News and Notices

News Unique Taranaki Terminal Recommended for New Plymouth Airport at No Cost to Ratepayers 24 March 2017 A larger airport that shares our unique Taranaki story is being planned by New Plymouth District Council, to be funded by increased airport revenue. The original terminal was built in 1967 to cater for approximately 50,000 passengers per year and today’s passenger numbers are more like 420,000.  This week, NPDC’s Audit and Risk Committee recommended that the terminal’s footprint be enlarged from 1,430m2 to 4,092m2, following talks with commercial tenants who are expecting an increase in passengers numbers in the years ahead.  “After ongoing engagement and modelling, this larger terminal will meet commercial trends and will be paid for by increased airport revenue. It will be double the current size and also promote our cultural history, which has been developed with Puketapu Hapu as part of the Project Team,” says NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird. The price of the larger terminal is estimated to be between $21.7 million and $28.7m. “The terminal redevelopment is a commercial project that will be paid for by the users of the airport through airline landing charges, tenant rents and car parking fees – no money will be coming from rates,” says Mr Bird. An earlier and smaller design was costed at $19.3 million. This updated costing allows for potential building material cost increases during construction, the additional floor area and the inclusion of sustainability elements into the design. New Plymouth Airport is the fourth-busiest regional airport in the country and is the gateway to our region, supporting tourism and economic development. The new design came after in-depth passenger modelling as well as consultation with iwi, Puketapu Hapu, Air New Zealand, Jetstar, the Civil Aviation Authority and the owners of Airpresso café. The elected members of New Plymouth District Council will consider this approach at a Council meeting on 4 April and then public consultation will take place, as part of the Annual Plan or 2017/18 budget process.
News Capuchin mother Dixie with her baby New Addition to Brooklands Zoo's Capuchin Troop 24 March 2017 Brooklands Zoo has welcomed a baby monkey to its capuchin troop, as part of an international breeding programme. The baby was born to Dixie in the early hours of Monday (20 March) morning. NPDC Brooklands Zoo Coordinator Eve Cozzi says Dixie is being a protective mother but visitors should be able to get a look at the two together. “We’ve been observing them from a distance – Dixie is an experienced mum and she knows what to do,” says Ms Cozzi. The gender of the baby will not be known until it is older. The zoo plans to hold a public vote between three unisex names for the infant. “Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the ‘name the baby’ poll, which we’ll put up in a week or two,” she says. Boo, the father, was born at Brooklands Zoo in 2001 while Dixie was transferred here from Hamilton Zoo in 2008. Brooklands Zoo is a participant in a managed breeding programme for capuchins through the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). This infant is the outcome of a recommended paired breeding and is beneficial for the Australasian programme. Brooklands Zoo reopened to the public this morning (FRIDAY) after the pack-out of WOMAD from Brooklands Park was completed.
News Let's Love Our Trees says New Plymouth District Council 14 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council is urging the community to look after public trees, after another case of a pohutukawa tree alongside the Coastal Walkway at East End Beach being illegally cut during the last week. Periodically over the last five years, trees in the coastal area between East End and Fitzroy have been haphazardly interfered with and the Council is urging members of the public to instead get in touch if a Council tree is affecting their property. “Someone has used a handsaw and butchered this pohutukawa at East End Beach, cutting off several metres of branches and leaving them on the ground,” says NPDC Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. “They’re probably trying to improve their view of the sea but what they’ve done instead is encourage the tree to bush out, be an even bigger visual nuisance and harder to maintain.  “By leaving the trees alone, they grow up and our arborists will trim them properly so that eventually people can see through the tree trunks to the sea.” Mr Robertson says there has been a spate of illegal prunings and poisonings lately, including behind Lynmouth Park and Findlay Street. “These trees are on public land are used for shade, wind protection and landscaping,” he says. Looking after the environment is part of NPDC’s District Blueprint (30-year plan), and the recent Lonely Planet accolade that names highlights Taranaki as the 2nd-best region in the world to visit, mentioned the beauty of our coast. “These incidents make it harder for us to maintain this high standard,” says Mr Robertson.
