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Councillors hear community
15 May 2015
Members of the community will make their submissions heard at hearings on the draft Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025 next week. Council’s month long consultation on the draft plan ended on 17 April with a total of 308 written submissions from a majority of local individuals or community groups. “That’s over a thousand pages of submissions for Council to read and comprehend,” says Mayor Meng Foon, “Our community engaged with us through many modes of communication, at public meetings, through email, Facebook, twitter. I received phone calls and was stopped by people for a chat in the supermarket and at the Farmers market. “It will be an intense 3 days of concentration as we hear from just a fraction of those submitters.” 68 submitters who wanted to speak to their submissions will each make 10 minute presentations to Councillors when hearings start on Monday, running through until Wednesday morning. School students from a number of schools contributed to submissions and groups from Wainui Beach School and Ormond School will present on their proposed ideas for future plans. At Wainui Beach School a team of 4 senior students consulted with 5 classes and gathered responses to a series of questions relating to the Tairawhiti area and some of the Council projects included in the ten year plan. When asked what changes would they would like to see, responses included recycling bins at parks and sports grounds, ideas for activities and developments at the Olympic Pools, suggestions for the Titirangi Restoration and more plantings in playgrounds and reserves. Olympic Pool manager Hendrik Geyer said it was great to see students taking an active interest in future development, some of the ideas for the Olympic Pool Complex we can try to implement in time for this summer. The proposed plans for cycle and walkways was by far the most talked about topic with 214 submission comments; almost 95% of those in support of cycleway projects As part of their submission Tourism Eastland encouraged Council to “Continue investment in cycling infrastructure as this makes our city a nicer place to be and provides active transport solutions and cycle tourism.” The draft plan shows a staged approach to creating a whole network of routes and safety improvements in both Gisborne and rural communities. Many submissions provided arguments for and against the priority of which cycleways should be built first. Strategic manager David Wilson says “Council can consider prioritising school cycling routes within the current budgets set for each year.” Mayor Meng Foon says overall submissions show a very positive view of this plan, with a large number of people in support of the direction we’re going in. “This is exciting for our 10 year plan. We have set a good base going forward.” Hearings at Council Chambers in Fitzherbert Street are open to the public 9am – 3pm Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 May and 9am – 10.30am Wednesday 20 May. A meeting of Council takes place on Thursday 21 May at 9am to deliberate on submissions. Read more >>
Stringing big pipe together
14 May 2015
One of the biggest PVC pipelines in the Gisborne district is about to be installed over the next 2 weeks as Council commences work on the new Steele Road wastewater pressure pipeline yesterday. “We will be drilling and open trenching 750 meters of pipeline along Steele Road, Matthews Road and Wainui Road over the next week or two,” says water utilities manager Neville West. “‘Pipe strings’ are currently being welded together in lengths of 60 to 120 meters.” The pipe will then be pulled from the welding area to the drill rig, then the rig will drill a cavity for the pipe and pull the pipe string into position in the ground. Most of the pipeline will be directionally drilled at 2 meters deep, with some open excavation for road crossings. “This means at times access to properties will be restricted and we will need to take the pipe strings across the road to the drill rig,” says Mr West, “Contractors will ensure people are informed if access to houses in the area will be affected.” The pipeline conveys wastewater flows from 550 households in the Steele Road area into the main interceptor on Wainui Road The current pipeline is in poor condition and being renewed as part of Council’s wastewater renewal programme in the current ten year plan. Council are proposing to spend another $22 million in the long term plan for 2015 – 2025 on work that will reduce wastewater discharge into our waterways. Read more >>
Kale looks tempting
14 May 2015
There has been increased interest in the Kale, Chard and Stevia that has been planted along Gladstone Road and in the Fitzherbert Street roundabout as part of Council's winter street planting theme. People have been asking if the plants are available for the public to pick and take home to eat. "These are definitely the same type of veges you want to cook up for winter soups or even grow in your home garden,” says acting planning and development manager Geoff Canham. “But it’s important to remember that plants that grow on the side of high-traffic roads like these have a good chance of being contaminated by chemical run-off from vehicles." “These varieties were selected along with a combination of natives and exotic annuals to give an eye-catching texture and colour to the road islands and CBD planters,” says Mr Canham. “They’re essentially demonstration plantings to trial for the ‘Our Place’ project that is looking to include edible gardens in public places elsewhere in the city.” If you are interested in picking your own free fresh veges there are a range of community gardens run by local organisations in Gisborne and rural areas. EIT Tairawhiti run a series of community garden activities throughout the district with community organisations like The Environment Centre, with the purpose to help residents in communities to get involved, learn about gardening and to share knowledge, seeds and kai. A new intake of EIT Level 2 Rural Studies will be open in July offering students education in food growing basics that leads into Level 3 course in sustainable growing, organics, natural fertilisers and worm farming. Locally grown Kale, Silverbeet and Chard and other seasonal veges are also available from the earlybird and farmers markets at good prices. Council reminds people that food harvested from roadsides could potentially contain harmful contaminants and picking plants could also be a hazard for traffic. Read more >>
State of sports fields to be improved
29 Apr 2015
