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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 >>
Last days to have your say
14 Apr 2015
This is the last week to have your say on our draft Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025, submissions close 5pm Friday 17 April. “This is a chance for people to influence the direction Council will take and what we do over the next 10 years,” says Mayor Meng Foon. “Our consultation document, Tairawhiti First! 2015 – 2025 outlines the key projects and strategies Council propose to deliver and we want to hear what the community think of these plans,” “Last year Council asked our community about what you wanted for our district and we received a considerable amount of feedback from a series of meetings and through social media.” “People told us they wanted us to look after our environment and improve the health of our waterways and to continue to build more cycle and walkways, “All while keeping rates low. The proposed plan outlines an average 2% increase in rates for the next 3 years, as well as changes to how rates are set. Napier City Council proposes 2.9% for the next financial year and Whakatane District Council 3.6%. “While keeping the increases low we are still able to accomplish a lot,” says Mayor Foon. An average of $13 million more in funding has been allocated to environmental projects. “We’re proposing to restore native plants and species at Waingake and Titirangi and allocating money now for freshwater plan projects,” “Overall, Council propose to put more resources towards safeguarding our environment and people need to tell us if they support this in the plan or not,” says Mr Foon. A number of major capital projects are also proposed, including the Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme, Wetlands and a Wastewater Reduction Programme. “We think the proposed plans show the commitment to protecting our environment and investing in our community.” Walking and cycling is another major component in the plan with more than half of submissions received supporting safer links for travelling to school and educating children. The plan outlines routes for completion within 6 years, 12 years and longer term. “Our plan is a complete long term package and we’ll be applying to NZ Transport to help us fund the routes.” “We’re considering a junior learn to ride park and bikes in schools programme and need to know if the community supports our investment in these,” Many of the major projects are significantly funded by grants or other income. “Over the life of the Long Term Plan $95m of Council funding by rates, loans or reserves will be spent on our major projects but $184m is spent on upgrading and maintaining what we already have.” The community can expect the similar or better levels of service in public amenities, parks and in the city centre. Mayor Meng Foon has been travelling the district presenting the plan to local residents at a series of community meetings. “The meetings give us a chance to talk about the area you live in and what plans there are in your community and how they fit in the bigger picture,” says Mayor Meng Foon The last meetings are on this week at Makauri School 5.30pm on Wednesday, Tiniroto Community Hall 5.30pm & Waerenga-o-Kuri Hall 7pm on Friday. Make a submission[/draft-ltp-2015/] to have your say on what you support or oppose in the plan Read more >>
Changes proposed for new developments
13 Apr 2015
The draft Development Contributions Policy is open for submissions in the draft Long Term Plan. “Under the draft policy we will continue to charge new development, new houses and new or bigger commercial and industrial buildings, to fund additional infrastructure needed to support that development,” says special projects manager Kim Smith. “Currently all serviced areas pay the same uniform contribution rates, but the draft policy has 3 important changes.” “We are considering changes to the way charging areas are mapped, and reducing charges in the middle of the city where little additional infrastructure is needed. But would increase charges at the fringe of the city such as the Taruheru Block, Lytton West area and for industrial land around Aerodrome Road, Dunstan Road and MacDonald Road." Currently it costs nearly $7,500 (excl GST) for each new house that receives all services including water, wastewater, stormwater, reserves and land transport. Under the revised mapping system the figure would drop to just under $4000 for the middle of the city but increase in fringe areas like the Taruheru Block (over $15,000) and the Western industrial and Areodrome Road areas (nearly $13,000). “The changes to the policy better directs the cost of new infrastructure to those that will use it. “We would welcome feedback on these options.” Developments outside the Gisborne urban area will no longer have to pay development contributions - currently they pay contributions for land transport. A process is also proposed for considering requests for remissions for development activities that provide benefits to the public. Read more about the proposed changes[/draft-ltp-2015/#UDS] to the policy. Submissions close 5pm Friday 17 April 2015. Read more >>
Stay off the Kaiti Hill road
10 Apr 2015
Pine harvesting on Titirangi Reserve, Kaiti Hill has begun but members of the public are not following road closure safety measures despite warning signage, cordon tape and patrolling security. “The walking tracks are still open and accessible from the port side of the hill,” says acting planning and development manager Geoff Canham, “But the road is closed to the public for their safety.” A number of pedestrians have slipped past roaming security and traffic control since the road access at Queens Road and Titirangi Drive were closed on Wednesday. “Machinery, trucks and tree felling can present a danger and we need to make sure people are being safe.” “Anyone using the walking tracks needs to refrain from going onto the roadway,” says Mr Canham. “If we are still seeing people using the road going into the weekend we may need to close the reserve to the public entirely.” “The closure is only in place until harvesting is completed in about 3 weeks’ time, this is much less time the 6 weeks we originally planned for, “We ask for patience and cooperation from people using the tracks. The reserve will be fully open again as soon as possible.” Harvesting is due to be complete by Friday 1 May. Here's more information about the harvest or restoration project[/titirangi-reserve-restoration/] Read more >>

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