Another Big Year of Achievements for Council
Friday, October 29, 2010
The Annual Report, which provides an overview of the Council’s activity over the last financial year, showed a small operating deficit of $380,000 alongside $35.5 million worth of expenditure on capital infrastructure projects.
Council Chief Executive, Craig Stevenson says the small deficit was mainly the result of reduced income and an extra and unbudgeted $700,000 incurred on the cleanup of the Patea Freezing Works.
“The Council plans to recover some of that money and is currently negotiating an additional contribution from the Ministry for the Environment towards this overrun and any money received will form part of 2010/11 income,” he says.
Mr Stevenson says the Council was able to absorb the cost overrun largely thanks to the Council being able to secure lower rates of interest on loans than budgeted, which saved around $2.8 million.
An in-house efficiency review also made operational savings of over $1 million, although those savings would be seen mainly in the 2010/11 year.
“The organisation is continually looking at ways of keeping costs down and getting the best value for money for our ratepayers. I’m very proud of the fact that the Council is a very lean and efficient organisation,” says Mr Stevenson.
Recently returned Mayor, Ross Dunlop, says the report highlighted a huge year of achievements for the Council.
“The Council’s main priority over the last few years has been upgrading the district’s water supplies and last year saw further progress.
The water supply to Hawera, Normanby, Okaiawa and Ohawe has been vastly improved by the completion of a major project which included a new intake, reservoirs and water treatment plant. The Kapuni water supply is now in excellent shape and we have some surplus capacity for future development. The quality of the water in Opunake has also improved dramatically thanks to the addition of a $490,000 clarifier at the Opunake water treatment plant,” says Mayor Dunlop.
Patea and Waverley are next on the list for major water work, with a new bore and water treatment plant being built in Patea and a new bore in Waverley in 2010/2011.
Some other big projects which were successfully completed over the last year included; The new 18 kilometre Eltham-Hawera pipeline, which carries Eltham’s waste effluent to Hawera for further treatment and disposal, the demolition and clean up of the old Patea Freezing Works , the new Normanby Recreation centre, the PowerCo Aquatic Centre upgrade, the new district museum building in Patea and the TSB Hub sports, events and recreation complex which was officially opened by the Prime Minister in March.
2009/10 also saw the filming of Predicament in South Taranaki. With a grant of $200,000 the Council was able to secure the movie’s production in South Taranaki, which provided considerable economic stimulus and vibrancy to the district.
Full copies and Summary copies of the South Taranaki District Council’s Annual Report 2009/10 can be found on the Council’s website www.southtaranaki.comor at any of its seven LibraryPlus centres or the Administration Building in Hawera.
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Patea Freezing Works Site
A grant of $1.5 million was received from the Ministry for the Environment to carry out the demolition and remediation of the Patea Freezing Works which was destroyed by a fire on Waitangi Day in 2008. The demolition of the Freezing Works has been successfully completed. The clean-up of the site proved to be quite challenging due to all the unforeseen asbestos discovered underground as formwork to foundations and tanks. The remaining work involves top soiling and grassing the site and grouting up the wells, which will continue in summer, when the site dries out.
New Museum building completed
The South Taranaki Museum Trust raised $900,000, along with a $100,000 Council loan, to complete a brand new Museum in September 2009. The new building is architecturally beautiful as well as practical. The gallery is made up of a long-term exhibition and a changing exhibition area. A dedicated reading and research room and an education space will complete what will be a fantastic heritage facility.
The Garden of Tutunui
In December 2009, a magnificent whale sculpture, created by artist Kim Jarrett, was installed at Patea. It is up-lit at night to create a subtle eerie effect. This public artwork is an attraction for travellers and locals because of its strategic location on the main highway.Patea school students, community members and Council staff planted approximately 300 native plants around the Garden of Tutunui. Bringing the sculpture to Patea was an initiative led by Ngati Ruanui and Nga Rauru Iwi.
LibraryPlus Visitor Numbers
An increase of 24,264 (7.7%) people coming into the LibraryPlus sites district-wide is evidence that LibraryPlus facilities are offering more than just books to customers. Since the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa free internet service was introduced in 2008, visitor numbers have risen significantly to 339,000 and many of these customers have found libraries a great place to be.
Normanby Recreation Centre
The people of Normanby celebrated the official opening of the Normanby Recreation Centre last December. The Recreation Centre replaces the old hall that burnt down and since opening there has seen a significant increase in the use of the facility. The Normanby Indoor Bowling Club has said that the tongue and groove floor is the best in Taranaki for their sport.
Opunake Beach Dune Stabilisation
The Opunake Beach dune stabilisation was an excellent community project where all the Opunake schools participated in helping to make the beach a safer place by planting over 9,000 native plants after the big dune which was threatening to take over the car park and road was removed. This also increased the sight lines from the surf club to the beach making it a far safer place to enjoy the surf.
Memorial Gates at King Edward Park
The King Edward Park gates, built in 1904 and 1905 to celebrate the Hawera Exhibition of 1903 and Boer War respectively, were completely refurbished this year. The work involved the removal of the gates, posts and side gates. A lot of research went into bringing back the original design and making sure the gates will stand for another 100 years. The newly refurbished gates look stunning.
TSB Hub Operations
The TSB Hub was officially opened by Prime Minister John Key in March 2010.