
The research found half of the visitors came from Taranaki (45 per cent were New Plymouth locals and 5 per cent from the Taranaki region), 40 per cent were New Zealand visitors to the region and 10 per cent were international travellers.
Some 17,100 visitors travelled to the Taranaki region to see the centre. In comparison, 12,400 visitors came to the province to attend WOMAD 2017 while 4,300 visitors who went to the 2016 Taranaki Garden Festival were from outside the region.
The purpose of BERL’s research was to estimate the economic impact the Len Lye Centre had on the New Plymouth District economy, with an emphasis on the impact of visitors from outside the area. It focused on the 2016 year as this provided a full year of data.
BERL’s key findings were:
• There were 118,900 visits to the Len Lye Centre in 2016.
• These visits were made by 34,400 visitors.
• An estimated 18,900 visitors were from outside of the New Plymouth District.
• There were 3,200 international visitors to the centre.
• $7.4 million of visitor expenditure was introduced into the New Plymouth District.
• An estimated $5.6 million in GDP and 103 FTEs were added to the New Plymouth District economy.
• The average spending by each visitor from outside the district was just over $390.
The Len Lye Centre opened in New Plymouth in July 2015. Situated alongside the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and designed by New Zealand architect Andrew Patterson, the building is considered a contemporary interpretation of the essence of Lye. In addition, the Len Lye Centre has a number of display galleries, an education centre and a 62-seat cinema. The centre was developed through the long association between the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth District Council and the Len Lye Foundation.
Len Lye Centre: Fast facts:
• ‘Provocateurs since 1970’ when the Govett-Brewster was founded on a visionary and collection policy by Monica Brewster.
• Focus has been on contemporary art and links with Len Lye dating back to the 1970s and display of his kinetic art.
• Len Lye Centre is the only gallery in New Zealand dedicated to one artist.
• It houses the collection and archive of Lye, which he decided to leave to the people of New Zealand before his death in 1980.
• It’s open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
Trial of Safety Technology at New Plymouth Railway Pedestrian Crossings
09 November 2017
New safety technology is going to be trialled at three railway pedestrian crossings along the Coastal Walkway.
“The sites will have a mix of audio warnings, LED footpath warnings or both audio and LEDs, and the users will be surveyed for their opinions on the technology’s usefulness,” says NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford.
“To install the technology and enlarge the entry mazes to meet current standards, each crossing will be closed for a fortnight during construction. We apologise for the inconvenience and encourage the public to use the nearest alternative crossing during that time.”
The sites are: Tasman Towers crossing: closed for a fortnight from Monday 13 November (audio warning and footpath decal messages). Wind Wand crossing: from Monday 27 November (audio warning and LED illuminated pathway). Cutfield Road crossing: in mid-January (LED illuminated pathway and footpath decal messages). KiwiRail will use the results of the trial for its planning of safe railway pedestrian crossings throughout New Zealand.
The project is funded jointly by KiwiRail, NZTA and NPDC.
KiwiRail urges crossing users to look in both directions before crossing as trains are fast, can be quiet and can come from either direction and at any time
Yarrow Stadium TSB Showplace Shortlisted For Awards
06 November 2017
Two New Plymouth District Council-run venues – Yarrow Stadium and the TSB Showplace – have been shortlisted for prestigious industry awards.
Yarrow Stadium is a finalist for Ticketmaster Large Venue of the Year (more than 5000 seats) in the EVANZ (Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand) Awards and is up against Claudelands Hamilton and Eden Park in Auckland.
Yarrow Stadium last year won the title, beating Eden Park and Christchurch’s Hagley Oval, and has since received international recognition after it hosted the All Blacks vs Argentina match in September.
TSB Showplace, also run by NPDC’s New Plymouth Event Venues, is a finalist for Eventfinda Small Venue of the Year (under 1000 seats) competing against Auckland’s Q Theatre and Shed 6 in Wellington.
