July Committee meeting highlights
Environment and Policy - 10 July
City Centre Design Guidelines
Gisborne’s heritage architecture adds to the urban character of Gisborne. Council’s 2009 Urban Design Strategy pointed to the need to improve the quality of development and design in the city so that it reflected our unique character.
Council has now drafted an updated Urban Design Guide. The guide is for developers to use and it provides up-to-date, good practice urban design standards uniquely relevant to Gisborne. It includes guidance on site planning, design, signage and crime prevention.
The guide is intended to replace the existing Central Business District Inner Commercial Design Guidelines in the District Plan .The guide would be referred to when assessing resource consent applications for future development in the city’s commercial zones.
The draft guide will now be consulted on with a technical advisory group and other stakeholders, before a change to the District Plan is enacted. That change would determine how much legal weight the new guide will be given.
District Licensing Committee
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 brings about a number of changes as to how liquor licensing is administered. District Licensing Agencies will cease to exist on 18 December 2013. Decisions on all licences and managers’ certificates (opposed and unopposed) will be made by District Licensing Committees (DLC). By 18 December 2013, Council must have established a DLC with members ready to fulfil their roles and functions under the Act. Each DLC must have a chairperson (an elected member of the Council) and two members from the community who are appointed by the Council. At the meeting on 25 July 2013 Council will consider the appointment procedures for the new Committee.
Liquor licensing fees
The Ministry of Justice has released a discussion document on proposals for a new fee regime for the alcohol licensing system and is seeking public feedback by 12 July 2013. The document proposes that the full costs of the licensing system should be paid by the industry, and fees paid by a particular type of operation should broadly match the costs created by them. The Committee agreed to make a submission to government to establish a licensing fee regime based on costs to Council and risks.
East Coast Forestry Blocks to be harvested early
The committee decided that 2 forestry blocks – Block 342 and Block 18 – planted under the East Coast Conservation Forestry Scheme could be harvested early. Under the scheme landowners received subsidy payments on the agreement that trees are not harvested for 25 years unless Council gives prior approval.
Staff confirmed that harvesting early wouldn’t harm the soils in the areas and both blocks will be replanted. Block 342 is 3.5 hectares in Shelley Road due to be harvested in April 2017. Block 18 is 6.1 hectares in Whakarau Road, Te Karaka and is due to be harvested in April 2014.
Freshwater Plan update
Council staff are now drafting objectives and policies and for the Regional Freshwater Management Plan. The Fresh Water Advisory Group that is helping to prepare the plan will be reviewing and refining these.
The first catchment management plan to be developed will be for the Waipaoa/Taruheru catchments, which will include the setting of water quantity and water quality limits. Public consultation and feedback to inform the development of limits and rules is planned for November.
Operations Committee - 11 July
Ultra fast Broad band update
Shaun Dancer and Peter Sims from Chorus and gave an update on the roll out of Ultra Fast Broadband in the city. The current programme – the CBD, between Aberdeen Road and the beach, Inner Kaiti and the industrial subdivision - is going very well and is on target to be completed by end of July. Other areas will be installed over the next two years
Winter logging of smaller forest blocks
Council will investigate the issue of heavy traffic on vulnerable roads. Concerns about the potential damage to public roads and danger to local residents during winter forest harvesting were raised by Councillor Seymour.
Councillor Seymour proposed that Council consider a mechanism that limits logging on smaller forests in winter because of the damage to the road, danger for logging truck drivers and the inconvenience to residents.
Heavy transport forum for Gisborne
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) facilitates a Heavy Transport Forum in Hawkes Bay. The forum is an excellent way to get messages to and from the heavy transport industry. The Forum provides an opportunity to influence operator behaviour through education, celebrating best practice publicly and discussing emerging initiatives that may in time affect their business.
NZTA and Council staff believe a similar forum would be valuable to this region. Therefore NZTA is willing to take the lead in establishing a forum in Gisborne with the first meeting to be held in August 2013 and staff will report back following that.
Water restrictions effective
Water restrictions over summer resulted in about 10% saving in water consumption. Dams are now approximately 80% full.
How the Gisborne district is dealing with its rubbish
A review of how Council is managing solid waste prior to a number of contracts needing to be renewed in 2015 has shown that we are leading the country in waste reduction and other areas have seen significant improvements.
• The widespread use of our recycling service and the 5kg limit on stickered rubbish bags have been significant in keeping Gisborne’s waste to landfill one of the lowest in the country.
• There has been a lot less rubbish going to rural transfer stations in the district since a new charging system was introduced. Rural township residents get 52 stickers each year which is enough for one 5 kg bag per week. Recycling is free.
• In Ruatoria a weekly kerbside collection has been retained. This is now a user pays system and is being used more by the community. Over the last seven months there has been an increase of one tonne per month of extra recycling and waste carted to the Waiapu transfer station by the contractor.
• Council will continue to contract community caretakers to service our rural townships. The nine community caretakers manage the transfer stations, keep toilets and streets clean and empty litter bins. The contracts provide local employment for local people within the townships and have worked well. Most of the contracts come up for renewal in the next couple of months.
• With less rubbish going to landfill, it is likely that extending the Waiapu Landfill (at a cost of $430,000) can be deferred to beyond 2025.