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Four beautification projects on standby list

January 21st, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

Keep Motueka Beautiful (KMB) has chosen four development projects as potential replacements to spend its budget in case the Council confirms its intention to defer the High Street power line undergrounding work.

One of KMB's main projects for the financial year ending June 30th 2014 was to plant an avenue of trees along the southern entrance to Motueka, following Network Tasman's excavations and burying of power lines.

TDC is expected to make a decision shortly on whether or not to defer or scrap the undergrounding in order to save money (see our earlier story). Part of the rates we are paying right now is for the Council's contribution to the undergrounding project.

The Council's annual grant money to KMB has to be spent before June 30th or it is forfeited, so if there is no tree planting on High Street the budgeted amount of $4000 must be spent on other projects.

The KMB committee yesterday toured several areas where improvements could be made in lower priority projects, and chose four which could be ready when the undergrounding decision becomes final and if it is negative.

The first (labelled 1 in the map) is to clean up the final part of the inlet reserve and wetland, beside the Adopt-a-Plot area off Old Wharf Road.

The area was used as a dumping ground during the reserve restoration, and KMB want to remove the rough silt and gravel, allow tidal water to flow through a wider culvert, and plant reeds and a grassy area with picnic and perhaps play equipment.

The second replacement project (labelled 2) would be to clean up and plant out the small area in the south-west corner of the inlet, just east of the roundabout and on the north side of Wharf Road.

The area, which is one entry and junction point of the round-the-inlet walkway, has been partly developed but needs further planting to inhibit ongoing weed growth.

The third project would be to design, make and install at least six noticeboards around the inlet walkway where people may begin their walk.

Each would have an aerial map or photo with a "You are here" pointer, along with some information about the walkway as a whole. There are still many people who do not realise that the path goes completely around the inlet (3).

The final project (labelled 4), which could at least be started, would be to install more visitor-friendly access to the Sanctuary Ponds park.

The main improvement would be some linked gravel pathways that may also connect to Goodman Park. It is known that during winter the Sanctuary Pond grass area becomes boggy and unpleasant to walk around, and especially difficult for people in wheelchairs.

The KMB committee agreed that this parkland area is much under-utilised and with a bit of further effort could become another jewel in the crown of Motueka's green and open environment.


Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 25 January 2014]

Congratulations to Keep Motueka Beautiful on providing four very suitable alternative projects if the High St plantings cannot proceed. For there is an urgent need for KMB to justify the use of the annual grant it receives from Council.

In the past, much of the justification for this grant has been the need to constuct and maintain walkways. Now the KMB has correctly determined its core function it to beautify Motueka, the maintenance of walkways has been taken over by Sicon, which presumally, will be at a greater cost to Council.

At a recent committee meeting of Grey Power Motueka, the Mayor and Corporate Services Manager, Mike Drummond, made a presentation on the present condition of Council's finances. These are not good because in the last 10 years Council has been spending more than its income and making up the difference by borrowing. (colorful chart showing this). Now interest payments on this debt (these are expected to rise) will have a larger adverse effect on rates. The aim of the presentation is to put a "Limit of Debt" and a "Limit on Rate Increases". If these aims are implemented in Council's next annual plan, the result will likely be cuts of expenditure on most, if not all, of Council's activities.

As a former KMB committee member can I suggest a fifth project, the planting of flaxes along the edge of the canal between Old Wharf Rd and the KMB tool shed on the strip of grass that Council's contractor is supposed to keep mowed, a work not always done adequately. When the tide is out, the mud banks of the canal are unsightly when viewed from the entrance walkway. And when the tide is in, at this time of year, the scum on the surface of the water is also unsightly. Flaxes also provide some food for native birds.

A small example of how flaxes can screen the canal is shown adjacent to the tool shed. Some years ago, Arnold Cross and I, then members of the KMB committee, began a project to plant flaxes to screen the canal for reasons given above. However, the Reserves Manager stopped us, on the grounds these flaxes would block the view of the canal. While Arnold and I did not continue planting, we were not prepared to undo the work we had already done.

Flaxes grow very well in the Inlet Reserve as can be seen on the original plots, too well in some cases. The original plantings came from clumps of flaxes removed from the perimeter of the Airport, were cut up into small pieces by Corrections personnel and then planted in the original plots, also mostly by Corrections personnel. Many of these grew and are now very large flaxes.

If a similar procedure was adopted by digging up some of the flaxes in the original plots, splitting them up and planting them along the edge of the canal in the planting season. With the work being largely done by Corrections personnel, the cost could be less that some of the four projects KMB has listed. An alternative if the available finance becomes insufficient to implement some of these four projects.

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