Nelson Residents Association

YOUR CIVIC GUARDIAN

2014 Draft Annual Plan

 

NELSON CITY COUNCIL LONG TERM PLAN 2012-2022

Draft Annual Plan 2014-2015: Amendents to Year Three

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.6

KEY ISSUES AND NEW PROJECTS

Bridge Street Enhancement

Council must be applauded for its efforts to remedy the down-at-heel mid-section of what is one of the two most important streets of the CBD after Trafalgar Street. Recently some of the larger retail properties have been redeveloped but there are too many pre-40s/50s units, long past their useby dates, still standing.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.7

Stoke/Greenmeadows Community and Sports Facility

This project follows on an undertaking by Mayor Reese to the people of Stoke during the 2013 election campaign and follows the earlier proposal to construct a skate park on part of Greenmeadows, which aroused a lot of opposition from the local community.

The most important feature is the need for informed public involvement and feedback, long before the contracts are let.

Air Quality

This issue has had a very adverse effect on many Nelsonians who have been deprived of the use of economical wood-burners in the homes by the diktat of some bureacrat in an ivory tower somewhere in Government (or maybe on some United Nations organisation think tank). Many older folk find themselves relying on the electric-powered heat-pump which they cannot afford to use.

The situation has not been aided by reliance on “computer modelling” which has been used to assist in defining where air quality may be under threat.

The situation of a family on well-ventilated Stanley Crescent who were classified by council as living in Washington Valley because of their postal delivery area, is a classic example of the need for a little common sense to be employed before families may be required to make expensive investments in new forms of heating.

Maitai River

Council has accepted the responsibility for improving the water quality which had declined during rhe past, relatively dry summer conditions. With the help of Mother Nature and perhaps increased flow of water from the dam, the future looks promising.

Ongoing Impact of Emergency Rainfall Events

Possibly, the real man-made climate change, which the IPCC has not commented on, is that caued by destruction of the tropical rainforests, particularly in Indonesia, as far as New Zealand is concerned.

Observers of local weather conditions over the last half century, will have noted that during the great South Pacific current changes of El Nino and La Nina, extreme drought or wet periods occur frequently at the same time of the year.

An example of this is that we have had a second drenching this Easter, after the 2013 event.

There is little that man can do to change this but council could alleviate matters by educating the community about the need to keep water channels, spouting, sumps, etc. free from materials causing blockages.

Council, of course, must keep its house in order and pay more attention to its stormwater and stream channels. These are much more important than entertaining the public with buskers or parades, which can perfectly well be organised by community volunteer groups.

Council is to be congratulated on its proposal to augment the Disaster Relief Fund, no doubt with the assistance of the recent grant from Government in respect of the December 2011 event.

Stormwater and Flood Protection

It is pleasing to note that council has its eyes on Orphanage Creek and, particularly, Saxton Creek Its prudence in this matter may avert unwelcome problems during the Cricket World Cup.

Delivery of Capital Programme

No comment

Property Assets Review

Council's initiative in this matter is long overdue. Previous councils have engaged in acquisition of many properties, generally under the cloak of “commercial sensitivity”, but the community have been left in the dark regarding the council's objective in making the purchase.

In this connection, the acquisition of the Custom House, etc, in 2013, for the purpose of beautification of the footpath to the seafront, was rather extrtavagant since owners of heritage buildings face higher maintenance costs.

Events Venues                                                                      

Trafalgar Centre

The closure of the Trafalgar Centre was undertaken in good faith by a keen new council which lacked the necessary experience to evaluate the highly technical reports which were placed before it. The process was not assisted by the limited information which was supplied to the consultants by the council's Manager (Infrastructure) who insisted until very recently that the building was supported by piles which were only three metres long.

From careful study of the reports on the council's web-site, the council was required to make its unfortunate decision on the basis of the original DRAFT report produced by Tonkin & Taylor in June 2013 and provided to the Miccio Council, which had the wisdom not take any precipitate action.

The T & T Report did include several references indicating certain issues required comment, but when the final report was published in February, several weeks after the closure action had taken place, it was obvious that no-one had taken the trouble to re-read the draft report before signing the report off.

In essence, since the peer reviewers made few dissenting comments on the T & T Report it appears that as far as they were concerned, it was money for old rope!   None of the consultants queried the quantity and type of foundation piles or questioned the figure of three metres quoted by the council's manager. They seem to have accepted that he must know the right figures, when in fact, it was a case that he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!  