News Local Firms Shine in Love to Ride 08 March 2017 A nationwide bicycling challenge has ended with two Taranaki organisations among the leaders for the most kilometres travelled during February. Eagars Funerals were first in the national 3-6 Staff Category of Love to Ride, while New Plymouth District Council was third in the national 500+ Staff Category. NPDC Integrated Transport Coordinator Liz Beck says Love to Ride was designed to encourage people to start a new biking habit. “It was a fun way to get people onto their bikes for leisure or commuting with the support of colleagues, and see how easy it is to travel by bike,” she says. “What’s really great is the number of people who hadn’t bicycled for a year or more who took part. “In Taranaki alone there were 46 organisations registered with Love to Ride and more than 700 participants – about 215 of whom hadn’t been on a bike for at a least a year.” Eagars Funerals Managing Director Casey Martin says a big plus about Love to Ride was that the challenge did not involve riding hard or being the fastest cyclist. “It certainly made my husband and I go out with our children on our bikes, and encouraged us to do little journeys as well as longer ones out to the port or Te Rewa Rewa Bridge,” she says. “For us, it became a bit of a routine. “The staff at Eagars had a lot of fun. We have one staff member who did more riding than the rest of us put together, and if she hadn’t gone on holiday we would have done better!” The competition also had a regional category, with the following results: 500+ Staff: 1st New Plymouth District Council, 2nd Taranaki District Health Board. 200-499 Staff: 1st Mckechnie Aluminium, 2nd Shell Todd Oil Services, 3rd Powerco Limited. 50-199 Staff: 1st Tui Ora, 2nd Sacred Heart Girls’ College, 3rd BTW Company. 20-49 Staff: 1st Sport Taranaki, 2nd Opus International Consultants, 3rd Zelam Limited. 7-19 Staff: 1st Core Group Ltd, 2nd Venture Taranaki, 3rd Hardy Packaging. 3-6 Staff: 1st Eagars Funerals, 2nd Brake & Clutch Rebuilders 2015 Ltd, 3rd Riddlez Interactive. Through the Let’s Go programme, the Council encourages more people into active and sustainable travel such as bicycling. Let’s Go is an NPDC and NZTA funded programme that aims to develop New Plymouth into a model walking and cycling community.
News Easter Sunday Trading Policy Approved 06 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council has approved a policy that will enable shops in the district to open on Easter Sunday. The decision, made at today’s extraordinary Council meeting, gives businesses throughout the district the option to open or remain closed on the day. The Government has given councils the authority to decide whether or not shop trading on Easter Sunday will be allowed in their areas. NPDC’s decision will enable shops to open this Easter. Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy
News New Plymouth District Council Chief Executive Resigns to Take Up New Role in Wellington 03 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Chief Executive Barbara Mckerrow has resigned to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer at Wellington City Council. Mrs McKerrow, who has been the NPDC Chief Executive for nine years and has held a range of other management roles within the Council over the past 31 years, will move into her new position in the coming months. New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom paid tribute to Mrs McKerrow and acknowledged her years of service to the district. “It’s with mixed emotions that we announce Barbara’s resignation. We will be sad to see her move on, having been a strong and visionary leader in the district, but we are also pleased for Barbara,” says the Mayor. “This new opportunity is clearly something she is excited about and New Plymouth’s loss is Wellington’s gain. We all wish her every success. “Barbara has made a significant and positive difference in our community. Barbara is a person with the clarity and courage to articulate a vision and the strength of character to go out and make things happen to achieve that vision.” NPDC has developed a transitional plan to appoint an acting Chief Executive and recruit a replacement for Mrs McKerrow, Mr Holdom says. “I will be making a recommendation to the full Council next week that we appoint our current CFO Alan Bird to the role of Acting Chief Executive. I will also be asking the Council to approve the proposed process to identify and recruit a new permanent Chief Executive for the organisation.” Mrs McKerrow, who grew up in New Plymouth, says it has been a privilege to be the CE of NPDC. She started her career in the libraries, moving through a variety of roles including District Librarian, the first Puke Ariki Manager, then Community Services Manager and the General Manager Customer Services.  “As a person who calls New Plymouth home, it’s been a pleasure to serve our community as the Council’s CE. “While I love my role here, I have learned a great deal as a leader and now wish to utilise those skills in a larger role, where I can experience new challenges. I have seen our community evolve over my time from a quiet provincial centre to New Zealand’s top town and Lonely Planet’s second-best region to visit in the world in 2017,” she says. “Memorable projects that I have played a strong leadership role in, include Puke Ariki and the Len Lye Centre, and it’s been wonderful to see how our growing arts and culture offering has helped to create these international accolades and economic prosperity. “What I am most proud of is the 500 staff at NPDC and the way in which we are serving our community by being a committed, agile organisation with strong leadership which is future-focused.” Mrs McKerrow is in her third term as the President of Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) and has represented the country at international local government conferences.
