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Final committee meetings of term

Opinion Piece

This week we will have our last committee meetings before the election. On Wednesday at 9am we have our Community Development meeting. Conrad Lewis will be making a public deputation in regards to the Gardner Place tree removal proposal. In the body of the report there is an extensive review of the tree removal process that started in January 2018. Staff compiled a report that takes committee members through the entire decision-making process. Staff are confident that a thorough, inclusive process was followed.

The meeting will look at the possibility of a concession card providing a reduced rate for pensioners enjoying aqua fitness classes at the Olympic Pool complex. The committee will also receive a report that looks at reviewing the Youth Council structure. It is in need of a refresh as we want our younger residents to actively take part in council processes, but we need to make it smart and practical.

On Wednesday at 1pm we have our Environment, Planning and Regulations committee. The first report looks at the minimum requirements or benchmarks the council should adopt to assess resource consent applications that involve contaminated soil. The interface between, and the application of, the NES (national environmental standards) and the regional rules in the plan for discharges to land from contaminated land have been causing confusion for the development community and land owners. This has resulted in expressed dissatisfaction with council processes and advice. Internal processes and external communication will be developed to clarify these issues.

The next report updates the committee on an investigation into possible human health risks for the Waikanae Stream community planting programme adjacent to the Skate Park on Grey Street. This was a municipal landfill area up to the 1970s and continues to release contaminants into the stream. We have community groups who kindly contribute by planting alongside the stream bank, and the council needs to be sure the area is safe for volunteers. A Tonkin + Taylor study was done and overall the results do not indicate the presence of widespread contamination that would pose a risk to recreational users and/or community volunteers.

On Thursday at 9am we have our Finance and Audit committee meeting. We will review our sensitive expenditure policy which makes sure that elected members are well supported when they represent our council at functions or conferences. We need to make sure that every expense is justifiable and sensible. The policy was last reviewed in 2012.

We also receive an update on outstanding debt owed to the council. The outstanding rates debt is $8.2m, comprising $2.4m for general land and $5.8m for Maori freehold land. This is an increase of $100k overall when compared to June 30, 2018. Sundry debt has decreased by $126k to $698k.

Last for the week is our Assets and Infrastructure meeting at 1pm on Thursday. We will receive a thorough capital work update report on what is planned for the next 12 months as well as the appropriate budgets. The plans demonstrate the seasonal demand on our resources and the council’s construction ability.

The last agenda item updates the council on a report being done to investigate promoting a one-way traffic system for vehicles up Kaiti Hill (Titirangi). An option report is being worked on and will be reported to the next committee meeting in November.

The council is now in our official election period. Please make sure you are registered to vote. Get to know the candidates and have your say once the voting papers are mailed out on the 20th.

Rehette Stoltz