Annual Report 2014/15
Gisborne District Council's 2014/15 Annual Report covers our performance from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.
The annual report outlines how we spent your rates, what we've done, our finances and how we met our performance targets.
2014/15 Annual Report
The report in sections
Section 1 - Our year [PDF, 2.6 MB] - district highlights, audit report, our strategic direction
Section 2 - Our activities [PDF, 1.5 MB] - by department and activity
Section 3 - Our finances [PDF, 5.7 MB] - financial statements, funding impact statement
A summary of our work, budgets and highlights
Tairāwhiti tēnā koutou
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
This year we’ve been successful in achieving a wide ranging work plan, all inside a tight budget. We’ve achieved our rates aim, giving more stability to our households and businesses. In our last long-term plan (LTP) we forecast rates to increase by 5.4% in 2015 - in the annual plan we managed to cut this down to only 1.9%. This brings the actual savings for ratepayers to $4m over the last 2 years. Meanwhile we have maintained our service levels, in fact we have managed to achieve more with considerably less rates income.
Finishing the War Memorial Theatre, the Cenotaph, the Wainui and Oneroa cycleways and fixing filter systems at the Olympic Pool were big achievements this year. We harvested and replanted Tītīrangi and got the wetlands trial underway for the next stage of managing our wastewater. The library redevelopment and Council buildings projects also progressed well.
A major focus for this year was creating an LTP that reflects the needs and wants of our community. Our new vision, values, community outcomes and strategic priorities better reflect our goals and are driving our work plans. We adopted the LTP in June and got a clear audit from the Auditor General.
Maintaining and upgrading our roads and water pipes continues to be a priority. We spent $12.1m (net of NZTA subsidies) on roads and $10.3m on water utilities. Townships didn’t miss out - Tolaga Bay also got significant infrastructure improvements.
Simplifying our rates system from 140 targeted rates to approximately 40 was a hard task but we can now fully model rates impacts to better manage risk. We also reduced the differences between rates changes (increases and decreases) around the district so that the vast majority of ratepayers got a 2% or less increase. We’ve planned to keep the overall rates increase at 2% for the next 3 years.
We want to acknowledge councillors and staff for their hard work in achieving our legislative obligations, improving environmental standards and providing more action on community projects. We’re looking towards an exciting future for us all.
Mayor Meng Foon and chief executive Judy Campbell
Cycling and walking from city to sea
We’re getting closer to realising our vision of a network of cycle and walkways that showcase our beautiful coastal environment. The Oneroa cycle and walkway from Waikanae to Midway has been completed, along with stage one of the cycle and walkway from Kaiti to Wainui.
The $1.4m Oneroa walkway was opened on 1 August 2015. The design tells local stories of navigation and early Māori settlement, and ties in with the Tairāwhiti Navigations project.
The Kaiti to Wainui walkway was completed in October last year. Stage 2, Wilson St to Rutene Rd, will get underway in early 2016 and an additional extension could start as soon as next year, thanks to a $3.5m government funding boost. The whole project will provide more than 10km of cycleways from the existing Wainui path through Kaiti and into the CBD.
Keeping rates low
We received $51m in rates this year, $3m less than what was originally proposed in the 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan. Rates makes up 60% of our income. We’re committed to keeping rates low, making savings by working smarter as an organisation, increasing grants and subsidies and income from commercial investments.
Caring for our environment | Te whakaahurutanga i te taiao
Less pine more natives on Tītīrangi
Eight hectares of pine trees have been harvested on Tītīrangi Reserve in the first stage of a $1.3m project to revitalise our city’s largest landmark over the next 3 years. This year’s harvest was carefully planned to lower the risk of damage to the landscape and preserve sites of cultural and historic value.
The first of 44,000 native plants including Koromiko, Nikau and Kawakawa were planted by contractors and the community in July 2015 and will continue each year until 2019.
The restoration project is a partnership between Ngāti Oneone and Council and ties in with the Navigations project. The next phase will be to formalise our co-management agreement, then to look at enhancing the walkways and viewing points.