News Merrilands Domain to Become a Magical Park 02 March 2017 Fairies, kittens and dinosaurs will be running around Merrilands Domain from March 4-12 and it’s up to our tech-savvy kids to track them down. As part of Parks Week 2017, New Plymouth District Council is turning Audrey Gale Reserve within the domain into a magical, virtual world where local kids can be part of the world’s first digital playground. Run through smartphones or tablets, the Magical Park app is aimed at six to 11-year-olds and designed to encourage the use of urban parks, along with promoting physical activity. Kids will be able to choose from two games that augment the real-world field of view with visuals on their device, turning the park into a fantasy world where the aim is to collect eggs while avoiding dinosaurs, or gather kittens without being caught by the bad fairy.  NPDC Parks and Open Spaces Manager Stuart Robertson says the reserve would be the only park in the region offering the Magical Park game. “We see the initiative as an exciting and interactive way to provide our community with a great opportunity to learn, exercise and have plenty of fun at one of our picturesque park venues,” he says. “We know this is going to be a lot of fun for the kids – and possibly a few adults – and we look forward to seeing the fairies and dinosaurs come to life in our own back yard.” Developed by Geo AR Games, safety was a key focus when developing the app and deciding which parks would be suitable to host the game. Each park has been vetted to ensure a positive play environment, while the app is geo-fenced – meaning as soon as a child leaves the pre-set boundary of the game, the content will disappear.  The New Zealand Recreation Association has been behind the push of the app into New Zealand, and Chief Executive Andrew Leslie said he was looking forward to seeing Magical Parks springing up around the country during Parks Week. “We believe combining outdoor play with technology can motivate kids to get off the couch and be more physically active.  More… “We can’t reverse technology or progress, nor should we try. What we can do is create healthy relationships with technology by using the screen to get kids outdoors and moving around.” The app is free to download, uses little data and is compatible with Android devices, iPhone 5 or newer and iPad 3. It will go live on Saturday 4 March and be available until Sunday 12 March.  For an example of what will be seen at Audrey Gale Reserve, check out the video here.
News Fitzroy Pool Stays Open for Belated Summer 01 March 2017 New Plymouth’s free beach-side city pool is staying open for another few weeks. Fitzroy Pool was due to be closed for the season last Sunday (26 FEBRUARY), but the late arrival of summer has prompted New Plymouth District Council to delay its closure. “We’ll be keeping Fitzroy Pool open until the end of Taranaki Anniversary Day,” says NPDC Manager Venues and Events Ron Murray. “The weather has improved markedly in recent days and we want to take advantage of it.” The pool is open from 2pm to 7pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 7pm on weekends and public holidays. Children under the age of eight must be actively supervised by a caregiver 16 years or over, and children under the age of five must be within arm’s reach of a caregiver 16 years and over at all times.
