Nelson Residents Association

YOUR CIVIC GUARDIAN

Correspondence - Council

 

 


 20 February 2015

TRAFALGAR CENTRE

Nelson City Councillors, Mayor and Citizens please take note.

Any proposed additional expenditure on the Trafalgar Centre must be subject to re-assessment and approval by the citizens of Nelson City through the Annual and Long Term Plan submission process or a special public meeting.

The above statement is based on the fact that no acknowledgement has been made by Nelson City Council of the serious flaws in the reports and legal opinion pertaining to the complex.

$3.2M of expenditure on the Trafalgar Centre was accepted by the community to be spent by June 2015. Of that, $1.4M (excluding NCC staff time) has been spent on flawed reports and legal opinions leaving allowable expenditure up to a maximum of $1.8M.

Councillors are legally bound under the terms of the Local Government Act 2002 to adhere to these requirements.

It should be noted that the above figures do not include the projected $ 500,000 loss of income while the Trafalgar Centre is closed.

Yours sincerely

Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 


 

The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

Dear Mrs Hadley

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

Re the Trafalgar Centre – Building Inspections of susceptability in event of earthquake

In view of the considerable loss of income arising from the unnecessary closure of the building, I have been directed by the Executive Committee of this association to request a complete schedule of payments to Arthouse Architecture, Tonkin & Taylor, Holmes Consulting Group, Geotechnics Ltd., Dr.R.O.Davis (peer reviewer), Dunning Thornton Consultants (peer reviewers), Alan Bickers (peer reviewer) Messrs. Fletcher, Vautier & Moore & Any other consultants who may have been involved , for their various professional services in association with the report of Tonkin & Taylor reference 871024

The schedule should include the costs incurred in carrying out the inspection of supporting piles at the Centre in April 2014 and the cost of the workshop attended by all(?) of the consultants on 7 May 2014.

Thank you,

Ken Meredith


 

The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

Dear Mrs Hadley

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

Re the Trafalgar Centre – Building Inspections of susceptability in event of earthquake

In view of the considerable loss of income arising from the unnecessary closure of the building, I have been directed by the Executive Committee of this association to request a complete schedule of payments to Arthouse Architecture, Tonkin & Taylor, Holmes Consulting Group, Geotechnics Ltd., Dr.R.O.Davis (peer reviewer), Dunning Thornton Consultants (peer reviewers), Alan Bickers (peer reviewer) Messrs. Fletcher, Vautier & Moore & Any other consultants who may have been involved , for their various professional services in association with the report of Tonkin & Taylor reference 871024

The schedule should include the costs incurred in carrying out the inspection of supporting piles at the Centre in April 2014 and the cost of the workshop attended by all(?) of the consultants on 7 May 2014.

Thank you,

Ken Meredith

 


 

 

9 July 2014
Dear Councillor
Are you aware of the following points?


1. In Stoke, local property owners are being consulted by NCC staff on how more parking places can be provided in and around Strawbridge Square, while at the same time another department of NCC is busy scheming to eliminate existing parks, to provide for the disabled.


2. In Bridge Street, the insane planners besotted with pampering the lycra brigade have installed cycle parks ON THE FOOTPATH(!) reducing the walking area for pedestrians. If is possible to understand the minds of the planners, this part of the CBD is being tarted up to deal with the incredible seediness of Nelson's Clubland.


We cannot imagine very many clubbers needing parks for their mountainbikes or recliner trikes while clubbing! The choice of imported street furniture for this project has been wasteful and contributed little that could not have been achieved with locally produced materials.


The tenant retailers of the CBD are already bleeding and many crafts workshops around the city are following them.


3. The chaos of St Vincent Street has been created by day-dreamers with little comprehension of what is a safe traffic environment for all roadusers.


Walkers are now expected to share footpaths with an assortment of multi-wheeled man-powered unregistered vehicles,moving silently from all directions at speeds anywhere between 5 kmph – 35 kmph!


4. The ludicrously named Paruroroa Park (It may mean something to the Tangata Whenua, but is quite confusing and meaningless to ordinary New Zealanders!) has now been “beautified” (at some considerable expense).