The Chief Executive must bear her share of the responsibility for allowing the Mayor and councillors to make their decision to close on the basis of a six month old interim report which had a “watermark” of DRAFT printed on every single page. One might have expected the council's lawyer to challenge the propriety of council's actions!

The councillors were further terrified by the legal advice which suggested that there would be dire consequences if the building was subjected to a major seismic event. The spectacle of a large number of casualties was exaggerated on grounds of public liability, disregarding the fact that for much of the year, the centre stands empty from 10.30pm – 4.00pm .

Furthermore, if an earthquake did have its epicentre on the Trafalgar Centre, the City Fathers would be faced with a far more serious scenario.

Port Nelson with its bulk fuel storage, the marina and wharves would be a battle-zone. The state highway would be totally destroyed. The Port Hills and Tahuna hillside slips of December 2011 would seem like fleabites compared with “the big one”.

The decision to spend half a million dollars on the Tahuna Modellers' Pond, would be water literally “down the drain” when the tsunami hits......

With the Trafalgar Centre, the council has no option but to grasp the nettle and rescind their original decision of 12 December 2014, before it loses any more revenue with the building standing empty.

In conclusion, we would express our concern that the funds originally budgeted for the completion of the Trafalgar Centre upgrade, should be restored when the Centre is re-opened.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.8

Nelson School of Music

This important building deserves exceptional care for preservation of an outstanding historic institution which has contributed to the artistic and educational character of Nelson cultural life for five or six generations and owes so much to the incredible generosity of Thomas Cawthron.

Theatre Royal

This white elephant was foisted on to the city by a group of citizens in a cold-blooded manner after setting up a “Trust”, one of those community based institutions created to provide vested interests with access to the ratepayers' purses to satisfy the needs for a theatre (in this case) but with total disregard for the financial aspects of either the cost of the structure or the future running and maintenance expense.

The behaviour of the board of trustees was disgraceful in that, having applied to a sympathetic council for a loan of two million dollars to complete their dream, within the year of receiving the loan, they came back with their begging bowl for more operating funds and then renegued on the deal by declaring that they were unable to repay the loan. The latter statement was probably the first time anyone had told the truth. Certainly in other jurisdictions, the trustees would have been arraigned in a court for acquiring money by deception.

On fiscal failings, did the rumour, which circulated last winter regarding delays in ticket receipts being received by council, have any factual basis?

The Miccio council was quite irresponsible in its willingness to accept this white elephant but maybe the land the theatre is standing on will, with the neighbouring block when the army depot removes its operations to a more practical location, provide an opportunity for a major complex more suited to the CBD with a healthy mixture of quality retail premises, professional offices and city-residential units

Saxton Field

It is pleasing to read of council's intention to make a positive return on its considerable investment. We are most concerned.at the additional costs incurred in the Stadium building following the Trafalgar Centre closure, when we were only just recovering from the shock of last year's April flood damage.

In addition, the apparent lack of foresight in the original development of the field and its drainage systems, needs to be explained in view of the fact that the ratepayers now face extra costs to make Saxton Oval fit for its Cricket World Cup in 2015.

Is council still employing the person responsible for supervising this development? If so, Why?

Rates – Discount for SUIPs

It is gratifying that a gross unfairness in the rating system is being rectified.

We have been aware of a number of propertyowners who were embarrassed by each of their tenants being obliged to pay the same fixed charge amount for shared toilet and washing facilities.

This arrangement was as inexcusably unfair to the tenants, as is the package of General Annual Charge and other fixed charges which are applied to each residential property regardless of the number of occupiers. This situation bears heavily on single occupant-owners or couples who find themselves subsidising larger families who use more of the council's services. (Longer-serving councillors must excuse this repetition of what they may regard as a cracked record!)

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.9

TRANSPORT INCLUDING ROADS AND FOOTPATHS

Bridge Street Enhancement

See previous comment

Railway Reserve / Princes Drive Extension Overbridge        

The long overdue linkage between Princes Drive and Waimea Road,Bishopdale signals great economic benefits for the community in fuel savings for the residents of the former Observatory Hill area.   However, the lack of public consultation on this development so far, gives cause for concern, since it may be possible that the proposed overbridge may compromise any future Southern Link over the Railway Reserve. This would be in contadiction to the undertaking of the late council to do nothing which would affect any possible route.

Cable Bay

The Cable Bay residents have tolerated many months of poor road conditions and as the Bay and the tourism adventure enterprises are very attractive to Nelsonians and visitors alike, the completion of restoration is to be encouraged.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.10

Maitai shared path (Collingwood Street to Nile Street)

The expenditure in excess of $600K for a recreational footpath used principally by dog exercisers or mountain-bikers seems rather luxurious when many footpaths in older parts of town have been allowed to decay from neglect of maintenance.