Freshwater plan update
The Proposed Gisborne Regional Freshwater Plan guides how we’ll use and look after fresh water in our region. It identifies the issues for fresh water and what outcomes we propose to achieve. Even though the plan is still proposed, new rules for water quality and quantity took effect when the plan was notified on 10 October 2015.
Waterways that have significant or outstanding values have been identified with particular rules in place around them. It also outlines specific planning for each catchment area, starting with the Waipaoa Catchment Plan.
A draft Freshwater Plan, developed with the Fresh Water Advisory Group, was widely consulted on last year. Read the proposed plan
Ongoing work to reduce wastewater into waterways
Work to replace old leaking wastewater pipes is ongoing. We’re taking a holistic approach to reducing pressure on the wastewater system by looking at stormwater on private property. In heavy rain, stormwater flooding can enter the wastewater system through gully traps, so we’re talking with homeowners about what they can do to provide channels for stormwater.
A stormwater model for Kaiti will identify ‘hotspots’ to focus on and the model will be expanded for the rest of the city over the next 2-3 years. Areas with the greatest need will have pipes upsized. Parts of the old wastewater pipeline have been replaced in Richardson Avenue, Graham Road, De Lautour Road, Aberdeen Road and the pumping main from the Steele Road pump station.
Wetlands trail for wastewater
We’re investigating how to make our wastewater cleaner and where the water and sludge should ultimately end up. After it goes through the biological filter at the treatment plant, most solids and bacteria are removed and the remaining water is pumped through the outfall pipe 1.8km into the bay.
We’ve started some trials to see if spreading water onto a manmade ‘wetland’ could remove even more solids, sludge, bacteria and viruses. The goal is that water would be spread across land instead of sea, and contaminants are removed by a natural process using native plants, sand and gravel.
The project team are trialling different types of plant and bed combinations to see what works for the Gisborne environment. By next September, we’ll have a good idea of whether treatment wetlands are the answer. We’ll be asking the community what you think of the results from the trial in 2016. If it gets the go ahead we’ll construct and start using around 50 hectares of wetlands by 2020.
Working with our community | Te mahi tahi ki to tatau hapori
Community & environmental funding
We recognise that some of the best community and environmental projects come from within our communities. We have 4 funding schemes available to encourage and assist these projects. This year funding enabled weed control around a wetland area at Motu, planting natives on Wheatstone Rd, a marae based recycling programme on the East Coast, and many community arts projects including Māori weaving, Diwali celebrations, workshops and exhibitions.
We have 2 community funding schemes
We also have 2 environmental funds:
Gisborne District Youth Council established
We now have an official youth council. The structure of the Gisborne District Youth Council (GDYC) mirrors that of the Council with 13 people representing each of the wards: 9 for Gisborne city and one each for Matakaoa/Waipaoa, Uawa/Tawhiti, Patutahi/Taruheru and Waipaoa. GDYC will tell us what’s important to young people and bring fresh ideas to help Council meet their needs.
Members are aged 12-24 years and were appointed in November 2014 for one year. The Youth Council made a number of submissions to the draft Long Term Plan and presented at hearings. Their suggestions included installing outdoor gym equipment along cycle and walkways, creating a community garden, including a youth-oriented space in the library upgrade and improving Wi-Fi services around the city. The GDYC continue to meet every 7 weeks to make recommendations on issues and initiatives concerning young people in Tairāwhiti. Meet the youth councillors
Sprucing up our townships
Tolaga Bay’s main street was upgraded with footpaths, improved crossings, kerb and channel restoration and new street lighting.
Te Karaka and Whatatutu are next in line for upgrades. We've engaged Harrison Grierson to refine a preliminary design for the Te Karaka improvements, and the final design has gone to tender. All going well the successful contractor will be onsite mid-October. Upgraded footpaths, traffic safety measures and an improved arrival into the township are on the cards for Te Karaka, along with making the town hub more attractive. Work also started in October along Whatatutu’s main street including installing speed bumps, fencing and native plantings.
