Tuesday, 02 June 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

TCDC to monitor carparking, traffic and pedestrian flows around Hahei during summer

Thames Coromandel District Council announced today that traffic, car park and pedestrian flows will be monitored and measured around Hahei village, its surrounds and Hot Water Beach over the peak summer period, which will provide more robust data for determining the impact the Great Walks Project will have on the Mercury Bay South area.

The Great Walks Governance Group signed off this latest work package at its meeting on Thursday 22 October. The work will be funded out of TCDC's District, Mercury Bay Community Board and Coromandel Great Walks budgets

The Governance Group, which is made up of the three key partners on the project (TCDC, the Department of Conservation and iwi Ngati Hei) and attended by an invited representative of the Hahei Ratepayers and Stakeholders Group, met to discuss updates and make decisions on some work packages relating to the Great Walks Project.

"Measuring and monitoring traffic, car parking and visitor trends for these areas is a key recommendation from the independent Traffic Management Report that came out last month," says Garry Towler, TCDC's Project Executive on the Great Walks Project. "It's imperative we do this work, which we'll add to the existing data collection tools both we and DOC already use now."

TCDC says parking occupancy surveys and pedestrian surveys will now be undertaken on 2 January, which past data indicates to be the peak day for summer visitor numbers to Hahei. Once collected, the new data will be collated with existing data-gathering tools (DOC's track counter system for Cathedral Cove and TCDC's tube counters for cars on roads) to help shape planning decisions to manage growing visitor numbers.

TCDC also says to manage traffic and parking this summer, the Park and Ride carpark at Pa Road, Hahei will be running from 27 December 2015 to 1 February 2016. It will also operate over Waitangi Weekend 2016. Traffic Ambassadors are also being employed to manage traffic flows at the Grange Road carpark at Cathedral Cove and direct people to the Pa Road Park and Ride.

Graham's Creek flood mitigation work to start

Construction of important new flood mitigation work is set to commence next week just north of Tairua at Graham’s Creek. A blessing was held at the construction site today ahead of next week’s start.

“This is great news for the local community,” said Waikato Regional Council’s Hauraki Coromandel catchment management team leader Emily O’Donnell.

“The work, when completed, will allow people in this area to sleep easier. The final design is a credit to the community members and council staff who were a part of this process.

”The importance of partnerships was further recognised in today’s pre-construction events when community representatives acknowledged the support and efforts of staff from WRC. Thames Coromandel District Council, which is managing the Manaia Road bridge and causeway upgrade section of the works, has also played a key role in partnering with us on this work.

“The design of the works combines the best engineering knowledge and options with creative thinking to ensure preservation of the local indigenous environment.”

The floodway improvement work will both reduce the impact of flooding and improve the natural environment.

WRC is responsible for the floodway improvement works, such as the stop banks, weir, floodgate, stream diversion and floodway. These are of vital importance in helping protect people and their properties from flooding. The first phase of the work, including sediment control and erosion protection structures, commences next week. This supports the larger construction work that will ensure no sediment impacts the downstream wetland and harbour.

The first phase of the work will be completed prior to Christmas with the second phase commencing after the peak summer period in mid-February.

Stay safe on the water this summer

As the unofficial start of summer, Labour Weekend brings the crowds to the Coromandel. Thames Coromandel District Council says they would like to encourage all boaties and anglers to think about their safety.

National Safer Boating week was launched last week and is about reminding boaties to take simple steps to prepare before going out on the water, so they avoid problems and are more likely to survive if problems do arise.

Top tips for making it home safe after a day on the water are -        
Make sure the marine weather and tide are going to be good before heading out.
Check your equipment before heading out.
Wear a correctly sized lifejacket - if using an inflatable, check canisters and that the bladder is not punctured.
Know all relevant boating rules.
Carry two forms of waterproof communications that are right for the area and enable you to contact someone during the entire trip.
Let someone else know where you’re heading and the time when you expect to be back.
Avoid alcohol if you are the skipper.

Also make your local Coastguard unit know about your trip and have all your details.

For more tips on staying safe during summer see the Safe Summer Coromandel Facebook page www.facebook.com/safesummercoromandel.

Consultation on two TCDC freedom camping proposals to close on Monday

Consultation on two Thames Coromandel District Council proposals regarding camping on the Coromandel closes this coming Monday at 4:00pm.

The first is a proposed bylaw about camping on private property and the other is about some proposed amendments to the Freedom Camping Bylaw

The proposed bylaw is about making sure that anyone camping on private property has access to basic sanitation and does not pose a nuisance to neighbours - whether people are camping on a farm paddock or at a bach in one of the Peninsula’s seaside towns.

It sets out rules on how close camping can be to the road or neighbouring properties and sets minimum standards of sanitation for campers. For example, how many toilets are required for a group of campers.

TCDC first made a bylaw which regulated camping on private property in 1982 and the proposed Standards of Camping Bylaw is the latest iteration of this.

The amendments to the Freedom Camping Bylaw are very limited - seven sites across the Peninsula, in Hikutaia, Thames, Te Puru, Port Charles, Matarangi, Opito Bay and Pauanui and how they are classified in the bylaw.

TCDC is proposing to remove one site from the bylaw, introduce one site into the bylaw, change the classification on four of the sites and leave the classification on one of the sites the same.

TCDC says in the nine months the Freedom Camping Bylaw has been operational, they’ve had positive feedback from campers, ratepayers and staff about how freedom camping now works in the Coromandel. It is also clear from that feedback that some small changed should be made.

Next Community Pathways Forum at MBAS

Mercury Bay Area School principal John Wright today said the next Community Pathways Forum will be held on Tuesday 17 November at 6:30 in the MBAS library. Community Pathways is a developing concept involving the local business community in helping local young people to build careers in the Mercury Bay area.

