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Council's project 'matrix' explained to Community Board

August 14th, 2010
By David Armstrong

Decisions about priorities of engineering projects, particularly related to footpaths and pram crossings in and around Motueka, are being put onto a more rational basis with "emotional" factors being removed, courtesy of TDC's engineering "matrix" computer program.

TDC Transportation Manager Gary Clark addressed the Motueka Community Board on Tuesday following an invitation by the board to explain what the matrix is, how it works and how it is being used to prioritise council's engineering work. Gary said when he began working in his current role he saw the need for a better way of prioritising jobs, particularly on footpaths and pedestrian ramps, to remove "emotions" and subjectivity from decision making.

The matrix is in fact a gigantic computer spreadsheet, with many sub-spreadsheets each for different engineering activity group such as roads, trees, bridges, footpaths etc. Each project is subjected to "weightings" which are appropriate to each activity, and the weighted scores allow projects to placed in priority order.

For example, footpath decisions are based less on population and more on actual usage, meaning that areas around schools and in smaller communities can get a higher priority than those in larger towns.

Gary also commented on the possible timetabling of pram crossing jobs coming up funded by the community board's surplus for the year. As reported here last week, the board will spend about $15,000 of its $21,000 surplus (leaving the remainder in the reserve for next year) on one footpath and five pram crossings. He said these works would be combined with others coming up so that economies can be achieved with bulk contracts. Decisions on when the projects would go ahead will be made before the next community board meeting in February.

Transportation Study
Following the board's request from July's meeting, Council has agreed to make a presentation to a public meeting to inform the community what decisions have been made on future transportation planning, why and where to from here. One aim of the meeting would be to dispel some of the myths that have been circulating particularly about temporary bypass routes.

Motueka Quay & Historic Wharf Area
The board reported that the long-delayed project to smarten up the landscaping and improve and make safer the parking area beside the old quay at the end of Old Wharf Road has moved ahead, with copies of a Council-generated plan being circulated around the nearby residents. The plan has been okayed by residents, although one has come up with a less regimented, softer plan as an alternative for consideration. The options will now be passed on to Keep Motueka Beautiful to prepare for the next steps.

Public art work by youth
Kane Hurst, an enthusiastic young artist, addressed the meeting asking for encouragement and support for his artistic friends to paint and brighten up alleyways and other public spaces. He said he would like to start in the Skate Park area, which is "trees and dirt and concrete everywhere", and it was suggested he take his ideas to two public meetings coming up in Motueka regarding the Skate Park development and anti-graffiti measures.

Pethybridge Gardens
The board agreed to support a council suggestion that a sign be placed on High Street pointing to the rose gardens, which otherwise are hard to notice. Part of the boundary hedge has been removed so that the roses are more obvious from the street.

New street names
The board of the Museum Trust have given their support to the adoption of three new street names suggested in April by the community board - Kennedy Drive, Hart Lane and Bridle Lane - after historic people and businesses. Tara Forde asked that the decisions on further new names be held over until talks with iwi, as the historic names used for most roads so far reflect only European history and not Maori history.

Comment by Richard Hayward, 8 Trewavas Street:
[Posted 16 August 2010]
Save the Quay. Is Council to include repairing the ever-increasing damage to the wharf of the Quay and save it from further sea erosion or is TDC concentrating on landscaping and parking only? This is a high priority project that needs urgent attention or we shall lose it altogether.

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