The region’s main theatre and conference facility, the TSB Showplace has had more than 50,000 visitors over the past 12 months for the New Plymouth Operatic Society’s season, the Taranaki Arts Festival, events, dinners, weddings and conferences.
NPDC Chief Operation Officer Kelvin Wright said: “To have not one but two venues shortlisted for an award is quite an achievement and is something the New Plymouth Event Venues team can be rightly proud of.”
EVANZ is the peak body representing the venue industry in New Zealand with a membership of 120 venues nationally. This includes 58 theatres, 39 event centres, 12 outdoor stadia and 11 convention centres.
Both venues are also in the running for the Ticket Direct Supreme Venue of the Year award, which will be the highest scoring nomination across the three venue awards – large, medium and small – announced on the night.
All winners will be announced at the awards dinner at the St James Theatre in Wellington on Monday 20 November.
NPDC’s Fernery in bloom for anniversary, summer season
02 November 2017
The Pukekura Park Fernery is getting ready for an exceptionally enchanting summer season, including its 90th anniversary.
The New Plymouth District Council-run Fernery will be a big attraction of the TSB Festival of Lights, which runs from 16 December to 5 February.
The Fernery, which normally shuts at 4pm, will reopen at 8pm during the festival and is expected to draw about 1,000 people a night, said NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.
“The Fernery’s iconic tunnels will come to life at night, and the festival will illuminate aspects of the display houses that aren’t usually noticeable in the daylight,” said Mr Wright.
“The Fernery is arguably one of the most stunning features of its type in New Zealand. We have a collection of more than 50,000 plants there, some of them quite rare, and the displays are constantly changing so there’s always something new to see.”
This summer will also see the Fernery mark the 90th anniversary of its opening on 28 January.
First proposed in 1918 to house a collection of native ferns, construction began in 1928 and it has been added to and upgraded over the years, most recently in 2013, when new staff offices, a potting shed and propagation houses were completed.
It will also feature its traditional Christmas tree this year and staff are preparing a variety of red-flowering and silver plants for a splash of festive colour.
Staff have also been busy keeping the Fernery open an extra hour each day during the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular from 27 October to 5 November.
The TSB Festival of Lights each year attracts more than 100,000 people to Pukekura Park to enjoy New Zealand’s leading light festival, music and family fun.
Work Begins Ahead of New Plymouth Airport Regeneration
02 November 2017
Users of New Plymouth Airport will start seeing changes to the view and baggage claim areas this month as initial preparations start for building the new terminal.
Contractors will begin work on a temporary building housing the Air New Zealand Regional Lounge and baggage claim area, says airport Chief Executive Wayne Wootton.
The building, next to the departure gate and along the frontage looking out on to the tarmac, is due to be completed in the first few months of next year.
Visitors to the airport will notice changes to the view out to the tarmac and the aircraft stands, says Mr Wootton. All other parts of the terminal will continue to operate as normal.
“This is an exciting time as we transform from a 1960s airport while working closely with Puketapu hapu on the design. Each year around half a million people use the airport which is the gateway to Taranaki,” says Mr Wootton.
The current baggage claim area, to the left of the main terminal entrance going in, will be mostly demolished when the temporary facility is built, as will part of the baggage processing area behind the Air New Zealand check-in. Both these areas overlap with the footprint of the planned new terminal.
Other work around the outside of the new terminal such as changes to the public and rental car parks, are expected to start by the end of this year.
In September, the directors of the airport company, Papa Rererangi i Puketapu, said in a report to the Council that they had agreed the proposed design, including the cultural narrative created in partnership with the Puketapu hapu, is fit for purpose.
Construction of the new terminal is scheduled to start next year and be completed in the later part of 2019.
The airport company is independently run and wholly owned by the NPDC.
NPDC's High Financial Ratings Confirmed says Standard and Poor's
01 November 2017
The strong financial management of New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) has been highlighted by finance credit agency Standard and Poor’s in its latest ratings for the Council. NPDC’s current rating of ‘AA/A-1’ has just been reconfirmed by the agency and it is the highest rating that can be achieved by a local government body in New Zealand.