We’ll be rolling out plans for other rural communities even faster as $5.5 million, and a schedule of one community per year for the next 10 years, was approved in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan. Tokomaru Bay is next in 2016, followed by Manutuke and Muriwai in 2017.
Keeping you safe and connected | Te haumaru me te hononga i a koe
Safe speeds around schools
Eleven Tairāwhiti schools have had safety improvements to make their entranceways safer. Earlier this year the schools received new line markings, fixed and electronic signs and minor adjustments to parking areas. The safety improvements - for schools on state highways and local roads - cost $275k.
There are also 8 new school buses taking students to and from Gisborne Girls High, Gisborne Boys High, Lytton High, Nga Uri a Maui, Gisborne Intermediate, Campion College and St Mary’s. The 57-seater low-floor easy access buses, dubbed ‘Waka Kura’ after our Facebook bus naming competition, hit the road on the first day of the 2015 school year.
New contract for our region's roads
In late 2013 the New Zealand Transport Agency and Council embarked on a collaborative joint venture to manage the maintenance operations of the combined regional roading network. After a long road gaining approval and finalising details to establish Tairāwhiti Roads, the Minister of Transport officially opened the Tairāwhiti Roads office on 15 May 2015.
The team got straight to work tendering 2 new contracts for both highways and local roads. These are the first joint contracts and began on 1 October. The first contract for the East Coast was awarded to Services South East, which includes a large chunk of work that will be sub-contracted locally. The second contract for city and Waikohu areas was awarded to Downer. Council would like to thank HEB, Fulton Hogan and Downer for keeping Gisborne’s roads safe and accessible in extremely challenging terrain and weather, over many years.
Improving our community facilities | Te whakapai ake whakaurunga
Fresher water at the Olympic Pools
The Olympic Pools were built over 40 years ago and will be redeveloped in the next 6 years. There’s been a lot of maintenance work on the pools this year to ensure the current facility is as sound as it can be.
The filtration system has been upgraded to significantly improve water quality. There’s also a repair and maintenance plan for the hydroslide.
Shades were installed and the kiosk was renovated as a summer snack shop to reduce congestion in the foyer. The daily ‘clean patrol’ in the peak season kept the complex spick and span, and families liked the cost effective new family pass. A business case will be prepared shortly outlining the preferred development approach, with a view to securing funding for a concept design next year.
Ready in time for Anzac day
Gisborne War Memorial Theatre was officially reopened on Anzac day 2015, with a distinctive “field of poppies” lighting feature reinforcing the theatre’s status as a memorial of war.
The new theatre bears little resemblance to its former self and the increased capacity puts Gisborne on the radar for bigger and better shows to perform here. Nearly 2 years ago the theatre was leaky, not fit for purpose and falling short of acceptable health and safety standards. A rebuild on the current site was considered the most cost effective way to give the district a first class facility.
Now there are over 500 seats, the stage and foyer have more than doubled, backstage areas have been revamped and there are new sound, lighting and curtaining facilities, along with a fully-rigged production tower. The $9.6m revamp was a combination of Council ($4.25m) and external funding ($5.35m).
Read more about the redevelopment project
Restoring the Cenotaph
The Cenotaph, damaged in the 2007 earthquake, was also completed in time for Anzac day. The project received $617k from a national fund available for restoring nationally significant monuments in time for the centennial commemoration of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. Our insurers covered $130k of the repair work. The $1m restoration included an extended riverside footpath to the William Petty Bridge, concrete, turf and timber terracing and new lighting.
In April 2015 we approved a new reserve management plan for the Waihirere Domain. The plan is intended to guide its day-to-day management. Mana whenua and community played an important role in developing values for the plan, which focuses on preserving native wildlife, plants and water quality.
The last plan was drafted in 1987. The new plan formally recognises the role of Ngati Wahia as kaitiaki of the Domain and provides greater certainty around the function and management of the reserve. The plan will be funded through the long-term plan and external sources as needed. Read the Waihirere Domain plan