We have invited the NZ Sports Turf Institute to assist with an assessment of all sports playing fields in the city. Recent comments in The Gisborne Herald have drawn attention to the state of our sports grounds. Community and recreation manager Andrew White says “Council are also not happy with the early season state of some of our sports fields this year.” “Climate is expected to increasingly impact on the ability to deliver consistent natural surfaces year on year. “Our sports grounds are not irrigated over summer, the ground is still quite hard and cracking won’t disappear until soil moisture improves. “Our maintenance contractor has followed the same renovation programme which provided good success last season, but unfortunately, with the dryer autumn conditions this year, we have seen a delay in grass establishment for winter. " In response to the specific concerns raised by letter writers, Mr White says “while we expect traditionally problematic surfaces such as Anzac and Nelson Parks to be a lot more playable as a result of drainage work over the previous summer, we have been caught short with our early season preparations on some grounds, including Childers Road Reserve. “We are not unique in facing these challenges and can learn from other centres that have developed innovative ways of responding to such issues.” Gisborne district is in the top tier of value-for-money parks agencies in New Zealand Local Government. We have more than twice the national average of public open space land per head of population - almost 35 hectares per 1000 residents. In contrast, our parks management costs are the second lowest of surveyed councils at $370 per hectare – the national average is $1,509 per hectare. “Every three years, when Council reviews our ten year plan we comprehensively review the levels of service we provide and any changes to operational costs,” says Mr White. During early consultation on the Long Term Plan, we received comments about the state of the turf at The Oval, and more recently a submission for reinstating fields at Te Puia. No submissions to upgrade playing surfaces or increase irrigation of sports grounds were received. “If we are going to do better we need to determine what improvements should be made and the cost within the overall plan for the next few years," says Mr White, “Unfortunately there are no quick fixes. Over the coming weeks, as the weather conditions become more suited to winter grass species, our maintenance contractor will be committing increased staff and equipment to get our fields into the best condition possible. “With advice from the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute, we're looking to improve our development and maintenance programmes so we can minimise the impact of seasonal variations on the quality of our sports surfaces. “We ask people to be patient with conditions this winter season as we look for solutions.” Anyone can report issues or request maintenance of public sports fields at any time to customer services or online using our eFix form[/efix/] Read more >>
Gigatown effort wins award
21 Apr 2015
Fuelled by passion, coffee and pizza our community effort to 'unite and fight' for ultra-fast broadband was nationally recognised for bringing the Gisborne community closer together – despite not winning the first prize of gigabit internet. Gisborne District Council were announced winners of the Community Relationship category for the 2015 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards. Judges said the project demonstrated the importance of setting challenging goals, managing a project successfully, and being prepared to go to the grassroots. “Getting people involved and dedicated to the end-game was the key to the Gigatown competition,” says chief executive Judy Campbell. The project brought Council staff together with Eastland Community Trust, The Gisborne Herald, innovators like Bronwen Holdsworth and work horses Yvette Kinsella, Nicky Solomon, Gavin Murphy and ExpressPR’s Nicola Chrisp to focus on gaining important social media points and email registrations. The result was a ‘gig-army’ of committed volunteers and over 12,000 supporters locally and nationally for our bid to win UFB. Mayor Meng Foon says he loved the community spirit shown by everyone involved and was motivated. Mayor Foon was a ‘big tweeter’ among others like Arish Naresh, tallying upwards of 100 to a whopping 1000 tweets each day in the lead up to the end of the competition. “Which is no small feat,” says Ms Campbell “We got Chorus to agree to tweets in Te Reo, meaning we could tap into our large Maori demographic. “#Gigatowngis even managed to trend over the final days of the competition. Over a yearlong campaign Gisborne came from 11th place to be the only North Island city in the finals and ultimately coming in second place behind Dunedin. Gisborne won the best digital strategy part of the competition and only narrowly missed out on the social media section after a somewhat unexplained loss of substantial points. “Even though we didn’t win, the new relationships and links built within our community is still a massive achievement. “Finishing just 0.2% behind a much larger city like Dunedin in the social media share shows that we activated a much greater percentage of our population and maintained their support. “When we took on the project in partnership with Eastland Community Trust in March 2014 we didn’t know then how big it could be, Local businesses and individuals contributed cash and prizes for competitions to engage the community, as well as thousands worth of local advertising given for free. Large organisations like Eastland Group, Pultron, Leaderbrand and Cedenco got involved, signing up their vast numbers of employees and along with other businesses, allowed ‘time-off for tweeting’. A few hundred pizzas and a lot of coffee were on offer at the ‘Gig Shed HQ’ that saw hundreds of people every week. “Providing a hub for people and families who even took their children to sign up and learn how to tweet, showed the people’s commitment to putting points on the scoreboard, says Mayor Meng Foon “The call went out to the community to donate mobile phones which were ‘upcycled’ to families without devices so they could take part and continue to stay connected. Schools and their students throughout the district were committed to winning. Gisborne Intermediate went on to register their entire student body of 380. “Young people were one of the most valuable resources in the success of this project, says Ms Campbell, “Because of this competition, we now have a clear path and enthusiasm to implement digital developments within our community, “Our plan for gig success was unanimously judged the best and we'll be putting most of it into action even without winning ultra-fast broad band and prize fund.” Activate Tairawhiti has been set up and will deliver the digital strategy as a key opportunity for economic growth in our region. “The first major success was the opening of the first regional MindLab in March 2015, a pioneering digital and collaborative education lab dedicated to digital literacy and capability for school children and teachers. “What Gisborne can take from this experience is that real change can happen when a community works together.” The judging panel for the local government award is made up of consultants in the public sector from McGredy Winder, IPANZ, Local Councils, SOLGM and the Office of the Auditor-General. SOLGM is the national member organisation that supports managers in local government and is committed to promoting professional excellence in all areas of the sector. Read more >>

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