In its report, the agency says the ratings reflect NPDC’s experienced financial management and high budgetary flexibility, and expects NPDC’s debt burden to remain moderate due to its strong operating position and exceptional liquidity coverage compared with global peers.
“Standard and Poor’s made particular mention of NPDC’s prudent financial management and our focus on financial discipline,” says Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird. “The agency also noted the good management of our council-controlled organisations, such as outsourcing the management of the Perpetual Investment Fund and diversifying the fund itself, and buying the Crown’s share of New Plymouth Airport.”
The ‘AA’ is for long-term foreign currency and local currency, and ‘A-1+’ for short-term issuer credit ratings on NPDC. Standard and Poor’s says the Council’s outlook remains stable.
NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million and employs 506 full time staff. We reliably provide all the core services you’d expect – water, waste and roads – as well as dynamic parks, libraries, an art gallery, museum, commercial forestry, a zoo, venues such as Yarrow Stadium and TSB Showplace, and events such as the iconic TSB Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park.
Kids Rise to Sustainable School Travel Challenge
30 October 2017
Kids took a fresh approach to getting to school in September by making 56,680 active or sustainable trips as part of the Fresh Air Schools Challenge run by New Plymouth District Council’s Let’s Go team. Sixteen New Plymouth District schools took part in the challenge, which is in its fourth year.
The schools encouraged children to get out and breathe in the fresh air with the arrival of spring by walking, cycling or using the bus to get to and from school.
As well as benefitting kids’ health and wellbeing, saving money, being good for environmental sustainability and cutting the number of cars on our roads, the challenge sees schools trying to win the coveted Car Free & Loving It Cup.
This year the winner was Frankley School, which logged an average of 29 active and sustainable trips to school per student during the month. Coming in a close second equal were West End School and Manukorihi Intermediate followed in third place by Woodleigh School.
New categories were created this year with the Movers & Shakers award for most improved school going to Manukorihi Intermediate, which also managed to snaffle the Golden Foot award for the school with the highest rate of walking.
The Wicked Wheels award went to Fitzroy School, which had the highest rate of riding, skating and scooting to school, while Highlands Intermediate took out the Clean Air Award for the school with the most bus trips and ridesharing with friends.
The Let’s Go team congratulates all participating schools, and looks forward to setting new goals in 2018.
Open space a milestone in Marfell Park’s makeover
27 October 2017
The opening of a new community-led open space on Friday 3 November is the first major milestone in the transformation and regeneration of Marfell Park in New Plymouth. Work undertaken by New Plymouth District Council means the space in Cook Street has colourful new play equipment, including a flying fox, as well as a half-size basketball court and a concrete platform that can serve as a stage for community events.
It will also include improvements to the track through the park between Marfell Community School and Cook Street to encourage walking and cycling.
The open space was created in consultation with community groups and Marfell residents, with locals getting to vote on their preference for the new play equipment.
It was created on the site of two former Housing New Zealand homes, including one damaged by fire, that were scheduled for removal or demolition.
NPDC bought the homes in 2016 to create a welcoming new entrance to Marfell Park.
The completion of the project in partnership with the TSB Community Trust is an important milestone in the regeneration of the park, said NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts.
NPDC is also starting a discussion with the community on the future of the BMX track, which has been unused since 2016.
“We’re considering two options for the site. They are an asphalt pump track or clearing the BMX track and returning the site to grass,” said Mr Hodgetts.
“However, we want to hear what the community says before we go ahead.”
Community Constable Nelson Pulotu helped organise the community consultation over the basketball court and arrange funding from the youth programme charity the North Taranaki Blue Light Ventures Trust and the Marfell Community Trust for the basketball hoops.
“A lot of the dramas with Marfell youth have a lot to do with a lack of facilities, but now we have one of the best sets of outdoor hoops in the New Plymouth District,” says Constable Pulotu.
“It’s great that NPDC is doing something for the locals and we want to encourage positive use of this facility and the playground.”
