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Home arrow Events arrow Submission thoughts on the WDC draft annual plan 2008
Submission thoughts on the WDC draft annual plan 2008 PDF Print
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Action - Campaigns
Written by various people. Compiled by Gloria Bruni   
Thursday, 01 May 2008

submissions have now closed

When NSaPS submissions are complete they will be posted on this website. In the meantime, the material offered below should be considered the well-informed views of a variety of individuals. It's offered here to assist you in your own thinking about making submissions. This index will grow in the days leading to submission deadlines -- a work-in-progress. The material does not necessarily reflect the views of NSaPS.

Rates p.12, p.19 (General Topic)

Key Points (p.12) (heading and page number from the Draft Annual Plan)

We acknowledge with gratitude that in response to submissions WDC altered their Draft Annual Plan for 2007-08 to retain the .8 rating differential for rural land. In 2008-09 we hope WDC will be as responsive to public concern about rates in the current plan.

We note that the rate increase of 6.8% anticipated by the LTCCP has been cut in the DAP to 1.5%. While at first glance the ratepayer may be delighted with this figure, it is in fact half of the current rate of inflation and the income it will generate is inadequate for the needs of the district.

We have great misgivings about cuts in infrastructure investment and refurbishment which proceed from this cut in rates income.

Infrastructure failures already place unnecessary costs on businesses and city maintenance budgets, reduce public safety and bring the health status of our CBD into disrepute.

We ask the Finance Committee to increase the rate strike to no less than 3.4% Such a rate compares favorably with Auckland City whose rate strike at 5.1% is described by their finance spokesman as equivalent to inflation. [interview, National Radio, 28 April 2008]

g.b.

I do not agree with the drastic redution of rates from the amount proposed in the LTCCP 06-16 to 1.5% page 12

The Decision I wish Council to make is to increase the rates to a more practicable sum to allow for better outcomes for Whangarei District.

j.g.

Rates -- Comprehensive Review p.15

We agree with the WDC view that a comprehensive review of the rating system is needed. Like WDC, we hope for helpful reccomendations from the recent Central Government rates inquiry. We request the Finance Committee to proceed with all possible speed on reviewing the rating system once those reccomendations are received.

Beach erosion, flooding

see storm water cuts (below) pp. 31, 33 top, 50
see also Resource consents - storm water (below)

Infrastructure - cuts in storm water spending

Financial Statements infrastructure p.50

This section notes a cutback in storm water treatment, rehabilitation and upgrade. of $726,000.

Unmanaged storm water pollutes harbour and estuaries (Ngunguru among them), unimpeded it scours and erodes water fronts and stream beds, undermines seal and washes out roads, floods low-lying land, streets and sewage treatment plants.

All bad enough, but when diluted human waste is floating down major streets in our CBD and polluting streams we own a major health risk and a disgrace. No part of the community, faced with these problems, will be pleased that money was saved at such a cost.

We ask WDC to restore the full 2008-09 budget for stormwater.

g.b.

page 15 Infrastructure: more funding is needed for this. It is wrong to say to the voters rates will be reduced without saying Whangarei infrastructure and future plans will be affected. This has happened in the past and Council should learn from its mistakes.

The Decision I wish Council to make is for more funding to be made available for infrastructure and projects.

j.g.

Infrastructure - new water source

page 15: New Water Source: feasibility studies into a new water source.

The Decision I wish the Council to make is for it to undertake a feasibility study about how to control wastage of water, using storm and grey water for garden filtration systems as they do in Australia, subsidise water tanks and NOT charge a targeted or any rate on premises not wishing to connect to public water system where available. page 64

j.g.

Infrastructure - bike lanes, walkways

page 16: Changes to Year 3 of the LTCCP It is a disappointment to see projects on hold.

The Decision I wish Council to make is to allow more funding through rates to see these projects progress, including coastal walkways and bike lanes.

j.g.

Environmental planning - district plan

Page 17 Environmental Planning. District Plan. The Draft Annual Plan states that Council has a legal obligation to process private plan changes within statuory time frames. This comment is being economical with the facts. From the time of a District Plan becoming operational, there should be a two year rule before private plan changes are accepted.

The Decision I wish Council to make is for it to not fast track private plan changes but adhere to the two year rule.

j.g.

Environmental planning - structure planning

Page 17: Struucture Planning. Having contributed to earlier Structure Plans, I am heartened to read that these have to be incorporated into the District Plan.

The Decision I wish Council to make is that it needs to implement the Structure Plans as soon as possible and incorporate them into the District Plan

j.g.

Environmental planning - outstanding landscape protection

Page 17: In the district Plan there is not enough protection for Outstanding Landscape Areas.

