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Two projects under way, others argued over

May 4th, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

Two long awaited projects - a re-sited pedestrian crossing on Wallace Street and the completion of High Street power line undergrounding - are now under way.

TDC Engineering managers told the Motueka Community Board's meeting yesterday that Network Tasman and the Council are about to begin laying underground ugly power and communication lines along the final stretch of High Street, between the clock tower and Whakarewa Street.

And work has already begun to move the pedestrian crossing at the western end of Wallace Street further away from the intersection, to allow turning cars to pause for pedestrians without upsetting the traffic flow on High Street. (See our earlier story.)

The Council managers also promised to look into several roading and stormwater issues in Motueka which have arisen recently, including those seen in the major flooding event in March.

These were the main bright spots in an otherwise somewhat contentious meeting which included argument on the criteria for allocating funds to "Special Projects", and the possible participation of members of the Youth Council in board decision making.

Tsunami evacuation zone presentation
Following the usual public forum submissions, board members and about 15 residents heard a one-hour presentation by Roger Ball, Civil Defence Emergency manager for Tasman and Nelson, about tsunami evacuation zones that have been determined by his staff.

Various parts of Motueka are now included in three affected zones which should be evacuated during potential tsunami events, plus a safe zone extending inland from around the airport. (See our earlier story.)

Questions and answers focused mainly on where the information will be available (on the civil defence website, and in print version from the Council service centre and library), and on the types and numbers of signs that should be placed around town to indicate which way to head during a tsunami alert.

Youth contribution to community board meetings
Board chairman Paul Hawkes asked members to consider inviting a member of the Youth Council to participate in board meetings and given speaking rights.

Two board members said that while they would appreciate input from young people, it should not be a regular occurrence and invitations to participate should only be on matters of interest to young people.

Advice from TDC management was that standing orders do not allow for non-board members to participate in debates during the formal meetings. The rules do allow for Youth Council members to come to the table and be given speaking rights on specific items, but they cannot enter into debate.

The board decided to begin seeking comment from young people by inviting them to attend the informal public forums which are held every six weeks between formal board meetings, and to make submissions there which could then be carried forward into meeting agendas.

Motueka library
Paul Hawkes said that he was not prepared to let lie the issue of bringing forward the construction of a new library. He said he would be meeting with the Mayor and senior Council management to see if and how a sum of $150,000 could be allocated as part of the 2016/17 Annual Plan for a library feasibility study. (See our earlier story.)

"At the last board open forum .... [people] agreed that the proposed library replacement or redevelopment is projected far too forward in the current LTP.

"Public feel that a minimal amount of cost savings the council has achieved this last year should be allocated towards a feasibility study on the library project. $150,000 is not too much money to see progress."

Paul is also initiating an online (Survey Monkey) and paper survey of Motueka residents to "put to bed, once and for all" whether most Motueka people believe a modern and well-sized library is a community need or just a want.

Criteria for Special Projects funding
Criteria for deciding which local projects could be funded from the $10 per year Motueka targeted rate was agreed in July 2015. The interpretation of the policy has been recently tested by instruction from council that the Motueka litter cart operation is not eligible for such funding.

The policy reads: "The Motueka Community Board acknowledges that there could be extraordinary situations which do not fully meet the criteria described in this policy. The community board reserves the right to consider and approve such applications."

In his chairman's report, Paul said that the use of the word "extraordinary" that would allow certain projects to be funded needed further clarification as it was being used by some board members and by Council management to argue against any project that was not Council-owned "bricks and mortar" such as footpath construction.

Several board members spoke strongly for and against spending on anything other than bricks and mortar, which led to some angry exchanges.

Paul said that the matter will be discussed again at the next board meeting after some further research and deliberation about the precise meaning of the policy, and some recommendations for possible changes in wording.


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