Marfell Community School Principal Janet Wilson said the new open space would help build community spirit in the area.
“There are a few up-and-coming basketball players who need the space and it’s a great playground for the kids who will be visible to their whanau,” says Mrs Wilson.
The project also includes a new home for Rangimarie Maori Arts and Crafts Society after NPDC approved a concessional land lease for a site just below the BMX track.
Inglewood's Water Pipes to Get a Scrubbing
19 October 2017
Phase one of resolving Inglewood’s occasional discoloured water is about to begin with the help of a specialised truck.
New Plymouth District Council will use the truck to flush out nearly all of the town’s water pipes, including the two trunk mains, to remove as much of a build-up of naturally occurring minerals (such as aluminium, manganese and iron) as possible.
Inglewood’s water consistently complies with the drinking water standards and is safe to drink.
The project will start on Tuesday next week (24 October) with preparatory work on the trunk mains. The flushing will run for about eight days between 8am and 6pm from Monday 6 November (excluding Sunday).
“It’s unlikely that the work will result in discoloured water coming out of taps but just in case, we encourage residents to store tap water before the work begins,” says Infrastructure Manager David Langford.
Phase two will involve replacing about 6.8km of old water pipes in the town, including the trunk mains. NPDC has put $2.1m in funding in the draft Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 for this work.
An independent report found that the intermittent discolouration of the town’s water is the result of a build-up of natural minerals in the water supply pipes. These deposits are stirred up during a large draw-down of water.
Show Your Backyard Some Love
17 October 2017
New Plymouth District Council’s (NPDC) Puke Ariki is bringing experts and locals together on Saturday 21 October to talk conservation with the focus on how looking after the environment can start in your own backyard.
Local and national conservation groups, along with NPDC experts, will be on hand during the Market Day Exchange in the museum’s foyer from 10am to 2pm to talk about recycling, pest control, how to live with a lower environmental impact and Zero Waste. The event, running as part of this year’s Conservation Week, offers visitors the chance to share and exchange ideas and pick up top tips for smaller living to boost conservation efforts.
NPDC’s Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day said: “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to share what projects/ideas they are currently working on and engage with the wider community.”
Wild for Taranaki, Purangi Kiwi Project, Let’s Go, the Department of Conservation (DOC), the NPDC Parks and Waste Management teams, Taranaki Mounga, Rotokare Scenic Reserve, Forest and Bird, Tiaki Te Mauri O Parininihi Trust, Brooklands Zoo, Taranaki Environmental Education Trust and Taranaki Regional Council will all have stalls.
The theme of this year’s Conservation Week is “show your backyards some love”. The DOC initiative wants Kiwis to get involved by protecting, growing, nurturing and caring for our nature. Meanwhile, NPDC is looking at becoming a Zero Waste district by 2040 and this idea was the most popular with locals in its recent proposed 10 Focus Area public conversation campaign.
Public Feedback Wanted on Jubilee Park Playground Options
03 October 2017
Plans to transform Inglewood’s Jubilee Park are taking a major step forward – and the community is leading the way.
From next week residents will have the chance to vote on a unique new playground design for the park, which were developed after input from Inglewood residents.
New Plymouth District Council has received seven designs from four companies for a new children’s playground, which were developed after input from Inglewood residents.
The designs will be on display in the Inglewood Library and Service Centre and posted to NPDC’s Jubilee Park–Inglewood Community Project Facebook page where people will be able to comment on the designs and vote on their favourite in a survey, says NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts.
Feedback can also be given through newplymouthnz.com/HaveYourSay.
The designs will be open to discussion and voting until 19 October when a winner is expected to be chosen.
The plans were required to be suitable for kids aged three to 15.
A community consultation resulted in designers also being asked to consider a flying fox and a rope climbing tower.
The unique playground will be part of a project to make Jubilee Park a ‘destination’ park that will attract visitors from outside Inglewood as well.