The Decision I wish Council to make if an amendment to the District Plan to not allow subdivision as a complying activity in an Outstanding Landscape Area.

j.g.

page 17, Protection of Ecologically Significant Landscapes

We would like to see the WDC budget funds this year to protect ecologically significant and outstanding landscape areas from inappropriate subdivision.

For example, Ngunguru Sandspit, Whakairiora, Otito Reserve (Matapouri).

Otito Reserve is a beautiful open space which contributes significantly to the character of the iconic Matapouri Bay in Northland and contains wahi tapu for local iwi. It is of great concern that developers were able to obtain resource consents to subdivide this land (this is being challenged in the courts by local ratepayers).

z.g.

Environmental planning - consultants

Key Points p.17

We note that the fast-track of critical planning work will involve the use of consultants and we wish to urge that WDC ensure their chosen consultants have down-to-earth knowledge and experience of the Whangarei area. Assumptions made by Auckland consultlants in the recent past proved both incorrect and costly--divorced as they were from local imperatives.

From a local engineering specialist, "You can not separate the organization from its function without sacrificing efficiency and effectiveness."

We ask WDC to choose Consultants who will not lead to just such a costly separation.

g.b.

Environmental planning - growth model p.17

We point out that in the last 12 months changes in the housing market, world energy costs, issues around food production here and overseas, understandings around climate change impacts on coastal hazard zones (Whangarei's highest projected growth area) all impact negatively on a growth model based on data collected over the 10 years 1998-2008. In fact make that model worryingly suspect.

Too great reliance on the present growth model could easily result in infrastructure investment where it was not necessary.

Wellington City's recently announced plan for growth places the emphasis firmly on in-fill, making better use of infrastructure already in place and conserving land areas presently producing food.

Peer review of the WDC Growth Model mentions a number of worrying anomolies, such as the assumption that all development will occur on newly subdivided land. p. 95

We ASK WDC planners to take a staunchly precautionary approach to previous growth projections and to explore new methodology for understanding and regulating growth.

g.b.

Page 17: Growth Model. I have read the lengthy Growth Model report.

The Decision I wish council to make is to make adjustments to this report due to the softening market and the long term prognosis of this.

j.g.

Environmental planning - state of the environment - monitoring and reporting

Page 17: State of the Environment.

The Decision I wish Council to make is to advocate a stronger stance to protect the biodiversity of its district.

j.g.

Environmental planning - Biodiversity Strategy

We urge the WDC to ensure there are generous funds for implementing and completing the WDC biodiversity strategy. We are disappointed (given the commitment made in the WDC-adopted LTCCP 2006-16 to implement a Biodiversity Strategy) that there is no mention of this (nor funds budgeted) in the WDC draft Annual Plan 2008-09.

We note that in the recent April 2008 Environmental Services committee agenda that under the Prioritization of Plan Changes it specifically mentions a Significant Ecological Area Plan change for 2009-10. We believe that implementation and work on a Biodiversity Strategy before this plan change would provide good public input into the possible development of that plan change.

z.g.

Environmental planning - Heritage Trees

We urge the WDC to ensure thre are generous funds for the protection of heritage trees, both native and non-weedy exotic species. Pohutakawa on the coast seem to be particularly at risk from developers and landowners apparently indifferent to the value of these ancient heritage trees and their contribution to the unique character of the area.

z.g.

However we are concerned about operational confusion between heritage trees and large, old pest-trees. In the past year venerable privet, she-oak and pines have been protected by WDC contractors confused about their status. Review and clarification of the Heritage Tree Policy is urgently needed. Followed by effective guidance of all WDC weed and road maintenance contractors.

g.b.

Environmental planning - genetic engineering p.17

Ngunguru sandspit

We wish to endorse WDC's precautionary approach to GMOs for all the reasons cited in the Draft Annual Plan. We also draw Council's attention to the threat to native flora and fauna posed by escaped GMOs. In wilderness areas like the Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora, surrounded by kilometres of agricultural land, that risk is very high indeed.

g.b.

The Decision I wish Council to make it that it does not waver from its commitment in the LTCCP in adopting a precautionary approach to GE issues.

j.g.

Page 17: GE. WDC has been laudable in its efforts at taking a precautionary approach.

page 17 We thank Council for the leadership shown on the critical GE issue and the WDC's participation in the collaborative community consultation on GE (along with Waitakere City Council, Rodney District Counci, Kaipara District Council, and Far North District council). We would like to thank the WDC for budgeting $10,000 for this purpose last year.

We urge Council to make some commitment to local regulation (or prohibition) of GMO land use.

We ask Council to set aside a sum of $50,000 for a possible plan change for GMO land use during the next financial year (after the collaborative community consultation on GE).

z.g.