Wrapping the Pipe Band Rooms in a strong skeleton of timbers to hold the old shack together when it clearly needs to be demolished now, since Paruparu Road has been further reduced in width by extra curbing at the pinch point. NRA_20140709_Are you aware of the following 1 of 2

 


5. As you are well aware, all the reports on the Trafalgar Centre have been seriously discredited, but the building is forced to suffer the indignity of having earthquake prone notices displayed on every entrance-way.


However are you also aware that the Nelson Public Library has a low percentage of new building standard but that the earthquake prone notice is attached to an obscure inner wall? It is also to be noted that the Library has the Children's activity section located on what must surely, by comparison to the Trafalgar Centre site, be a high risk liquefiable zone. Civic House itself seems to have mislaid its EQ-prone notice which was also originally in an obscure position and if there is to be any consistency, should be reinstated at the main public entrance. The lack of public notices on the Airport Terminal building also needs explanation


We elected the candidates of our choice, with espectations that they would look after the best interests of the city ratepayers and their families. When will ithat happen?


Yours sincerely
Ken Meredith
Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 


14 June 2014

The Mayor of Nelson

Civic House

Dear Ms Reese

Haven Road & Rutherford Park Upgrade

We are appalled by the decision of your Works Committee reported in last night's paper, that northbound lanes of Haven Road between the Auckland Point rotary and Halifax Street should be closed with traffic diverted to share the southbound lanes, to reduce difficulties of pedestrians to cross the State Highway!

It is obvious that the Autophobic lunatics of your council have taken over the asylum!

It is equally amazing that a former traffic officer in the chair allowed the committee to make yet another stupid mistake!

Dual carriageway systems have been used for over seventy years to improve road safety. Utter chaos and gridlock would result from the folly of forcing four lanes of vehicles to share only two lanes of highway. It is time Council dispenses with services of staff members or consultants whose advice creates traffic disasters like Saint Vincent street to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians , forgetting that streets were intended for vehicles.

Council must realise the best form of traffic safety is physical segregation of different users from each other. Trucks and cars separated from cycles and pedestrians not required to share footpaths with faster moving, silent mountainbikes, skateboards or inline skates.

We assume that this particular fiasco is derived from the adoption by council of every proposal included in Wraight & Associates scheme for the design of the Rutherford & Trafalgar Parks & Kinzett Terrace, but find it incredible that council may have decided to adopt the project in toto, ignoring the fact that some of the suggestions were mere options.

Recently we have viewed with concern that the project manager has allowed the budget on the walkway to be over-committed by incorporating grandiose components of dubious value to the community and it is time that Council undertakes a review of the entire works programme for the park complex prioritising individual items so as to achieve a more gradual time-line.

The needs of the community for greater progress on essential works of infrastructural maintenance and flood damage repair should have higher priority than luxuries, which are being paid for by people who have to make serious decisions on how to spend each cent of their limited incomes.

The choice of the previous council in commissioning the Terry Spring sculpture (after having committed the installation of the Novella Clamshell at Neale Park) was ill-judged and the result was far from satisfactory to the community. A sculpture from a local artist with a “Nelsonian” theme would have been acceptable. Paul Bieleski's proposal for a memorial to Lord Rutherford could have been more appropriate for Kinzett Terrace instead of Springer's rather phallic symbol.

As for the Rocks Road boulevard dreamway, neither of the two (cheaper?) options which are being placed before the community for consultation , will be acceptable to thinking citizens. The only realistic solution is the third, horrendously expensive one of widening the road,cycleway and foot path by relocating the seawall, 20?,30?,40? Metres west of the existing!

The obvious and cheapest solution is for cyclists to use the safe dedicated route which has been provided on the railway reserve, at great expense to the ratepayers!

Yours sincerely

Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated


2 June 2014The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

PO Box 645

NELSON 7040

Dear Clare

Maitai Riverbank Fiasco

Friday night's front page item in the Nelson Mail will have not surprised Nelson rate-payers who have become accustomed to reading such reports of budget blowouts.