This also includes proposals for a new skatepark, which is scheduled to be completed next year, and a public toilet near the play area by the end of this year.
The Inglewood Lions Club’s plans for an 18-hole mini-putt course are also a step closer with the Council drawing up a concessional ground lease for a site next to the play area.
The Lions will pay $1 a year for the lease and channel proceeds from the course back into community organisations.
“The aim is to provide a district-wide attraction for residents and visitors,” says Mr Hodgetts.
“We’re working with the Inglewood Community Board and local people to get the whole community participating and to raise a sense of stewardship for the project.”
NPDC is helping the Inglewood community in fundraising efforts for further improvements to Jubilee Park.
NPDC Surplus the Result of Sound Financial Management
25 September 2017
Sound financial management has given New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) a $13.6 million surplus for the 2016/17 financial year, according to its draft Annual Report which was independently audited by Audit New Zealand.
Revenues were up on the budget forecast and spending was on target at $130m.
NPDC managed assets valued at $2.5 billion, resulting in international credit agency Standard and Poor’s confirming NPDC’s financial rating as AA/A1 in October 2016, the highest possible ranking for local government in New Zealand.
Acting Chief Executive Alan Bird said the credit rating was one of three main highlights of the 2016/17 financial year.
“The award from travel publisher Lonely Planet announcing Taranaki as one of the top two regions in the world to visit was another, thanks to decades of sustained investments from councils,” says Mr Bird.
“And many hours of listening and conversation have resulted in the creation of Te Huinga Taumatua, our new iwi-NPDC governance partnership committee.”
NPDC provides core services such as roads, water and waste, as well as dynamic arts, cultural and recreational opportunities for both locals and visitors. New Plymouth Airport, Brooklands Zoo, Venture Taranaki, commercial property and even a crematorium are part of the varied portfolio.
Other highlights over the past year were: A comprehensive community discussion on proposed focus areas begins, as a prelude to engagement on the 10-year work programme, called the Long-Term Plan. Zero Waste journey: the Council decides to develop a waste reduction and education facility on Colson Road to reduce the district’s waste volume. Treasure our Water: the Water Master Plan, to manage the district’s water supply with a focus on sustainability, is adopted. Modernising through technology: a new website as a platform for developing more digital-based Council services is launched. The Entertainment Venue Association of New Zealand Awards names Yarrow Stadium the Large Venue of the Year, beating Eden Park and Hagley Oval for the accolade. The World Health Organisation reconfirms New Plymouth District as an International Safe Community, a title we have held since 2005. The government approves NPDC’s funding application for the next nationwide roll-out of ultra-fast broadband to include Waitara, Inglewood, Urenui and Okato. The Len Lye Centre wins the Best Creative Place Award from Local Government New Zealand. For all the details, read the draft Annual Report in the Audit and Risk Committee agenda here: newplymouthnz.com/meetings.
Have Your Say on Suburban Business Centres
22 September 2017
Visitors and businesses at four of New Plymouth’s suburban centres will be asked for their feedback from Monday next week (25 September).
New Plymouth District Council wants to find out how the business centres of Westown, Moturoa, Fitzroy and Bell Block are used and what could be done to attract more people to them.
“The information we get from the public will guide the Mayor and Councillors when decisions are being made regarding the future of these suburban business centres,” says NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts.
One suburban centre will be the focus each week. NPDC staff and Councillors will be on the ground asking visitors and business operators to fill in the survey on an iPad, and the survey will also be online at newplymouthnz.com/HaveYourSay.
Each Friday, staff and Councillors will be present at a local venue with the information that has been gathered and ask for the public’s comments.
Everyone who fills in the survey at each suburban centre will receive a coffee voucher, to be redeemed at the Feedback Friday event.
The schedule of surveys is: Westown – 25-29 September (Friday venue Little Fed). Moturoa – 2-6 October (Friday venue Moturoa Cafe). Fitzroy – 9-13 October (Friday venue Piccolo Morso). Bell Block – 16-20 October (Friday venue Pekaren).