Wednesday, 26 February 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

More pay and display car parking at Hot Water Beach

Progress on Hot Water Beach's tourism-related infrastructure is ahead of schedule due to pay and display parking income being kept locally and spent on improving facilities.

A new toilet design at the Hot Water Beach shop carpark is being developed with representatives of the local community and is on track for completion in late 2016, before the originally expected 2018 goal.

The pay and display parking introduced in December 2013 at the Hot Water Beach shop carpark has generated over $94,000 in income so far, with a provision for local exemptions.

The Taiwawe Carpark (also known as the Bull Paddock) will have pay and display parking introduced for summer 2015-2016. Investigation of a toilet facility to be built at the Taiwawe Carpark will also commence in the foreseeable future.

The income from the paid parking means that instead of charging local ratepayers for the cost of tourist-related facilities, the money will come primarily from visitors. The money will be reinvested locally back into Thames Coromandel District Council facilities and services catering for visitors at Hot Water Beach.

"These facilities include toilets and changing rooms, walkways, car parking and other recreational facilities impacted by tourism," says TCDC’s Mercury Bay Area Manager Sam Marshall.

Improvements also include better signage directing visitors to businesses operating at Hot Water Beach village.

On Tuesday the Mercury Bay Community Board recommended that the Hot Water Beach shop carpark fees increase to $4 per hour or $25 per day. This will be trialled over the coming summer period.

The Taiwawe Carpark (Bull Paddock) fees will be $2 per hour or $15 per day.

Payments can be made at the both carparks with cash or credit cards.

Exemptions will be available for local residents and ratepayers so they don't have to pay for parking at both sites.

The Community Board also provided an exemption for one local group. "We recognise the great work by Hot Water Beach Surf Lifesaving, including their juniors, and exemptions will be provided for them," says Community Board chairman Paul Kelly.

Growth in housing activity and the economy in general on the Coromandel

The property market has been heating up on the Coromandel over the winter months, with July through to September being an unseasonably busy time of year for the Thames Coromandel LIM Department.

"We're now getting feedback from our customers and real estate agents that things are at a tipping point and very little stock remains on the market," says Christine Harrison from the TCDC LIM department. "This seems to be especially true for Thames and Whitianga, but in saying that, we're getting LIM requests through from all areas of the Coromandel at record levels.

"Real estate agents are telling us they are desperately short of stock, everything has sold and there's nothing new to put up in the windows. We also understand agents now have waiting lists for properties coming onto the market and it could mean a quiet summer because there's nothing left to sell.”

Market commentators say homeowners with new-found equity in their properties in places like Auckland are turning their attention to coastal areas where many prices are well below their previous peak. Nick Goodall, senior research analyst at Corelogic said his firm was starting to see more requests for valuations in such areas as  the Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo.

TCDC had 140 LIM requests in July, 132 in August and 150 in September. 

"I've been working in our LIM Department since 2000 and these are the highest figures we've done in the winter months since I've been with Council," says Ms Harrison. "These are normal peak summer figures."

A LIM (Land Information Memorandum) is usually requested when an offer has been accepted on a property. "The deal actually going through is dependent on the LIM, so you're at the point of buying when you're ordering a LIM," says Ms Harrison.

In terms of processing LIMs, TCDC is keeping up with their statutory obligation to process within 10 working days. "We're also seeing a lot more urgent LIMs being sought," says Ms Harrison. "A third of our LIM requests are urgent and they need to be processed within two working days."

"If people are coming in buying houses, generally we tend to see an increase in building consents as they move in and renovate," says Ms Harrison. 

Along with residential LIM requests, Ms Harrison noted commercial LIM requests were also higher than usual between July and September.

The provisional estimate of GDP for the Coromandel showed a growth of four per cent over the year to June.

The residential construction and real estate sectors are growing at a healthy pace as low interest rates and housing pressures push up prices in Auckland. The median house price in the Thames Coromandel District was $388,000 in June this year, up three per cent compared with a year earlier.

