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Thames Coromandel Update with Mayor Sandra Goudie

Thames Coromandel Update with Mayor Sandra Goudie

Posted November 16, 2021
Council Matters , Podcast

Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie joined Brian Gentil to update local issues in her district.

Brian mentioned they had been talking off air about her concern regarding the NZTA Waka Kotahi decision to make a two lane bridge one lane due to safety, the Boundary Creek Bridge just north of Te Mata. Mayor Sandra is concerned that with the peninsular being one big loop if a road gets closed it becomes a major situation right across the district. “It’s our lifeline,” she told Brian. Council has now asked for NZTA for data about the bridges in the district that details when the bridges were last structurally accessed, what their scores were and the remaining life history for each bridge. “We can’t afford to have any bridge down at any time for any reason,” the Mayor said.

She also made a comment about the roading budget having been reduced and what could happen with Three Waters if something similar were to happen with water infrastructure.

Council’s Shoreline Management Project held a series of successful online meetings last week.

The online meetings were designed to give property owners outside the Coromandel, or those who couldn’t make physical meetings due to COVID restrictions, the opportunity to engage with the project.

There was good attendance online, and the team fielded plenty of insightful and useful comments and questions from our communities.

The Shoreline Management Project has been examining the risks and hazards that are faced from coastal inundation and erosion as a result of climate change.

The Coastal Panels and the project team are now at the “what do we do about it” stage of their work.

All the information, options, and risk assessments for each section of the coastline are now online.

There is also a feedback tool available online for the public to leave comments relating to specific sections of the coastline.

The feedback is still open this week and it will be critical to selecting the correct options and adaptation pathways for each of the districts.

Brian asked Mayor Sandra about one of the issues community boards all raised about footpath budgets being reduced when they met for the last time of the year over the past fortnight and asked “what’s behind this?”

Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) has reduced the amount of its discretionary funding for capital works construction in the district.

As a result some projects will be reduced in scope or deferred.

In the past Waka Kotahi has subsidised capital projects including new footpath construction by about 51 per cent, with Community Board budgets making up the rest and setting the priority for the footpath construction programmes.

Over the next three years the subsidy will be focussed on road safety schemes previously approved by Waka Kotahi, with the remainder being proposed by staff to be allocated to an improvement required as part of an economic growth package.

Mayor Sandra mentioned there could be potential to sacrifice some of the footpath budget and reiterated her concern about roading budgets being reduced. Council will make a decision on the allocation of the available funding at its 7 December meeting.

The Government’s proposed Three Waters Reform Programme will become mandatory effective 1 July 2024, creating a new four-entity structure that would manage water services across New Zealand.

Brian asked Mayor Sandra for an update on the three waters reform project and the impact on her council at the moment.

Council’s submission to government on the reform programme was due in October.

What happens now is technical groups are to be formed to refine details relating to issues to be worked on – these will cover governance, rural water supplies, planning alignment. ·Recognition of the first allocation of ‘better off funding’ is to be available from 1 July 2022.

A series of select committee and related public submissions and hearings processes related to the Waters Services Entities Bill and Water Services Entities (Implementation) Bill and Economic Regulation (Water Services) Bill with MBIE leading the regulation and consumer protection public consultation processes.

A national transition unit board is to be established and consultation processes to be implemented.

Remind us what your Council’s position has been, Brian asked?

Council thinks this should be driven by rateable household property numbers, rather than usually resident population numbers. The usually resident population-based funding model is limited and misrepresents the reality of the three water service delivery requirements for our district.

It is proposed currently that TCDC be part of Entity B – but Entity A is also an option. The Council has no confirmed position but will request meetings with interested parties, including iwi and neighbouring districts to consider which makes most sense for all partners.

Council recognises and highlights this is a controversial issue and the feedback received from residents and ratepayers is to “opt-out” with requests that water must remain in public ownership.

Elected members are interested in thoughts and points of view on the reforms to help inform their positions and feedback to central Government. They are receiving a large amount of feedback already, and you can continue to send this to Thames Coromandel District Council at threewaters@tcdc.govt.nz

You can also go to tcdc.govt.nz/threewatersreform for more info.

Click on our podcast link to hear the full interview with Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie.