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Grants open for erosion control
3 Jun 2015
Gisborne district landowners have the opportunity to apply for funding from the Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) with the next funding round now open until 30 June 2015. Read more >>
Concern over log debris
3 Jun 2015
Wood debris has been deposited on the beach at the mouth of the Maraetaha River and on the banks of the river and its tributaries after an intense rainfall in the Wharerata’s over the weekend. Council is very disappointed that this extent of forestry debris is again fouling beaches and water ways. “The rain event was severe with reports of 105 mm over 24 hours and over 60 mm at the seaward end of the catchment,” says shared services science manager Lois Easton. “We met with landowners and interested people prior to a site inspection at the forest. We found that slip erosion has occurred in places with recently established trees. “Woody material and sediment have migrated into watercourses and downstream. Council have held numerous meetings over the past few years with landowner representatives and the forestry sector in an effort to introduce and maintain practises that avoid this downstream event. “The debris is mixed in size and can’t be attributed to any one particular source. We would prosecute if it was appropriate.” There are no signs of land collapse or erosion as a result of roading or extraction activities. Council and the forest industry maintain an environmental group who meet on a regular basis and are identifying ways of dealing with woody debris in the long term. “Short term effects are more difficult to deal with,” says Ms Easton. A meeting will be held with the affected local community, council staff and forestry representatives in the next six weeks to look at the findings from the inspection on Tuesday and discuss solutions. A report will be presented to the Future Tairawhiti meeting on 16 July on options to reduce the amount of slash entering waterways. Read more >>
Environmental monitoring changes in Council
29 May 2015
Council’s Environment and Policy management has confirmed its new strategy for environmental monitoring in the region, which includes bringing some functions back in-house and tendering lab testing to an external company. “For 16 years we have contracted our monitoring and reporting functions out to Gisborne company Hydro Technologies Limited (HTL),” says environmental and regulatory services group manager, Kevin Strongman. “Council’s long term plan to keep rates under 2% average increase for the next three years and keep debt low, means we needed to review the way we perform our environmental monitoring function and to be able to deliver the same or better level of service more efficiently.” “we had investigated bringing monitoring back in-house, just as a majority of other regional councils do, and we determined there were overall better outcomes to doing the work internally. Shared services science manager Lois Easton says “Six new specialist jobs are being created meaning that Council can respond better to changing regulations and requirements from central government, as well as increased requirements like for freshwater management that will be required in the near future. “We’ll be able to rapidly allocate staff resources to respond to extraordinary events, including outside normal hours, and able to schedule work with other Council functions in remote areas. “It will allow us to access National Environmental Monitoring Standards that only regional councils can join into, the ability to increase the range of sampling we do at no extra costs, a better understanding of field work conditions and more comprehensive feedback,” says Ms Easton. The lab testing function would still need to be sourced by an external supplier and was put out to public tender. Three tenders were received. “Two were from companies outside the region and one from HTL,” says Mr Strongman. “Our policy for awarding contracts includes criteria for using local suppliers, in this case the local supplier price was more than double what was offered by the other 2 tenderers and the buy local factor did not change the ranking of the tenderers “The cost difference of going with the local supplier would have been the equivalent of adding a further 0.5% increase to rates. “It doesn’t make the decision any less hard, we’ve had a 16 year relationship with HTL which was originally set up with council staff members in 1999, “We’re disappointed that they weren’t the successful tenderer on this occasion and realise it will be a difficult time for the business.” Read more >>
Closure continues for clean up
22 May 2015
Project managers of the Titirangi harvest from Council and Ngati Oneone have made the tough call to extend the closure of the road for a further week until Friday 29 May. “We regret the inconvenience to users of the hill but we want to do a really good job of cleaning up the log debris from the site,” says acting planning and development manager Geoff Canham. “This certainly is not a typical forestry site, we need to clean up as much of the debris as possible to prepare the ground for hydro-seeding and re-planting. “We are also complying with the strict resource consent conditions to begin rehabilitating the site to a more natural state. “This will involve native plants as a food source to invite the birds and native wildlife back to Titirangi.” A schedule of community planting days is being worked on and dates and information will be available soon. “We’ll be in touch with people that have registered their interest, contacting school groups, environment and community groups, residents and also putting it out to the wider community to come get involved,” says Mr Canham. If anyone would like to register to be involved with the re-planting project; • Contact customer services on 06 867 2049 • Email your contact details to TitirangiRestoration@gdc.govt.nz[mailto:titrangirestoration@gdc.govt.nz] • Register you interest with GisborneDC on Facebook • Contact councillors; Meredith Akuhata-Brown 0272005605, Josh Wharehinga 0275125195,  Larry Foster 0274508814 Council and Ngati Oneone are working on a co-management agreement for the project and ongoing management of the reserve in the future. Proposals for further enhancement of Titirangi made to the Long Term Plan 2015-2025 will be explored in the reserve plan going forward. Read more >>
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 >>

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