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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Love to Ride in New Plymouth
29 January 2017
Jump on a bike this February and show how much you Love to Ride! This nationwide event is for workplaces to sign up and encourage their staff to cycle to and from work, and see for themselves how easy and enjoyable cycling is. New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says New Plymouth is a great destination for riding. “We have fantastic on-road and off-road cycling routes throughout the city so it’s easy to get on a bike before and after work,” he says. “We’ve been really impressed with the number of proactive Taranaki businesses who have already signed up. We encourage everyone to give cycling a crack in February and see for themselves how easy it is to incorporate cycling into their daily routines.” In addition, the Mayor will be hosting leisurely rides at lunchtime on Thursday 2, 6 and 23 February to encourage inner-city workers to get on their bikes. The first ride will leave from the Civic Centre, Liardet Street at 12.10pm for a trip to the Coastal Walkway, up Te Henui Walkway and back along Lemon Street. New Plymouth District Council Manager Transportation Carl Whittleston says Love to Ride is not about how many kilometres each business can tally up over the month. “It’s purely motivation to get more people onto bikes with a smile on their face,” he says. “We’ve had years of investment into cycling infrastructure from the Council and the NZ Transport Agency which makes New Plymouth very cycle-friendly.” The nationwide event is offering up prizes, including trips to Croatia and Vancouver as well as smaller giveaways. To register, go to lovetoride.net/np.
Ultra-Fast Broadband Coming to Local Towns
26 January 2017
Some of the fastest internet speeds in New Zealand will be coming to towns in New Plymouth District! A funding application by New Plymouth District Council has resulted in the Government including Waitara, Inglewood, Urenui and Okato in the next nationwide roll-out of ultra-fast broadband. NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts welcomes the Government’s investment in the district. He says the Council worked with each community to draft up the bid to the Government, competing against other small towns across the nation. “We’re delighted these towns will receive funding to give them access to this cutting-edge technology and connect them more reliably to the world,” says Mr Hodgetts. “It will enhance business opportunities, provide more reliable internet access for education and encourage innovation.” This initiative is part of the Council’s long-term economic and digital strategy. The Government says this second phase of UFB installations throughout the country will start in 2017 and be completed between 2018 and 2024.
Record Number of Passengers at New Plymouth Airport
20 January 2017
New Plymouth Airport has hit a new high for passenger numbers in a calendar year. 2016 saw a 20.3 per cent increase on 2015’s numbers, rising from 342,185 passengers to 411,661. “During the last 10 years we’ve had an annual average increase in passenger numbers of 4.8 per cent,” says Manager New Plymouth Airport Wayne Wootton. “This latest jump is due in large part to Jetstar starting services from New Plymouth Airport in February last year. “On top of that, Air New Zealand has had a 4.4 per cent increase in passenger numbers through our airport last year.” New Plymouth Airport is the fourth-busiest regional airport in New Zealand, and the ninth busiest overall (including international airports). Plans are well advanced on the development of a new passenger terminal at the airport. Construction is expected to begin by the end of this year and completed towards the end of 2018. The five busiest regional airports are, in order: Nelson, Napier, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Tauranga.
Proposed Easter Sunday Trading Shop Policy
17 January 2017
The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was recently amended to enable territorial authorities to decide whether to allow shops to trade on Easter Sundays. We are seeking your submission on a proposal to enable shops to open on Easter Sundays throughout New Plymouth District. If agreed, shops will be able to determine whether or not to open on Easter Sundays. There will be no compulsion for them to do so. Consultation opens on 18 January and runs until 20 February 2017. Late submissions will not be accepted. Submission forms and copies of the statement of proposal are available from the Civic Centre or service centres in Bell Block, Inglewood and Waitara and online at www.newplymouthnz.com/EasterTrading.
Adoption of Local Alcohol Policy
14 January 2017
New Plymouth District Council and Stratford District Council have developed a joint Local Alcohol Policy. On 2 November 2016 the Local Alcohol Policy was adopted by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licencing Authority. This policy will come into effect for all off-licence and on-licence holders on Tuesday 28 February 2017, with the exception of clause 6.7 – Maximum Trading Hours, which will come into effect on Monday 1 May 2017. Read the Local Alcohol Policy online or pick up a hard copy from: Civic Centre, Liardet Street, New Plymouth. Puke Ariki and district libraries. Library and service centres in Bell Block, Inglewood and Waitara. Service Centre, 61-63 Miranda Street, Stratford Stratford Library, Prospero Place, Stratford
Dangerous Building Notice Issued In Central City and Building Vacated
12 January 2017
New Plymouth District Council has made a decision under the Building Act 2004, to issue a Dangerous Building notice to 47 Currie Street in central New Plymouth. The Council has received advice the south wall of this building is structurally unsound and the building has been vacated. Safety is the Council's top priority. "Engineers have inspected the building over the last couple of days and say three of the columns which support the south wall of the building, are not structurally sound. As the regulator, public safety is our top priority, the building has been vacated and neighbouring businesses have been advised to take precautions," says Katrina Brunton, NPDC Customer and Regulatory Services Manager. The owner of 47 Currie Street has been given 20 working days to provide a plan for remediation to the Council and is installing hoardings over the windows as a precautionary measure. The laneway between this building and the neighbouring Taranaki Newspapers Limited (TNL) building has been cordoned off to the public. The damage to the building's columns were identified during renovations and may have been impacted during the Kaikoura earthquake.
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Last updated: 28 January 2019