Kia ora Masterton,
In my column last month, I said the Council had asked the Government for clarity on 16 issues in its proposals to take management of Three Waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater), away from councils. Two weeks ago, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta surprised most councils by announcing that four publicly-owned water entities would be created to take over the Three Waters across New Zealand in 2024. At the time of the announcement, we hadn’t received a response to our questions, and I remain disappointed that the Government has decided to proceed with its proposed reform programme with zero local community consultation.
As I said then, our water infrastructure assets are owned by our community, and I have real concerns about how our community voice will be heard in how they are managed.
Since the initial announcement, and based on feedback from councils around the country, the Government has announced a Joint Working Group with local government, and iwi and Māori, to take another look at the governance, representation, and accountability arrangements.
We will all be interested in the outcome of the recommendations from this working group, and two others being set up to look at how three waters reforms will link in with reforms of the Resource Management Act, also underway, and issues relating to rural and community schemes.
There is also an opportunity for public submissions on economic regulation and community protection in the reform proposals. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has issued a discussion document on its website, with submissions closing on 20 December.
In the meantime, the Council continues to make water, and water resilience, a priority.
Last week we had the opportunity to purchase at auction 33ha of land next
to the Kaituna Water Treatment Plant to future-proof options for ensuring water resilience for Masterton. We need to take these opportunities when they come up. The Council has a provision in its long-term plan for $7.5m to be spent in 2023/24 expanding water storage at Kaituna to 40 days’ supply.
Youth Hub Added to Skatepark Revamp
Masterton District Council has signed a contract with Podular to supply a building next to the revamped skatepark site as a youth hub. Designs have been approved and construction is scheduled to start in the New Year.
The youth hub will include an observation deck, a small coffee kiosk/food counter, toilets (including a disabled access bathroom), space for skate equipment, a meeting space, and informal hang-out areas.
Young people will have the opportunity to determine how the spaces in the youth hub will be used. Opportunities for work experience are possible, with any proceeds from activities on the site going towards supporting youth mental health in Masterton. The Council approved $538,570 for the project as part of the 2021-31 long-term plan, with a $120,000 contribution from the Ministry for Youth Development and Department of Internal Affairs.
The project was initiated after discussions were held between the Council and the young people of Masterton, and the youth hub is expected to be open by March. The youth hub proposal was enthusiastically received at the careers expo held at Solway Showgrounds earlier this year, attended by secondary and intermediate school students.
Mayor Lyn Patterson said the hub would be a valuable addition to the skatepark. “This will be a great asset for our community and an opportunity for our young people to really take ownership of the space they have had so much input into,” she said. “It has been great to see how involved our young people have been in the skatepark project.”
Manager Community and Facilities Corin Haines said the contract was a significant milestone.
“The youth hub will provide a dedicated space for our rangatahi to enjoy with a focus on supporting their mental health, but it will be a space for the whole community to enjoy.
I am delighted we have signed the contract to bring this to fruition,” he said.
What’s Best for Burling Park?
Masterton District Council is going to the community to find out what play equipment should be installed at Burling Park. A community consulation event will take place from 11am to 2pm on Sunday 28 November at Burling Park – with a BBQ to help fuel the conversation.
We’ll have details of a few options to discuss, and Council staff will be on hand to answer questions. We want to know what the best option is to replace equipment removed after it reached the end of its life.
Tauweru Retaining Wall Completed
Work has been completed ahead of schedule on upgrading a retaining wall near Tauweru, on the Masterton-Castlepoint Road, 13.1km from Masterton. The original retaining was built about 50 years ago to reinstate the road after a slip blocked a culvert and caused a major washout. The old wall was constructed using tram rail and reject concrete power poles, and had to be replaced because the rails were rusting and tie backs failing. Thanks to contractors 1Geo for their great work.
Repair work on Masterton roads where recent resealing work came unstuck will begin this month, now weather conditions, including temperatures, are better for the work. Almost 27km of roads in urban and rural areas were resealed earlier this year and while most of the resealed sections are in good condition, a number have clearly deteriorated, with roading chip lost from the surface.
It was a challenging reseal season, with many areas around the country experiencing problems, particularly with the make-up of bitumen, now sourced from overseas. Repairs to affected areas are expected to be completed before Christmas, at no cost to ratepayers. The Council is working with the contractor to avoid a repeat of the issues.
Te Ore Ore Rd Roundabout in Operation
The new Te Ore Ore Road roundabout at the intersection with Totara and Blair Streets is now in operation, providing safer pedestrian crossing points, and reducing stress for turning traffic. Final touches include painting and the addition of handrails for pedestrians on the refuge islands. Masterton District Council would like to thank motorists for their patience during the construction of the roundabout.
Under the current COVID-19 restrictions public attendance at meetings is not permitted
but meetings will be live-streamed. See our Facebook page or website for details.
Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting, 1pm
Audit and Risk Committee meeting, 3pm
Wednesday 17 November
Kiwi Room, Waiata House, 27 Lincoln Road
Awards and Grants Committee Meeting, 2pm
Wednesday 24 November
Kiwi Room, Waiata House, 27 Lincoln Road
Masterton Christmas Parade
Saturday 18 December
This event will be dependant on COVID-19 restrictions.
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