News Have Your Say in New Plymouth Airport Survey 01 March 2017 Research by New Plymouth District Council will provide valuable experience for one of the region’s premier education institutions. From today (Wednesday), New Plymouth Airport will run a customer survey regarding travel habits and preferences, with the help of students from the Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS). PIHMS Senior Lecturer Dr Robin Hill says it is a great opportunity for the two organisations to work together. “The survey is a win-win for New Plymouth Airport and PIHMS as they want the results to help shape the new airport terminal and our students need to complete a research module,” he says. The survey will run from 27 February to 19 March. Students will be in the terminal at various times of the day with iPads, or alternatively people can fill in the survey online at nplairport.co.nz or newplymouthnz.com/AirportSurvey. NPDC Manager New Plymouth Airport Wayne Wootton says the survey’s results will reveal what customers want in the new terminal. “It will give us an insight into the terminal users – where they fly to and from, where they live, the split between business and the leisure travel, retail and café experience options and their choice of airline,” he says. The terminal development and the survey are part of NPDC’s District Blueprint key goals around economic growth and building partnerships with organisations.
News Road Safety Project Begins in Marfell 28 February 2017 Road changes to improve pedestrian and driver safety have started on Cook Street, New Plymouth. Work has begun on narrowing Cook Street’s intersections with Adventure Place and Omata Road, and installing raised thresholds at both sites. NPDC Manager Transportation Carl Whittleston says the Cook/Omata changes are the result of public requests to encourage slower traffic on the road, while the improvements at Adventure Place were planned as part of the development of a new entrance to Marfell Park. “The thresholds are similar to what was installed in Hobson Street to slow down traffic near New Plymouth Boys’ High School and the hockey turf,” he says. “The threshold at the Cook/Omata intersection will alert drivers that they’re entering a different environment where lower speeds are expected.” The project will take about eight weeks (weather permitting) There will be traffic delays during construction with either a stop-go in operation or a diversion down Banks Street in place. Drivers are asked to travel carefully through the worksite and the Council thanks the public for their patience.
News Temporary Closure of Brooklands Park for WOMAD Event Construction 27 February 2017 The WOMAD festival site-build starts next week.  To ensure public safety, Brooklands Park, Brooklands Zoo, the Gables, Kunming Garden and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands and their associated entrances will be closed from 8am on Monday 6 March until midnight on Thursday 23 March. “It’s about keeping everyone safe and we apologise in advance if it’s a short-term hassle for some nearby residents,” says NPDC Recreation and Culture Manager Teresa Turner. “The TSB Bowl of Brooklands and associated areas need to be transformed from a public park into a secure and fully serviced ticketed venue for this event. “WOMAD will be setting up the site for up to 15,000 people, which involves installing temporary buildings, stages, sound systems and large scale structures and it’s safer for everyone if the public aren’t moving through the area during that time.” WOMAD injects more than $5 million into the Taranaki economy. There will be about 30 plant/heavy equipment movements during the set-up. This includes installing 14 portacoms, 12 containers of various sizes, additional toilets and the associated plumbing and electrical services required, plus erecting fences, marquees, stages, lighting and seating. “It’s like creating a small, temporary town to accommodate thousands of people,” says Ms Turner. Signs will be installed to advise the public about which entrances are closed and which alternate routes they can take at the each temporarily closed entrance. Information on the event construction zone can also be found online by clicking here. 
News Free Desexing for Menacing Dogs 17 February 2017 Free desexing and microchipping of dogs classified as menacing is being offered by New Plymouth District Council. The initiative is part of the Government’s national strategy to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks. The funding is a good opportunity for owners of menacing dogs to have their pets neutered or spayed for free before a possible law change makes desexing mandatory, says NPDC Manager Customer and Regulatory Services Katrina Brunton. “Currently only dogs classified as dangerous must be desexed but it’s likely the law will be changed later this year to include menacing dogs,” she says. “Under this initiative, we have Government funding to pay for neutering or spaying and the dogs’ after-care, and the Council will pay for microchipping the animals. “We’ll be improving safety in the community by reducing the risk posed by menacing dogs and removing the price-barrier for their owners.” The Council is contacting all owners of menacing dogs in the district to advise them on how to be part of the initiative, which is being coordinated with the New Plymouth SPCA and Vets4Pets. After each dog’s operation, an Animal Control Officer will follow up with the owner about dog safety, risk minimisation, housing, fencing and safe exercise. “The Council has an ongoing focus on education and risk prevention with animals, and this free desexing programme is another part of that service for dog owners and the general public,” says Ms Brunton. The district has nearly 160 dogs classified as menacing that are not desexed.