The Nelson Residents' Association is tired of such events being reported to council only to be followed by a feeble response in the shape of additional funding being allocated at the expense of ordinary maintenance items, urgent stormwater improvements, unrepaired footpaths and the like, which are postponed for yet another year.

It is long overdue that incompetence by city employees should be dealt with as it would be in the public sector. We cannot tolerate City management to be left in the hands of people who incapable of looking after million dollar projects on behalf of the stakeholders who pay for them, when city managers fail to use the same degree of financial prudence they apply to their own personal dealings, when they are spending “Our Money!”

In the latest disaster, there is only one course of action to recover some relief!

  • Do not spend any more money on the project.

  • Pull the piles out and sell them

  • Tidy up the area and cease the installation of lighting

  • Modify the existing lighting to illuminate the walkway

  • Consideration should be given to removing the stonework that appears to be unnecessarily restricting the river flow.

In view of the above point, how did this project get Resource Consent?

Councillors, please get down there and see what we mean.

Yours sincerely

Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 


The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

May 26, 2013

Dear Clare

Why the Nbus doesn't cut the Mustard

          At its Annual General Meeting, this week, a number of our members raised issues related to the various inadequacies in service provided by the operators of the current Nbus fleet.

          For the guidance of council, I was directed to provide a number of suggestions which may be implemented with an aim to “get more bums on seats”!

            The Mayor's recent pleasure that 360,196 passengers have enjoyed rides in the past year, during which the vehicles have made 33,176 journeys. This gives an average of just under 11 passengers per journey. We must do better!

            One problem is the size of the vehicles. The Nelson -Richmond coaches are under-utilised at off-peak times and they seem to have been acquired in an odd-lot second-hand disposal sale. One (or it may be two) has two exit doors while the rest of the fleet have only one entry & exit. Some have seating on one level but others have tier seating at the rear, which may be attractive to school pupils but are not so accessible to senior citizens.

            The more practical vehicles are The Bus ones based at Wakatu Square. As 20 seaters they are more adequate for their purpose. Such vehicles could be used as feeder line buses suitable for a replacement of the Stoke Loop services which were abandoned last year, to the dismay of several of our Stoke members. Use of this size of bus could include Monaco in a service, which would be attractive for patrons of the Honest Lawyer!

            At the council hearing on 16 May, we addressed councillors on the defects in the timings of the bus schedules which needed tweaking so that passengers would not arrive at Bridge Street five minutes after the departure of another bus which would have taken them to their ultimate destination. The three daily services on Route Six arrives at Wakatu Square, a full hour after the departure of all three buses of Routes 3,4 &5, with a further wait of 60 minutes for the next service.

            The residents of Tahunanui have to travel by bus to Stoke in order to achieve the shortest travel and waiting time to visit the Nelson Public Hospital by the Richmond bus to Waimea Rd..

            In the meantime, Nelson ratepayers are obliged to subsidise Richmond senior citizens for their journeys on the Gold Card to Nelson. In considering the Richmond commuters on the Nbus, their use of the bus instead of private vehicles may be contributing to the reduced revenue from Nelson CBD carparks.

            To justify the operations of public transport in a town for which little consideration has been given by town planners for the need of economical street planning, it is necessary to exploit the present town plan layout as best as one can, to make it practical for as many residents as possible to have reasonable access to bus services within a 300/400m walk.

            NB: Tell the town planners that developers of adjacent subdivisions should be encouraged to link their roading systems so that delivery services can travel through them with no “dead running” The good old days, when traders delivered their customers purchases to their homes, may be returning in the new online world as householders do their weekly shop by computer.

            The recent developments off the Ridgeway and Suffolk Road suggest that an occasional service from Nelson via the Ridgeway to Richmond would attract folk heading for Isel Park Research Facility(when it re-opens) or Saxton Field and similarly another route from Richmond via Saxton Road West to Nayland could carry passengers to Broad Green,Nayland Pool, the Mormon Church Family History Centre, the WOW complex and Airport en route to Beach Road for Tahuna Holiday Park, Natureland and on to Nelson. These two suggested services could operate as a circular route with interchanges at Saxton Field and Tahunanui to link with Routes 1 or 2.