House price sales in the year to June 2015 increased by 4.1 per cent compared with the previous year. A total of 780 houses were sold in the district in the 12 months to June 2015. This compares well with the ten year average of 641.

The annual average unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent in June 2015, down from 5.1 per cent a year earlier

A permanent and long-term net migration of 174 people was experienced in the year ended to June 2015 compared with a gain of 70 the year before and a ten year average of a net loss of eight people.

Traffic flows in the Thames Coromandel District increased by 5.8 per cent over the year to June 2015 compared with an increase of 3.3 per cent nationally.

Season of Creativity at Tairua Library

An exciting new six week creativity programme offered by the Tairua Library launches in October.

Tairua Library’s Season of Creativity offers opportunity for inspiration for people of all ages. Librarian Emma Darragh invites you to ignite your creative fire this season, with a range of exhibits, activities and resources celebrating Creativity.

From Monday 12 October until Monday 23 November, the library will host an astounding diversity of workshops, discussions and activities relating to creativity, facilitated entirely by passionate Coromandel Peninsula residents. The workshops will be offered at no or low-cost.

Everyone is capable of being creative and the Season of Creativity offers plenty of guidance and support from the local creative community. Workshops include art, writing, photography, cooking, education, career-planning and plenty more. The library promises a welcoming and accessible venue through its community-led programme and extensive selection of quality books and resources.  

The project is more about fun than perfection and all workshops and activities reflect a celebration of the process of creativity.  

Registration is required to attend some sessions as places may be limited.  People across the Coromandel Peninsula are invited to come to Tairua to take part in the Season of Creativity. There is something on offer for everyone, regardless of age or inspiration.

The complete Programme will soon be available for downloading from the library website.

Contact Emma Darragh at Tairua Library on 864 7960 for more information or to register for an event.

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 21 September to Monday 28 September 2015

GENERAL 

I would just like to point out this week that I have been on extended leave for one reason or another and it has been disappointing for me whilst I am doing my rehab that I see that the speeds have increased along Buffalo Beach road and that every third vehicle that goes past me has the driver on the phone.

I think it would be a whole lot cheaper if you invested in Bluetooth as I am about to return to my patrolling and this is an issue that is uppermost in our thinking. It is a distraction that does not have to exist.  Be warned!

ARRESTS

1 x 25yr old female for Theft

OCCURRENCES

22/09 - A burglary reported in Harbour Lights Drive, Whitianga. Workers tools stolen.

26/09 - A Domestic Dispute at The Fairway, Matarangi. Advise given and a cool off period arranged.

26/09 - Burglary reported in Buffalo Beach Road, Whitianga. Nothing stolen. Offender identified.

27/09 - Attempted Unlawful Taking of Motor Vehicle in Robinson Road, Whitianga. Ignition barrel damaged. Enquiries continuing.

27/09 - Wilful Damage at Otama Beach Reserve. Trees damaged.

TRAFFIC

One drunk driver apprehended this week. 1 x local male, 40yrs old. 290/250.

Senior Constable Pat Doak

TCDC launching a campaign against illegal rubbish dumping

Thames Coromandel District Council is launching a campaign against the illegal dumping of rubbish (fly tipping or fly dumping) at remote areas on the Coromandel Peninsula.

"Due to the significance of the Coromandel Peninsula's environment, we must be good stewards of this national treasure," says TCDC Chief Executive David Hammond

Offenders are intentionally dumping rubbish in remote areas of the Coromandel, expecting to get away with it, but local sentiment recently brought to the fore in social media shows Coromandel communities are in support of more direct action.

Specific sites are now being monitored and the TCDC Compliance Officers have identified several individuals associated with the rubbish dumping through evidence located within the rubbish and inquiries are continuing.

Help from local media has also resulted in several names of possible offenders being provided to TCDC.