News Audit and Risk Subcommittee Chair Richard Handley and Adrienne Young-Cooper. Appointment Made to Audit and Risk Committee 16 February 2017 An appointee to New Plymouth District Council’s Audit and Risk Committee brings with her significant experience and expertise from large public agencies. Committee Chairman Richard Handley says Adrienne Young-Cooper’s appointment reflects the maturing of risk management in New Zealand and the seriousness that the Council places on it. “We’re delighted we’ve been able to attract an independent member of such experience and capability,” says Councillor Handley. “Adrienne will provide an external perspective to our decision-making in this critically important area, particularly given our focus to retain the Council’s AA/A-1 rating with Standard and Poor’s – the highest rating possible for local government in New Zealand.” Ms Young-Cooper is a Chartered Fellow – the most senior status available – of the Institute of Directors. Her background includes directorships of some of New Zealand’s significant companies. She is currently a board member of the NZ Transport Agency, Chair of Housing New Zealand Corporation, and Director of HLC (Hobsonville Land Company Limited) and Wairaka Land Company Limited.  The Audit and Risk Committee makes recommendations to the Council on NPDC’s internal control framework and financial management practices, internal and external reporting and accountability arrangements, and risk management systems, processes and practices.
News Mangati Walkway Access 15 February 2017 We are carrying out maintenance on the sewerage network in Bell Block over the next couple of months, which will reduce public access on Mangati Walkway. The section from Parklands Avenue to Lantana Drive will have periods of reduced public access until Friday 31 March. The accessways from Lantana and Camellia avenues will be closed to the public during this time. Please read the signs and take care in these areas during the work period. Thank you in advance for your flexibility and patience.
News Mayor of New Plymouth Condemns Murray Chong's Social Media Comments 14 February 2017 The Mayor of the New Plymouth District Neil Holdom has asked Councillor Murray Chong to apologise for comments made on social media about Maori language. “I am deeply disappointed by these comments which were made personally by Mr Chong and do not reflect the view of the New Plymouth District Council. I conducted an urgent meeting with Mr Chong today and told him his behaviour is unacceptable. I’m working with Mr Chong to ensure this does not happen again.” Mr Holdom said the New Plymouth District Council was committed to developing partnerships with Maori in the district and building a stronger, more united community over the coming years. Mr Chong will apologise and that will conclude the Council’s formal disciplinary process. Four formal complaints have been received.
News Let's Go Get Breakfast 13 February 2017 Would you like a free breakfast with your morning ride into work? New Plymouth District Council is holding a Let’s Go Breakfast this Wednesday (15 February) outside Puke Ariki’s library wing for everyone who is taking active travel to work or school. “If you’re biking, walking, taking the bus, on a skateboard or scooter, or even carpooling, pop by for free hotcakes and maple syrup,” says NPDC Integrated Transport Officer Nathaniel Benefield. The Landing Café will be providing $1 regular coffees and hot chocolates for all active travellers attending the breakfast, and local band Sonic Delusion will be keeping the morning moving with live music. The breakfast will run from 7.30am to 9am, weather permitting – any cancellation will be posted on Let’s Go’s Facebook page. Let’s Go is an NPDC and NZTA funded programme to encourage more people into active and sustainable travel, to develop New Plymouth into a model walking and cycling community.