Resource consents and compliances PP. 39-42

The sandspit and mountain

7. Resource consents & Compliance p.39

In light of WDC's responsibility "for implementing and administering a District Plan which provides for the sustainable management of the District's natural and physical resources", in light of Whangarei's Coastal Management Strategy presently being re-examined, in light of Whangarei District Council's own extensive historical efforts to secure the Ngunguru Sandspit for the public of Whangarei, and in light of the present negotiations between Central Government and the present private owner of that property;

WE ask WDC to declare a moratorium on all consent processes regarding Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora until Central Government has completed its negotioations.

g.b.

Resource consents - building on Maori land

Page 41: Section 7: Council states that all buildings must be constructed in accordance with legislation/regulation.

The Decision I wish the Council to make is to clarify if this includes Maori land where building consents have not been applied for where permanent dwellings have been erected.

j.g.

Resource consents - development contributions policy

Page 41: CO 5: Development Contributions Policy. Too many subdivisions do not include play area for children and consequently they only have the nearby roads to bike, roam and play. This is not healthy for the community.

The Decision I wish Council to make is that it either collects more for funding reserves or community facilities or requires developers to set aside more "green spaces".

j.g.

Resource consents - storm water -- sandspit and estuary

Resource Consents and compliance page 41 CO 5

While this outcome discusses the provision of reserve land in conjunction with a resource consent, mention of provision to "set aside" land or make targeted contributions to storm water abatement is missing.

We are concerned about storm water damage in the Ngunguru Estuary and are aware that the Ngunguru situation is duplicated over the entire district.

We are also aware that WDC is under financial constraints.

We ask WDC Resource Consents Division working with the Environmental Planners, to insert some or all of the following constraints into the consent process -- at little or no cost to the rate payers:

  • Isolate a "storm water remediation" portion in the development contibutions, based on square metres of hard surface, and expensive enough to inspire developers to install several of the following remediations in order to have that fee reduced or removed.
  • Use of Permeable "hard" surface materials on footpaths and paved areas.
  • Restoration of wetlands -- in the Ngunguru area this would be particularly effective and appropriate.
  • Create Rain Gardens -- such as the excellent one at the Aquatic Centre.
  • Create Cascades (Energy Dissipation structures) appropriate for the rate of storm water flow.
  • Install Water Storage Tanks -- where the water can not later be used for gardens or cleaning it can at least be discharged at a time of lesser flow. Clearly tanks will not be sufficient alone. But will make a contribution to a larger storm water remediation package while also helping to meet the Council's goal of greater self-reliance (water) in cases of emergency.

All of the above, as requirements for new development in the Ngunguru area would contribute to improved water quality in the Ngunguru estuary (reduce flooding in Ngunguru township, reduce pollution thru over-flowed sewage treatment plant, etc etc) and we ask WDC to adopt this plan.

Targeted recreational rate -- sandspit and mountain p. 64

The DAP describes the targeted recreational rate as being "for the purpose of providing particular funding for specific projects that are either completely new projects or otherwise substantial upgrading of assets or facilities being proposed or provided in terms of parks or other recreational requirements."

We are aware that Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora as a public amenity has long had the support of the Mayor and Whangarei District Council, and we thank them for their previous efforts and loyalty.

At this time it seems appropriate to go a step further and set aside a small portion of the Recrational Facilities Targeted Rate for Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora. As little as 50 cents per rating unit would demonstrate to Central Government that WDC intends to be involved in management of this new recreational amenity as soon as it is in public hands and is making financial provision for doing so.

We point out that as a public amenity, Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora represents all four of the Wellbeings--in perfect balance.

Library, parks and recreation

pp.16,36,37,38,51

Support

We support Council's goal of "extending and upgrading walkways throughout the District".

We support Council's goal of "ensuring access to the natural environment".

We would like to note our support for basic maintenance of tracks while stressing the importance of biodiversity work (to ensure wild areas remain or are made safe for native plant and animal species) needs to be done as well. If Kiwi are present in recreational areas an educational campaign should target local landowners and visitors with dogs.

z.g.

Statement of proposal - Changes to the district plan p. 70

Page 70: RMA Fees and Charges: I support the proposal to increase the advance fee for private plan changes but the fee should be greater than $10,000.

Page 71: The Issue of Abatement Notice fee should be greater than the proposed $120.00 and there should be the addition of a penalty for non-compliance.

j.g.

The four wellbeings p.73 (inside back cover)

In line with the principles of the Four Wellbeings;

The Decision I wish Council to make is that the General Progress Indicator is included in Council's economic planning at local level such as Wellington City council has recently adopted. The GPI takes more account of real cost to communities and the environment and is more likely to produce sustainable goals, plans and results.

j.g.


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