He also thanked all those who attended the first forum on 8 September.

“We are still exploring what the connection with our community and our senior students, in particular, could look like,” Mr Wright said. “We got a very clear understanding from the first forum that the local business community wants to be really engaged in this kind of thinking and action into the future.

“A ‘trades academy’ look-alike from the Ministry of Education is not at all likely to occur in the ways it works elsewhere, which would be a critical ingredient for us. So, we are needing to look well outside the square. I am thinking there is another dimension that will need further staffing and resourcing, which means personnel and funding considerations for us, which the Ministry does not currently provide. Deputy principal Mike Smith and I are looking at this at the moment.

“The key aim is to have our young people actively engaged in their learning and life experiences, all the way through to the time they are with us at MBAS and into their next transition into training, employment or further learning.  This is where Community Pathways could be really effective for us as a community and of course for our young people.”

Mr Wright said he is interested in receiving thoughts and suggestions from the local business community on developing the thinking around Community Pathways.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 5 October to Monday 12 October

GENERAL

Social media discussion concerning damage caused to the newly painted school pool has alerted a mum to the actions of her four and five year old sons.

As soon as she realised what they had done, she contacted the Police and the children have been referred to the Youth Aid Section.   

Part of the fence had been opened to allow the contractor access and the children were able to get into the pool area. The fence has since been repaired.

ARRESTS

6th - 1 x 29yr old local man for theft.

8th - 1 x 25yr old local man for Indecent Act.

OCCURRENCES

One domestic incident attended this week on the 9th at a South Highway address where a couple argued about their relationship and the offender decamped prior to Police arrival as he was breaching bail conditions.

On the 5th a local woman was trespassed from a Joan Gaskell Drive store when staff apprehended her eating food from the store as she shopped, while also that day, as per the arrest above, a local man was charged with theft when he stole a cask of wine.

On the 6th a woman from a Buffalo Beach Road address received abusive texts from an ex-work colleague and our enquiries are continuing.

A woman also left a wallet on the boot of her car after putting her shopping away on the 12th and it fell onto the ground as she drove off. It was picked up by the occupants of a nearby car and again our enquiries are continuing. Charges are possible should the wallet not be handed in as found property.

TRAFFIC

No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

Speeding tickets have been issued this week along Buffalo Beach Road and SH25 Kuaotunu especially and Police advice is that you should expect a ticket if you are speeding as your excessive speed puts our community at risk.

TCDC Maritime Facilities Bylaw now open for consultation

Thames Coromandel District Council says recreational boaties and commercial marine farmers will find their Maritime Facilities Bylaw consultation worth a look.

The proposed Maritime Facilities Bylaw does not change any fees, but it simplifies TCDC's rules around facilities like wharves, jetties, boat ramps, quays, piers and pontoons.

TCD says essentially it's a streamlined version of the former Wharves and Coastal Structures Bylaw that everyone has been used to already, with the removal of elements that no longer apply.

If you're not familiar with that bylaw, it dealt with rules about things like cleaning facilities, responsibility for damage to facilities and powers granted to Maritime Facilities Managers.

The submission forms will be available through TCDC's online consultation portal from today to 9 November 2015.

Submitters need to tell TCDC what decision they would like made, the reasons for their submission and whether or not they want to present to TCDC in person at a hearing on the bylaw.

Submitters who want to be heard will be invited to present their submissions in Thames on Thursday 19 November. TCDC says if you want to present at the hearing, you will be contacted and have the opportunity to confirm the approximate time.

The final bylaw will be put to Council on Wednesday 9 December 2015 for adoption.

Restoration of Ferry Landing wharf moving forward

The restoration of the Ferry Landing Stone Wharf in Whitianga is taking another step with Auckland Stone Masons starting rebuilding sections of the wharf wall from late October.

The work is expected to take six weeks.

The Ferry Landing Wharf is one of the oldest working stone wharves in the Southern Hemisphere and is classified as a Grade One structure by the Historic Places Trust.

“The wharf is in need of restoration and through a community partnership with Thames Coromandel District Council, the Historic Places Trust, iwi, the community and the Institute of Engineers, the plan is to restore it to its former state," says TCDC Mercury Bay Area Office Manager Sam Marshall.

Last December the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Fund approved $187,645 towards Stage One of the restoration work, while TCDC contributed $279,000.

“This paid towards the recovery of some of the old stone blocks from the sea floor last December. The stones, estimated to weigh between 100kg and 1,000kg, will be used to rebuild the original stone steps and sections of a missing wall," says Mr Marshall.

"Now we've also had sign-off from Heritage NZ to allow the stones to be used in the rebuild of the wharf wall and that work will be done mostly during the low tide periods where possible.”

A machine will be used to place the larger stones back into the wharf wall, while experienced labourers will be employed for a number of other jobs including -

  • Cleaning and soft blasting all existing stone.
  • Cleaning and blasting all areas to be repointed.
  • Cutting and placing existing stone to suit rebuild of wall section.
  • Cutting and placing stone steps.
  • Repairing all holes and damaged sections of wall.
  • Repointing and mortar repairs to all wall sections.
  • Removing and replacing plinth concrete cap.

The Whitianga ferry service will keep operating during the works. Health and safety signage will be in place. People need to be careful and keep clear of the work site.

LATEST WEEKLY ISSUE

Latest business rest of site

Styled Spaces

Now you can afford a WOW kitchen without compromising on the distinctive touches.

ONLINE POLL

Do you plan to “Support local/Buy Local” wherever possible during the Covid-19 recovery period, even if it means paying somewhat more for items you could have purchased online from outside the wider Mercury Bay area?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.