Rocks Road walk/cycle project (previously known as Rocks Road 4 metre shared path)

“Figures to date indicate that the original budget of $5.6M will be insufficient”

This understatement is not very comforting, particularly to the transport group who are not listed among the users who should be considered by the steering group, ie the folk behind the steering wheels for whom State Highway Six principally exists!

We note that parking provision is to be included, presumably for the fishermen or the swimmers who park along the seafront at high tide.

The reference to heritage aspects is pretty hypocritical when previous councils have allowed the original chains to be replaced with three or more different types of chain material so they resemble Paddy's Grandfather's axe which had “only had five handles and two heads”.

As they would not meet the standard for swimming pool fencing and DHB members can (and do!) tumble over them, it would be much better to replace them with something to protect the perambulating pedestrians from breaking waves on gusty days!

Todd Bush Road

No comment

Maitai Walkway connection across Trafalgar Street

Why cannot the Maitai Walkway continue under the Trafalgar Street bridge instead of expecting pedestrians to cross one of the busiest streets in the CBD?

Tasman St upgrade (Nile to Bronte)

No comment

Bishopdale to The Ridgeway shared path

No comment

The Brook area walking and cycling improvements

No comment

Sundry land purchases

The rationale for this provision is hard to understand since the budgeted amount is so small. It would surely be more practical to budget for the land purchases which is necessary to carry out a formally approved work Ad hoc arrangements can give rise to suspicion of conflict of interest.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.11

Footpath renewals

It is pleasing to read that council is prepared to reinstate footpaths after Chorus has installed the UFB. In the old days, when the P & T installed fibre-optic lines on Tahunanui Drive, they left the trench bulging with earth and left the frontager to clear up the mess.!

2014/15 Projects Extended into 2015/16

No comment

Waimea Road/The Ridgeway intersection upgrade

Walking Cycle School package

2014/15 Projects Deferred

No comment, except to note that the installation of lights at Motueka Street has probably reduced the volume of traffic using Tipahi or Kawai Street to travel via Market Road. The lack of a free left turn from Waimea Road into Motueka Street needs a quick fix. (Should be manageable with the $150K land purchase money!)

Waimea Road/ Market Road intersection upgrade

Waimea Road widening/ Snows Hill

Halifax Street/ Shakespeare Walk

2014/15 Projects Removed

How sensible in both instances!

Church Street

Halifax Street cycle lane

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.15

WATER SUPPLY

New Membrane Assembly

It is most pleasing to note the economy being achieved in the life of the filters.

Residential meters

It is rather worrying that the original meters should be approaching their useby dates after a relatively short lifetime. Up go the line charges again !

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.16

Pressure reduction – General Budget

No comment

System Improvements

No comment

Maitai Pipeline

Council is exercising admirable prudence with this important part of the programme

Seismic review of the Maitai dam and storage reservoirs

Keep up the good work

Water Bylaws

We will be interested to see and comment on the new draft bylaws

Backflow prevention

No comment

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.20

WASTEWATER

Ngawhatu Valley trunk main

Corder Park pump station

Pump station renewals

Beatson Road sewer renewal

No comment on this part of the programme

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.24

STORMWATER

Tasman Street – Bronte Street/Nile Street/Manuka Street

Saltwater Creek/Haven Road culvert

Nile Street East

No comment

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.25

2014/15 Projects Deferred

No comment

Shelbourne Street

Halifax Street

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.28

FLOOD PROTECTION

Tod Valley Stream

Once upon a time this valley was TODDS (like the Bush) but it seems to be disappearing like the Cheshire Cat. But seriously this is a worthwhile project.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.29

York Stream catchment evaluation

Maitai River upgrade and enhancement

Brook Stream catchment strategy

Hampden Street East – Little Go Stream

Flood mitigation – various sites

Orphanage Stream upgrade

Stormwater Recovery Programme

April 2013 Heavy Rain Emergency Event

Saxton Creek upgrade

Nelsonians who remember the 31 August 1970 event will be pleased to note the inclusion of Brook Stream in this catalogue of works.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.30

2014/15 Projects Deferred

York Stream channel upgrade

This poorer area of Nelson South deserves consideration for earlier completion of its flood protection works.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.33

ENVIRONMENT

Landfill road extension

Sounds like a worthwhile project

Resource management planning – Nelson Plan

No comment

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.34

Air quality

Refer to earlier comment

Freshwater management

No comment

Maitai River

Refer to earlier comment

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.41

SOCIAL INCLUDING ARTS AND HERITAGE

WWI Centenary Memorial

We are glad to see council marking this significant occasion but wonder if any thought has been given to the other service memorials in Queens Garden or on Cathedral Hill / Pikimai?

