Library on the move
Regular visitors will have noticed that Ōpōtiki’s library has moved one hundred metres north to the old ANZ building at 112 Church Street.
The move caused scarcely a ripple for users as the library staff worked hard to transition smoothly to the new location. Most of the heavy lifting occurred in one short weekend thanks to Library Manager, Jo Hunt and her library team and a small group of willing volunteers.
The library had to vacate its old premises due to mould issues in the ceiling. While the mould was treated and repairs done, the leaking roof has been a constant problem in the building and it was likely just a matter of time before the issue returned.
The move is a timely reminder of the importance of the long term project to build Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi – Ōpōtiki’s very own technology and research community hub. The temporary location has re-invigorated efforts to find a funding solution for the new facility and it will be the topic of a Council paper later in the year. It is an exciting time for the library and the new space, so talk to your local councillors if you want to be involved.
Fines for littering
Council has another tool to help deal with fly tipping across the district.
Since the district adopted a ‘zero waste’ policy in 1999, we have come a long way in residual waste reduction and (more significantly) in a change of public attitude. However, levels of fly tipping and littering remain a problem, particularly in and around rivers and in the coastal environment. On average, the Council spends
$1000.00 a month on cleaning up rubbish illegally dumped in public areas.
Council has decided to establish infringement fines under the Litter Act 1979. Litter is defined by the Act as “any refuse, rubbish, animal remains, glass, metal, garbage, debris, dirt, filth, rubble, ballast, stones, earth, or waste matter, or any other thing of a like nature”. Imposing infringement fees provides an incentive for would-be offenders to self-comply and not to litter. Any unpaid infringement fees would be recovered by the Ministry of Justice, as is the case with other fines.
Kete unveiled in the morning light
Congratulations to local artist, Anna Gedson on the erection and blessing of her beautiful kete outside Ōpōtiki’s i-SITE on Bridge Street. Anna received Creative Communities funding a couple of years ago to complete a large woven aluminium kete which reflects Ōpōtiki people’s love of hunting and gathering and ties into Ōpōtiki’s history (and future) prosperity from the sea.
From the Mayor
It is lovely to see the spring growth and say goodbye to a busy (and wet) winter. The district’s gardens are looking better than they have for a number of years due to the hard work of the Parks team and I look forward to the other improvements they have in the pipeline.
We have also seen the benefits of our collaborative approach over the last few months. The eastern Bay councils have a long history of working closely together and we have recently agreed to work together to link up our cycleways between Ōpōtiki and Whakatāne and further on to Rotorua. There will be a lot of benefits
for local businesses from this approach as we position ourselves as a cycling destination.
An influx of building consents to process points to a mini building-boom in the district, which is good to see. The downside of that is our small building team has been overloaded and I have heard some feedback that we aren’t meeting expectations around prompt replies. Just to reassure people who are working with the building team – we have a few solutions in the pipeline and we are working through the backlog. I look forward to reporting back that we are on track in the coming months.
Finally, the Harbour. As most people will have heard, we got a ‘no’ from Minister Shane Jones for the Harbour project with a $145m price tag. However, the Minister also set us up to work closely with the Independent Advisory Panel and we plan to submit a revised proposal before the end of the year. We hosted six ministers
and MPs over two days in August and it was a great opportunity to illustrate the work that MP Kiri Allan and Sir Michael Cullen sponsored pulling together the various eastern Bay projects into a cohesive whole. It was a powerful message to ministers about the difference that can be made to raise the economic prospects in the region.
Mayor – John Forbes
Freedom Camping Fund
Like many parts of regional New Zealand, during the summer months, the Ōpōtiki district faces an influx of freedom campers. When done well, self-contained caravanners can be a boon for out-of-the-way places as freedom visitors tend to stay longer and spend more on activities. But they can also put pressure on infrastructure such as public toilets and parking.
For a number of years, Council has encouraged freedom camping in designated locations such as Te Ahiawa, Hukuwai and Hoani Waititi Memorial Reserve in Ōmaio. We have also applied for and received funding through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's freedom camping fund.
