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Dam issue dominates marathon Community Board meeting

October 16th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

The Waimea Community (Lee Valley) dam dominated proceedings at the Motueka Community Board's marathon meeting on Tuesday, with two presentations and lots of public interaction.

Early in the meeting, which took just over four hours to complete, a full public gallery heard a technical presentation by TDC's water scientist Joseph Thomas setting out in quite complex detail what would happen and why if the dam is not built.

Despite it being a presentation to the community board, a handful of people in the general public put forward questions and then (at times angry) arguments about why they thought the dam should not be built. The ever-polite Joseph answered as best he could, even though that was not the topic of his talk.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne pointed out before the talk that the topic for discussion in this round of consultation is about the Funding and Governance Models, not whether or not the dam project should proceed. The latter question will be out for consultation early next year.

Joseph's time at the PowerPoint projector was about an hour, after which most of the public left. TDC's chief executive Lindsay McKenzie later gave his presentation about the dam decision which the Council faced. This talk would have more closely suited what the earlier objectors wanted to know.

Motueka Library
The board approved the proposal put by chairman Paul Hawkes (see our earlier story) that the "community board, in association with Vision Motueka, form a joint working party to continue with conceptual plans and develop a cost-effective plan for the Motueka Library, to be submitted to full Council for future consideration".

The group will comprise Paul Hawkes, board member David Ogilvie, Vision Motueka chairman David Armstrong along with another representative.

The original library concept designer Andrew Stephenson, the Motueka Library manager Janine Gillions, Councillors Judene Edgar and Peter Canton will also be included "as individuals who have shown full support" to the board's request.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne said this was a good idea, but asked that the group work just work on how it can be funded, referring to Council's policy that it will not contribute funds for this project within the next three years at least.

This drew angry responses from at least one board member, but in the end it was agreed that the working party will nevertheless go ahead to look at design options and come up with something that at least the community and potential funders can be shown in order to seek their support.

In the earlier public forum, three people also expressed their grave concerns about the Council's determination to not fund a new library for now. In particular Barry Goodman, representing Grey Power, tabled a letter noting their objection.

Motueka policing levels
Also in the public forum at the start of the meeting, George Sturgeon and Steven Moriarty complained about what they perceive as the diminished and inadequate level of policing in Motueka, especially since the staffing is being run from Richmond.

They said they were very dissatisfied with the presentation at a recent meeting with Nelson Bays police area commander Steve Greally, saying it was little more than "spin doctoring". They said that if nothing further is done, they will call a public meeting on the issue.

Later in the board meeting, Paul Hawkes said he also wants to take the matter further and has been trying to arrange a meeting with Steve Greally to answer further questions, but so far with no success. He will keep trying, as he said a public meeting without Steve there would be pointless and may even make things worse.

Security camera in Kiyosato Gardens
Paul reported that after months of preparatory work there is now a security camera installed in the Japanese gardens, which it is hoped will deter trouble-making youths from vandalism and other petty crimes there and make it a safer place for people to visit.

Janie Seddon
The board noted that the condition of the landmark Janie Seddon shipwreck beside the old wharf is now deteriorating rapidly and is seriously becoming an eyesore as well as a hazard.

Given that it will never get any better looking, is it past its time now? The board decided to put something in the papers with the aim of gauging what people thought of getting rid of it. They will also need to work out a method of removing it and the cost involved.

Motueka River bridge
See also our report of NZTA's presentation to the board regarding the Motueka River bridge.


Comment by Beth Bryant:
[Posted 20 October 2014]

Library: Good on the community board for keeping the library to the fore. It is the hub of the community and is especially important to a country community. It is much used - probably more than the Richmond library. As well, we could do with more books!

Janie Seddon: The Janie Seddon is falling apart, as you say, and I worry that it is a danger to children who still continue to play on it. Stepping stones, that are placed across the mud, make it tempting to take a peek. In addition, the notice at the northern end has been put where it is very difficult to see. It should be out in the open, not stuck on the 'monument' thing. Something needs to be done about this.

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