News Go Retro with Bicycle Race 02 February 2017 Have you got your retro bikes ready? The Velo Deus 20 bike race is on tomorrow evening (FRIDAY) in New Plymouth, where teams of riders race on pre-1990s bicycles. Teams can bring their own bikes or borrow a Raleigh 20 bike from the event organisers (numbers are limited). “We held this event the first time last year and it was hugely popular, so we’re looking forward to seeing people get into the spirit of it tomorrow,” says NPDC Integrated Transportation Officer Nathaniel Benefield. “Entrants are encouraged to dress in clothing of the era of these bicycles, say from the late 1970s and 1980s.” Velo Deus 20 is part of Let’s Go’s Ride Summertime Rolls series of cycling events, and is organised jointly by NPDC and JetCharm Barbershop and Gentleman’s Quarters. Competitors race over a 20-lap circuit of Egmont and King streets. The trophy is being defended by last year’s winner, Venture Taranaki, and there are also spot prizes up for grabs. Entrants can register at JetCharm on Egmont Street. The event is weather dependent; any cancellation will be posted on NPDC’s Facebook page. Let’s Go is an NPDC and NZTA funded programme to encourage more people into active and sustainable travel, and developing New Plymouth into a model walking and cycling community. Ride Summertime Rolls is an opportunity for people of all ages to get onto a bike in the company of others and try out new biking facilities or relearn old cycling skills. Event details are in the TSB Bank Festival of Lights programme.
News Public Warned About Ticket Resale Sites 01 February 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is urging the Taranaki public to steer clear of ticket resale sites following a number of cases where individuals have purchased overpriced and invalid tickets. With a number of events coming up around the region, NPDC Venues and Events Manager, Ron Murray, says it is a good time to remind people that purchasing tickets from sites such as global ticket marketplace Viagogo may not be all it’s cracked up to be. “There have been a few cases in New Zealand recently where people have paid beyond top dollar for their chosen event, only to be turned away at the door for having invalid tickets. More often than not, the ticket holder doesn’t realise they have bought from an unofficial site.” The TSB Stadium, TSB Bowl of Brooklands, Yarrow Stadium and the TSB Showplace all fall under the New Plymouth District Council Event Venues umbrella and contract Ticketek to provide all ticketing services.  There are currently tickets for Jimmy Barnes’ show at the TSB Showplace listed on Viagogo at inflated prices, stating there are only a few tickets left. This information is incorrect, says Mr Murray. “We encourage all those buying tickets to events at our venues to purchase from either the TSB Showplace Box Office, Stratford i-SITE, South Taranaki i-SITE, or online through Ticketek. That way, they will avoid any risk of running into trouble at the event. “Often the venue and show promotor are not obliged to honour tickets that aren’t valid, nor are they in a position to assist with refunds or providing alternative options, particularly if the event is sold out. We want to try and eliminate any of our community members having to deal with that sort of unpleasant experience,” says Mr Murray.
News Pedestrian Railway Crossing Closed in New Plymouths CBD 30 January 2017 A central-city pedestrian crossing over the railway line has been closed to improve public safety. From this afternoon (MONDAY) the crossing at Molesworth Street, next to the Len Lye Wind Wand, has been closed permanently. Two other safe crossings are available close by: the pedestrian underpass at Puke Ariki Landing and at the Egmont/Molesworth streets’ traffic lights. “The railway crossing at this site made sense when there was a controlled pedestrian crossing across Molesworth Street directly opposite, which stopped traffic to let people cross safely, but those lights were removed several years ago,” says New Plymouth District Council Infrastructure Manager David Langford. “Since then people have been faced with four lanes of busy State Highway whenever they use this railway crossing, which just isn’t safe – especially when there are two safe alternative crossings so close by.” This closed-off crossing point will eventually be beautified with landscaping.
News Shingle Replacement Roof for The Gables 30 January 2017 The replacement roof for the historic Gables building in Brooklands Park will be made of shingles. New Plymouth District Council Infrastructure Manager David Langford says the decision to replace like-for-like came after investigating various possible materials. “We assessed various criteria and decided that shingles are the most suitable roofing material overall, and best preserve the heritage value of the building,” he says. “Our intention from the beginning has been to use the best roofing material to stop the leaking problems at The Gables without greatly changing its character.” Mr Langford says the leaks will continue to be managed until the new roof is in place, the timeframe for which will be established in the coming weeks. “There are only a certain number of specialist contractors who can do this work and the timing of the project will depend in large part on their availability,” he says. The roof is estimated to cost about $150,000 but the final price will not be known until after the tender process. The funds will come from existing budgets. Under NPDC’s Heritage Strategy, the Council plays a key role in developing a district that values, recognises and cares for its heritage resources.