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Engineering issues dominate Community Board meeting

July 11th, 2013
[by David Armstrong]

Negotiations over the use of land for realignment of the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Road at Turners Bluff have moved a large step forward and construction work should restart before Christmas, the Motueka Community have been told.

TDC's transportation manager Gary Clark gave the good news to the board at its July meeting held on Tuesday, as part of a long presentation covering a range of engineering and roading issues which have worried board members this year.

Without giving any details of how it happened, he said that some key issues around the Kaiteriteri road and its routing around a Maori archeological site discovered during excavation had been resolved.

Gary was also challenged over the state of Parker Street, which is rapidly worsening as it handles more traffic including large trucks due to new building projects in the area.

Board members were worried that with yet another subdivision coming up in Grey Street, Parker Street will again be used to carry heavy traffic during construction.

Gary said that there were problems with the water table and the road level along the road, and that Council had no plans to remake the road in the near future.

He said that there was no money for such a large job, which led board chairman David Ogilvie to claim again that it was unfair that development levies collected by Council from subdivision developers was not being spent on a road upgrade which was needed as a result of the developments.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne, who was also a guest at the meeting, used this and several other issues raised to give stern warnings that Council will not agree to any requests for extra funding of unbudgeted projects this year, as it wants to reduce its debt levels.

This year's mayoral election is shaping up to be a contest over who can promise to spend the least amount of money on new work.

The status of what is known as the Whitwells car park (behind the Whitwells shop) was discussed at length, as the Community Board in June asked Gary Clark to look into getting it repaved for car parking.

Gary said his investigations so far had come up with no definitive answer as to the nature of the lease on the area (Wakatu Inc own the land and lease it to Mr Whitwell), but in general Council would be loath to spend money on surfacing of land it did not own or lease.

It was understood that the present lease expires in 2015. Mayor Kempthorne again said very firmly that Council would not buy the land as there would be no money to do so.

Several Community Board members said Motueka badly needs a good parking area on the west side of High Street, and wants Council to take full responsibility for managing and maintaining this car parking area. Cr Jack Inglis said this was no simple matter due to the lease arrangement which was in dispute, plus other users such as Huia.

[Editor's note: See further clarification and comment below, added on July 14.]

The other issue discussed at some length was the approach being taken by TDC to the lower Motueka River flood control. The $13 million project agreed to in 2011 to raise and strengthen the stopbanks was reduced last year to a budget figure of $5 million, with $30,000 set aside for this financial year to investigate and plan how the lower budget would best be spent.

Richard Kempthorn said the Council were quite uneasy about the lower figure and wanted to do the job properly but limited funds available meant it was crucial that it was spent wisely.

This also led to a period of robust discussion between Richard and David Ogilvie over David's assertion in his monthly report that "the funding decisions which the Council has made on (the feasibility study for the library development, the refurbishment of the museum, and the groyne removal and fixing Jackett Ispand erosion) have appeared to be expedient and convenient, without serious consideration of consistency and appropriateness".

Richard objected "strongly" to these statements, calling on David to substantiate his criticisms. David responded by saying similar items in Richmond and other areas were being paid for from general rates whereas these specific ones in Motueka were being funded from locally targeted rates.

But the meeting was not without humour, especially when discussing a second toilet pan at the Motueka Beach Reserve when one member wanted to "pass a motion over the second toilet".

Further comment by David Ogilvie on Whitwells item:
The essential issue of the Whitwells Carpark is the Council's Designation (No 237) which requires the Council to "control, manage, plan, design,construct, and maintain the land for carparking purposes". The Designation was set in 2001 and is a formal part of the Tasman Resource Management Plan.

The Community Board is asking the Council to honour a legally required commitment - manage the area as a public carpark. (There is no requirement for the Council to pay the lease or own the land. It is a low-cost option for the Council to provide a public car-park on the west side of central Motueka. It was important in 2001 and is equally so in 2013.)

The Council is dodging the matter by stating it is a leasehold property, which seems in conflict with the reality that Council itself has facilities on lesased land. They have raised other "side" issues, but the basic factor is the Designation and its requirements.


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