Crematorium

Essential

Riverside murals

This project was obviously approved before the passage of the amended Local Government Act 2012 which indicated that local councils should prioritise spending to maintaining core infrastructure rather than “Social Wellbeing, 'Feel Good' items”. In future, ratepayers should not be required to pay for public works of “art”- there are plenty of wealthy individuals in New Zealand who could be following the example of their US counterparts in donating surplus wealth for charitable or community works.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.42

Nelson School of Music

Theatre Royal

Arts projects

See earlier comments

Events Strategy review

The concept of an Events strategy seems more directed to creating jobs on the city payroll. The city's tourism industry should be doing any promotion, not the rate-payers.

Social wellbeing, accessibility and housing

It is gratifying that the council is considering “accessibility” at last. The Millers Acre I-site building is distinguished by its lack of a lift for wheel-chair bound visitors.

Local Alcohol policy

Drinking hours are still far too liberal even with a one-way door operating after 1.00am

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.46
PARKS AND ACTIVE RECREATION

Modellers' Pond

What a pity it is called “the Modellers' Pond “ and not “the Tahuna Hills Stormwater Disposal Pond”. The impression is that the $500K is for the benefit of a few 'anoraks' who like sailing model boats on Sunday afternoons, when most of the problems have been created by various experiments carried out by council employees, including filling the pond with quantities of some form of fill, six or seven years ago and more recently using the pond as an intermediate point in stormwater disposal from the Centennial avenue collection tank. We understand that the situation has been compounded by pollution of the stormwater by other domestic wastewater.

This situation is similar to the Sewerside Drive Oxidation pond which proved a headache for all concerned for many years.

It is important that councillors, who want to take the cheap option of grassing the pond over, are made aware that as far as many residents are concerned, the sight of a miniature regatta on a summer's afternoon gives great pleasure to folk of all ages, visitors and Nelsonians alike. And where would the stormwater go?

Marina Hardstand

We take this opprtunity to focus on the need to ensure that the $2000 spent on cleaning out the pipes installed at the head of the marina is not wasted. The positioning of a few large rocks by the Maitai river inlet to direct a stronger flow through the pipes will ensure the previous investment rretains its value.

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.47

Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust Fence

The involvement of the council in this venture, has been limited by the condition that the Trust must come to the table with its full share of the costs but can the councillors assure the citizens that when the Trust goes belly-up, that this project will NOT become another albatross around around the ratepayer's neck, like the Theatre Royal?     To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, “To acquire one white elephant, Mr Miccio, is unfortunate, to be lumbered with two white elephants, Mrs Reese, is unforgiveable!”  

The financial failure of Zealandia may be avoided if the Sanctuary Trust can find backing from people like The Next Trust, but from past experience we have come to doubt projects of this kind which are based on optimistic budgets evaluated by professionals like B.E.R.L who express their confidence but disclaim any responsibility when things don't pan out!

At this point, it may be appropriate to raise the issue of the future of the Brook Campground, which with the Sanctuary, is on some of the land which was originally offered to the city by the great benefactor, Thomas Cawthron, for use as a public recreation reserve in perpetuity. It was originally named after Mr Cawthron and we do not know when his name was dropped, possibly when the Brook catchment was established.

We understand that Mr Cawthron was specific that the land should not be sold or leased, but should remain a community reserve.   It would seem likely that he would never imagine that a City Council would allow any part of the land to be used for indefinite permanent occupation. Over-night stays are one thing but the situation of people having exclusive use of part of the reserve for decades is totally ridiculous.

Permanent affordable housing provision may be a council responsibility but should be dealt with under the “Social Wellbeing” heading. The Mayor's reference to possible sale of the land that the council was 'not in the business of running camps' was unfortunate but then she may know of some empowering legislation obtained by an earlier council, varying the terms of the bequest.

We suggest this issue be clarified before an entrepreneur calls to set up his gondola business on the land.

Cawthron wouldn't have accepted it !

Stoke/Greenmeadows Community and Sports Facility

Refer earlier comment

Saxton Stadium

Oh, dear ! Who designed the original structure?

