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Community Board ends 2015 looking forward

December 9th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board ended its year of meetings on a relatively upbeat note yesterday with progress being made on its Special Projects and Long Term Plan.

The Special Projects fund is built from a $10 per ratepayer annual targeted rate, making a pool of approaching $50,000 for "bricks and mortar" projects voted on in an online survey. (See our earlier story.)

Based on the voted priorities, board members will research details, needs and cost estimates for projects including tidying up the rubbish bins in central Motueka, making and installing more bike stands around town, and building a water fountain for drinking and bottle refills outside Parklands School beside the Museum.

They will also talk with TDC's Reserves staff about creating three storyboard-style signs at the entrance points to Thorps Bush, highlighting the botanical significance of the bush as a remnant of lowland podocarp forest.

Most of the remaining items on the list focus on more footpath construction in selected areas, and these will be costed and compared in partnership with TDC staff.

The board yesterday also agreed to advance their draft Long Term Plan, with a few minor modifications and additions, to a more detailed version that board chairman Paul Hawkes can take to Council managers.

The proposed plan looks decades into the future and includes items that are considered urgent (such as traffic lights for the High Street/Greenwood and Pah streets intersection) as well as a far-term renewal of the sewerage system.

Items added into the list that we published last week were work on Whitwells car park, fixing the Riwaka to Kaiteriteri and Kaiteriteri to Marahau roads, upgrading the sewerage system, improvements to the storm water system, renewing the Marahau River bridge, and improvements to sports facilities.

Council staff will be asked to comment on the plan, and advise the community board of any items which are already in their forecast works programme for future years. The board may then finalise the plan and assign final priorities.

Then it will be put out for consultation and sumbissions from the Motueka community. Paul hopes that the consultation will be complete by the end of March 2016.

--> End of year wrap
At the end of the meeting, Paul thanked board members, Council staff and public contributors for the parts they played in "a challenging year with equally as many highs as lows".

"The board has worked effectively and well as a unit. We may not always have the same thoughts, but when decisions are made they have, on the whole, been for the benefit of our community.

"We have more challenging decisions ahead, but it is my belief that by producing a clear direction within our board plan, we can use this as a footprint for the future of the ward."

Security cameras
It was reported to the board that 20 new security cameras have been installed in the central business district and are fully functioning. They are remotely monitored from within the police station, with all data and images recorded for later inspection.

They can give both facial recognition in the dark up to 50 metres, and be linked to software that enables automatic and immediate vehicle numberplate recognition.

Constable Grant Heney, who drove this project through, confirmed that the system has already been very effective in enabling a good number of arrests.

Whitwells car park
With several of TDC's engineering staff managers present at the meeting, some discussion was held about the possibility of Council playing a bigger part in ownership or leasing of the car parking area behind Whitwells Menswear.

Whitwells' lease is due for renewal about now, and rumours circulating recently have suggested that the lease conditions may change, and the community board are keen to ensure that this privately owned car park could become publicly owned and properly maintained to help fulfil Motueka's pressing parking needs.

Community board meetings for 2016
During 2015 the board changed their (previously) monthly meeting schedule to a six-weekly cycle to align with full TDC meetings. The gaps in between are being filled by six-weekly informal public forums for people to express and debate their ideas about Motueka's future.

Yesterday the board reviewed this arrangement and decided to continue it into 2016, with one change being that the public forums will start at 7.00pm rather than 6.00pm in future.

The next formal meeting of the community board will be on February 9th, while the next informal public forum will be on February 23rd.


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