            A survey of destinations in Nelson which are not within 400m of a bus route may suggest possibilities for deriving additional bus patronage. Think Suter Gallery, Chinese Garden, Queens Garden, School of Music, The Cathedral etc.

            In closing, the best patronage will follow from the most convenient frequency of service being available         

Yours sincerely

 

            Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 

 


The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

2 Feb 2013

Dear Madam

Property Purchases by NCC without adherence to due process 

  • Response from NCC, 26/09/12
  • Letter to NCC, 10/10/12
  • Response from NCC, 26/11/12
  • Letter to NCC, 05/12/12
  • In an attempt to resolve this issue and avoid taking up your valuable time, can we please have an assurance from NCC, through you, that large sums of the community’s money are not spent in future without a clear understanding of what the people are being taxed for.
  • There will be no need to tell you that this request in in line with the provisions of the Act which are outlined in our letters.
  • We look forward to your response and also to meeting with you in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 


 

 

The Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

10 October 2012

Attention: Michael SchruerExecutive Manager – Strategy and Planning

Dear Sir

Property Purchases

Thank you for replying on behalf of the Nelson City Council to our points of concern regarding property purchases without following due process.  As such, we respond as follows: 

 

One of the prime drivers of our organisation has been our deep concern at the considerable lack of recognition by auditors that Local Government has not been adhering to the strict conditions laid down in the LG Act.  The practice, as per requirement, of inviting the revenue providers (ratepayers) to partake in the annual and long term planning process to analyse and discuss budgets down to the last dollar and then find, after the event, that the building occupied by Hunter Furniture, for example, was purchased without any adherence to the requirements of the Act, is unacceptable. 

 

As far as we are aware, to date no information has been forwarded as to its purpose, its commercial viability under the terms of the Act and its benefit.  We would be interested in your and/or audits response to this example. 

 

There have been several recent examples in New Zealand of flawed performance by state agencies and we believe, from experience, that the Audit Department is not immune to inadequacies. 

 

With regard to the Haven Road purchases, we accept that a figure is recorded for property purchase in the area, but for the community to be told after the deal was done that it is for amenity use when the public might, for example, prefer a better roading pattern is dismissive.  This strategy does not give credibility to the very expensive and ongoing spin campaign by the council claiming it wants to better connect with the people.  Please remember it is our city and our council charged with the responsibility of managing our money. 

 

Further more, we are not comfortable with ratepayer money being used to purchase from a community owned entity, in this case the Port Company, and then have the said company distribute 50% of its dividend to Tasman District Council.  This also appears to be a breach of requirement of the Act. 

 

Moving on to your reference to page 216 of the Long Term Plan, we accept that it is not possible to foresee every possibility in life but council has not consulted on significant decisions as you claim and the previous examples we mention are cases in point, therefore our statement that NCC and local government generally is indulging in “open cheque book” practices stands. 

 

After detailed examination of Section 14 of the Act that you refer to we find nothing to alter our position, in fact the word MUST, which did not show up in our reading of the LGA 2002, but is in the heading of section 14, clearly supports our stated position that NCC is not adhering to what is required of it. 

 

With reference to your comment that council has a duty to undertake any commercial transaction in accordance with sound business practice, we would contend that there are few, if any, forays by local government into commercial activities that , based on accurate accounting, arrive at a conclusion of sound practice.  The only way to determine the correct result is to weigh the income against all costs, including loss of rate revenue, loan costs, maintenance and upgrading costs, seismic requirements, salaries and overhead costs of those employed to administer the department.  These costs would conservatively work out at approximately 100% of the wage bill and the need to include a figure for plant and vehicles is not always recognised.  These last two items are often buried in the overall administration figures that then end up a charge on the ratepayer. 

 

The true high risk commercial world does not have the buffer of the ratepayer’s purse to survive on, therefore any attempt by the Act to compare the two worlds has no substance and must, in due course, recognise this anomaly. 