A new Rubbish Fly Dumping Enforcement strategy is being planned and TCDC intends to take the following actions to act as a deterrent to intentional rubbish dumping in the district -

  • Implementation of an infringement regime for offences under the Litter Act 1979 that will range from $100 -$400.
  • Significant rubbish dumpings will be investigated with a view of a prosecution under the Litter Act 1979 or TCDC’s Bylaws with fines available up to $20,000
  • Name and shame in the media anyone convicted through the courts.
  • Instigate a "Dob in a Dumper" hotline, either through the TCDC 24-hour call centre or online.
  • Lift the Coromandel’s "Clean and Green" profile and send a clear message that anyone identified littering, dumping rubbish in our district will face legal action.
  • Provide additional monitoring of dumping sites by Compliance Officers.
  • Work with TCDC contractors and NZTA to ensure investigations are undertaken and sites cleaned.
Bridgestone Whitianga once again supporting Breast Cancer Foundation Campaign

Leading on from the staggering success of 2014, Bridgestone is once again selling Pink Caps in the Coromandel to raise funds for The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) during the month of October.

The shiny, rose-pink caps are valve covers that make a funky accessory to any tyres with valves - cars, vans, motorbikes and even pushchairs. They cost $2 each and 100 per cent of the proceeds are donated to the NZBCF and are available from Bridgestone’s store on Albert Street in Whitianga.

Last year Bridgestone sold caps worth more than $72,000. More than half a million dollars were raised for the NZBCF since the campaign first began in 2008, with the funds going towards early detection of breast cancer, education, supporting those with the disease, research and medical grants.

John Staples, General Manager for Bridgestone New Zealand says, “We are running the Pink Caps campaign for the eighth consecutive year because breast cancer is something that has touched the lives of many of Bridgestone’s staff and customers in some way and the NZBCF is a cause we feel passionate about supporting. I encourage you to get involved, buy some Pink Caps and help kick this nasty disease to the kerb.”

Bridgestone is running a Facebook page facebook.com/pinkcapdrive to support the campaign and share inspirational stories of those who have been affected by breast cancer.

This year Bridgestone is also supporting The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation Pink Caravan, which is currently on a 10-week tour of New Zealand providing education about the disease.

Funding for Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group

The Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group will receive $48,000 to fight harmful pests in the forests between Whenuakite and Tairua thanks to the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund.

Coromandel member of Parliament Scott Simpson says, “Rats, stoats, possums and other unwanted visitors are a scourge on the natural environment. “They’re a direct threat to our native birds like the kiwi, which are practically defenceless against these pests.

“The announcement today of the funding allocated to the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group provides funding for an operational manager who will coordinate volunteers who service the trapping lines in the area.

“Community groups like the Whenuakiwi Trust and the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group here in the Coromandel are key to the future of conservation, and it’s wonderful this funding will help them fight the good fight against pests and help sustain kiwi populations.

“Nationwide, pests cost our economy more than $3 billion a year. I have no doubt this Government funding will have a positive impact in the Coromandel’s local environment.”

TCDC supports further investigation into heritage region

Further investigation into the possibility of the Coromandel as a "Heritage Region" is being supported by Thames Coromandel District Council.

At its latest meeting, Council resolved that the concept has merit and warranted further discussion with stakeholders.

"There was plenty of passion from Councillors and in the public presentation part of the Council meeting both for and against the proposal of the Coromandel as a Heritage Region," says TCDC Mayor Glenn Leach. "Overall, the majority agreed further conversations should be pursued with everyone about what a heritage region could mean for the Coromandel."

Sandra Goudie was the only councillor who opposed Council's recommendation.

"This isn't going to be a quick process and we plan to take the following months and years to start initiating and holding meetings," says Mr Leach. "Council's resolution to investigate the concept further by initiating discussions with stakeholders and is not any way a formal project launch, but the beginnings of meeting with different groups from across our District to see if we move forward or not."

TCDC says the proposition of the Coromandel as a heritage region was signposted for some time in their 2014 Annual Plan and 2015-2025 Long Term Plan. Council’s Economic Development Committee then commissioned a "discussion document" looking at the possibility of what that could be.

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Did TCDC do the right thing to make Whitianga subject to a total watering ban during the busy summer holiday season?

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.