Conservation Reserves

Is the bridge, which is to be replaced, a former railway bridge made of iron or a bridge made of railway iron? Prove to the community why this particular bridge needs replacing. If it is merely for the benefite of pedestrian visitors to Waimarama, it ahould be a charge on the Trust developing the project.

There are many road traffic bridges in the city, which need upgrading to ensure safe loading capacity..

Tahuna Back Beach

May we enquire if the council has consulted Mr David Sissons who has been studying Tahuna Beach erosion for many years ? His considerable knowledge would be of benefit to council.

We are sure that council archives will contain records of Sissons' research but with the large number of departures of senior managers, the present younger replacements will not have their experience to draw on.

Trafalgar Centre

Refer earlier comment

User Pays Study

Will this study be subject to public consultation and input?

2014/15 Projects Deferred

Stoke Youth Park

No comment

Tahunanui Reserve Management Plan implementation

No comment

Destination Playground for Rutherford Park

Where is the council going with this one? Maintenance of city footpaths would be a more beneficial way to spend $676K !

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.48

Tasman Heights

Has council undertaken a serious investigation into the likely usage of this route by regular walking groups, most of which consist of retired folk, like the over 50s. A helipad may be an expensive extra requirement to assist the heart attack victims.

Trafalgar Centre renewals programme

Wakapuaka Sandflats environmental enhancement

Renewals and development programmes

Reserve management plans

No comment on these items

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.53

ECONOMIC

Cricket World Cup

Refer to earlier comment

FIFA Under 20's World Cup

Council's decision to withdraw their bid to be a host city is welcome. The benefits of staging this type of event have not been apparent to the ratepayers in recent years and the RWC did not produce the great business promised for the local accommodation industry.

Free WiFi for the City Centre

If this means that access for Nelson ratepayers to use the internet connections in the libraries will be improved, this will be a welcome development. However ,where are the tax-paying private operators who used to provide this kind of service?

Nelson Tasman Tourism

TDC is proposing to cut its funding of their I-sites, even though they are manned by volunteers whose only reward is the odd packet of biscuits for smoko.   Their example raises the question: “Does the Nelson ratepayer derive any physical or financial benefit from the activities of Nelson Tasman Tourism?”   What is the structure of this body and what contribution is made by the local tourist entrepreneurs to the cost of its operations?

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.57

CORPORATE

Civic House

This building and the adjacent former State Advances building are sitting on a site which would be prime for development of a hotel. We suggest that the recent decision, to put the State Advance building on the market, should be extended to include Civic House ( removing the problem of finding a tenant for the vacant top floor )

A hotel with the excellent outlook over the Maitai and The Wood could be the genuine attraction for big spending visitors from overseas, that local travel agents have been demanding.

In addition, the situation for Civic House could become interesting in the event of sea level rise, considering that the building stands at a lower level than the Maitai river.

The solution would be to erect a special purpose new Civic headquarters on higher ground near the Trafalgar Centre where there would be more convenient parking for citizens who have business to discuss with council staff.

Earthquake prone buildings

While this assessment is in progress, it is hoped that council's review of assets will identify the buildings which are truly surplus to requirement and arrange for their disposal, if necessary on an “As is, Where is” basis.

Bank Lane Canopy replacement

No comment

 

NCC Draft Annual Plan p.58

Hunter Furniture building roof replacement

This property was recently acquired by council, Unless council can give an adequate reason why the building should remain in city ownership, this building should be disposed of “As is, Where is”( but not in a private “sweetheart deal” like the one which the previous council got itself into with Farmers).

Condition asessment of Council assets

Enough said – see above !

Delivery of Capital ProgrammesProperty Assets Review

Rating Review

Representation Review

Policy Work

No comments on these items

 

CONCLUSION

We urge council to arrange its affairs so as to preclude any frivolous, unnecessary litigation such as the fruitless pursuit of a “man of straw” (whose tally of parking fines has reached the level at which most magistrates direct that “Boy Racers” should have their fines commuted to a few hours of community service !) Does the city's Parking Bylaw really specify that only private motor vehicles can park in a street park?)

We have seen similar attempts to defend the indefensible in the cases of the Victory Square “pokies” and the Montgomery Square car-park fiasco.   All this litigation proves to be a poor return for the rate-payers.   If council members were obliged to contribute personally towards the fees that they incur on our behalf, they would behave more prudently.

Please advise time and date of hearing to:

The President, Nelson Residents' Association Inc.: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CC

The Secretary, Nelson Residents' Association Inc.: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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