 

The purpose for which the Globe Hotel site has been purchased finds favour with the Nelson Residents’ Association.  In fact we had a letter drafted and addressed to the council at the time the announcement was made.  The big difference though was that our letter was asking the council to approach the state roading  agencies asking them to secure the site. 

 

We now urge the council to start negotiations with the agencies involved with the view to relieving the Nelson city ratepayers of what should ultimately be a regional artery.  Your comments clearly support this view. 

 

Finally and ironically, your statement “that in the interests of transparency any additional expenditure not identified in the long or annual plan is reported through the annual report” is probably one of the best examples of why the providers of all the revenue to the Nelson City Council can claim that they and local government generally is not adhering to the rules.  The inference that the community should be satisfied with being told how their money was spent after the event is also unacceptable. 

 

It is appropriate at this point to remind local government representatives that when they engage in closed session discussions on matters involving risk, that they are jointly and severally liable and that the community is rapidly arriving at a point in  history whereby any action that can be taken to reign in unjustifiable expenditure will be taken.  Hopefully this letter will play a part in the process.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ken Meredith

 

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 


 

 

The Chief Executive

 

Nelson City Council

 

24 September 2012

 

Dear Sir

 

Local Government Act 2002

 

At its latest monthly meeting, members of the Nelson Residents' Association considered a motion relating to questions arising from recent press announcements of property purchases by the council.

 

All too frequently we see acquisitions totalling millions of dollars with not only no prior approval from the ratepayer but seldom, if any, statement as to the short- or long-term purpose for the purchase.

 

Members resolved that a letter be addressed to the council acting chief executive, the mayor and individual councillors seeking a formal explanation as to why Nelson City, in common with other local authorities were not adhering to the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002.

 

In Schedule 10 of this legislation, relating to Council Plans and Reports, “Part 1: Information to be included in Long Term Council Plans and Annual Plans” explicit instructions direct local authorities regarding financial information to be provided for all works in the programme.

 

The requirements for Annual Plans are specified in Clause 95 of the Act as follows (A similar clause (93) spells out the requirements for Long Term Plans):

 

95 Annual plan

 

(1) A local authority must prepare and adopt an annual plan for each financial year.

 

(2)A local authority must use the special consultative procedure in adopting an annual plan.

 

(3)An annual plan must be adopted before the commencement of the year to which it relates.

 

(4) Despite subsection (1), for the first year to which a long-term plan under section 93 relates, the financial statement and funding impact statement included in that long-term plan in relation to that year must be regarded as the annual plan adopted by the local authority for that year.

 

(5) The purpose of an annual plan is to—

 

  • (a) contain the proposed annual budget and funding impact statement for the year to which the annual plan relates; and
  • (b) identify any variation from the financial statements and funding impact statement included in the local authority's long-term plan in respect of the year; and
  • (c) support the long-term plan in providing integrated decision-making and co-ordination of the resources of the local authority; and
  • (d) contribute to the accountability of the local authority to the community; and
  • (e) extend opportunities for participation by the public in decision-making processes relating to the costs and funding of activities to be undertaken by the local authority.

 

(6) Each annual plan adopted under this section must—

 

  • (a) be prepared in accordance with the principles and procedures that apply to the preparation of the financial statements and funding impact statement included in the long-term plan; and
  • (b) contain appropriate references to the long-term plan in which the local authority's activities for the financial year covered by the annual plan are set out; and
  • (c) include the information required by Part 2 of Schedule 10.

 

(7) A local authority must, within 1 month after the adoption of its annual plan,—

 

  • (a) make its annual plan publicly available; and
  • (b) send copies of that plan to—
    • (i) the Secretary; and
    • (ii) the Auditor-General; and
    • (iii) the Parliamentary Library.

 

 

Clauses in the Act clearly state that the community must be notified of all aspects of capital expenditure in detail.

 

We find no clause in the Act which allows the open chequebook approach for councils to expand the debt or capital expenditure without ratepayer approval.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ken Meredith

Secretary/Treasurer, Nelson Residents' Association Incorporated

 

 

 

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