We will have an additional $50,000 for temporary, portable, self-contained toilet facilities for the very popular Hoani Waititi Memorial Reserve for the coming peak period. The funding will also cover the extra compliance costs and signage reminding campers what is and is not permitted.
Council staff take skills to Vanuatu
The trip was part of PacificTA, a Local Government New Zealand programme funded under New Zealand’s Aid Programme through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The programme is designed to share expertise from across New Zealand’s 78 local authorities. They join with others in government in similar roles in the Pacific and offer hands-on mentoring and training for things like urban planning and development, management and infrastructure.
Both came back from the trip with new relationships, a new way of looking at our local challenges and a host of ideas for their compatriots back in Vanuatu. They highly recommend the valuable experience to other New Zealand councils and reported back to MFAT on ways local councils can support the Port Vila municipality into the future.
Thanks to all the owners who registered their dogs on time this year and whose animals are now proudly sporting the new green registration tag.
Just a reminder that dog registration is a national requirement – all dogs in the country must be registered before the first of August each year. There was a lower fee and free microchipping for registering on time.`
As part of this process, Council is now undertaking annual dog checks around the district – this is to make sure that dogs are correctly registered and make sure we have an accurate understanding of actual dog numbers. This year, we are asking dog owners a few simple questions about the animal control service – what works well and what could be better. There will also be a few questions about the dog bylaw in preparation for a bylaw review before the end of the year. Helpful feedback is welcome.
Dog owners – things you must do:
- Register your dog each year (from 3 months old)
- Make sure your dog is under control at all times
- Make sure your dog is secure at home – no wandering!
- Microchip your dog
- Look after your dog’s health and wellbeing – exercise, food, water and shelter
And seriously consider de-sexing your dog. It is cheaper to register, means no unwanted puppies and there are health and behavioural benefits as well. Every year dozens of litters of puppies are left in our abandoned box, often too young to survive away from their mother.
- Keep register of dogs
- Daily patrols for roaming dogs (and night ones too)
- Maintain a pound
- Re-home dogs (more than 80 in the last 2 years)
- Respond to attacks
- Respond to wandering dogs
- Deal with barking dog complaints
Driver licencing programme update
Have you seen our innovative Driver Licencing Programme on the news lately?
We are proud to be working with a range of agencies (NZ Transport Agency, Eastbay REAP, BoP Regional Council, Toi EDA and with the support and work of Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board) to get more than 60 young people achieving their Restricted Licence.
Rapid Numbers and new addresses
The first properties to be allocated new rapid numbers have been sent letters and, where requested, their new numbers. Rapid numbers are required for every rural property with a dwelling so that services such as Police, ambulance, fire and Civil Defence know the exact location in an emergency. You can read more about the project on our rapid number project page.
Ford Street Rose Garden Reserve
During the LTP process we had a lot of feedback on the Rose Garden Reserve and our plans for that space. We are hoping to start physical works this summer with planting in next season’s planting period (May-Aug). We're holding a public meeting this month and that will be a great chance to talk to people passionate about the place, the history and the project to revitalise the area. We’ll have more on that and next steps soon. You are welcome to come and see draft plans and ideas for the space and provide your feedback and input from 12pm to 2pm on Thursday 11 October 2018 at the Ford Street Rose Garden Reserve.
• Thursday 27 October - Maison de Tease, Burlesque Entertainment at De Luxe Theatre
• Saturday 3 November - Ōpōtiki Golf Club Centenary. St John Ambulance Gala Open Day
• Tuesday 6 November - Real Raw, 6pm, Memorial Park Pavilion
• Sunday 11 November - Pakowhai Community Garden Open Day 3pm, 25 Elliott St
• Saturday 17 November - Ōpōtiki AgFest, Ōpōtiki Showgrounds
• Saturday 24 November - Hukutaia Domain Centenary
• Friday 18 – Sunday 20 January - Island View Ukulele Festival
• Saturday 19 January - Ōpōtiki Lantern Festival
Don’t forget to keep your eyes out for the calendar of fantastic summer events – beach digs, outdoor movies, scary nights out and more.
For more information on any of the wide range of Ōpōtiki clubs, groups, activities and events, visit the Ōpōtiki i-SITE or www.opotikinz.co.nz or call (07) 315 3031.