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Street trees, air quality and roads

Opinion Piece

Four of the council’s committees are meeting this week, and thankfully the agendas this month aren’t too busy.

First up on Wednesday we have Community Development and Services, with information reports on trees, the museum’s roof and a toilet in Tokomaru Bay.

One of my first big decisions as a councillor was about removing some trees — it’s a topic that always brings a fair amount of interest from the community. This report is on the street trees and garden implementation plan, which is part of the Communities Facilities Strategy. We have some trees that are high maintenance and pose a risk of structural failure. They are, however, well established and for some an asset to their street.

A review of a planned full replacement of Tairawhiti Museum roof has indicated alternate approaches to ensuring it is watertight.

The current “tank”-style long drop toilet at the Tokomaru Bay Wharf area is not fit for purpose, and following recent complaints will be permanently closed and removed from the site. This facility is tired and unpleasant, despite regular cleaning and maintenance. It is also the oldest public toilet facility in the district.

Environmental Planning and Regulation Committee have an update on air quality control — specifically, on the outcomes of the Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide Winter Screening Air Quality project undertaken from May to August 2018. This project has confirmed the value of using low-cost sensors to provide a snapshot of air quality trends.

A report to the committee on catchment planning is also on the agenda. The purpose of this report is to provide the committee with a summary of work across four freshwater work streams. This report provides an overview of the council’s freshwater planning activity for the first quarter of 2019. It is the first in a series of joined-up reporting to the committee across a range of freshwater planning activities.

Thursday morning Finance and Audit Committee meet to discuss and decide on the draft estimates for the Annual Plan 2019/2020, and the cemeteries fees and charges. A number of standard finance reports are also on the agenda.

Assets and Infrastructure have a couple of public petitions around two very important and public interest areas, speed limits and truck movements. Some questions around waste recycling should be answered in a report advising the global recycling market changes that are taking effect here. A report from Tairawhiti Roads and a presentation will complete the committee’s agenda.

These are public meetings and an opportunity to participate in democracy. The morning meetings start at 9am and the afternoon ones are from 1pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

GDC councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown