Whangamata Ratepayers Association
P.O. Box 62, Whangamata 3643
Newsletter Summer 2018
It’s been a year of change; at the AGM in March the long-serving committee advised that without a level of rejuvenation, the association would have to go into recess. However, I’m pleased to advise that the rejuvenation is underway, some new committee members have taken up the challenge, and a level of success can already be celebrated across a number of fronts.
Focusing on three main challenges facing the residents and ratepayers of Whangamata, progress has been made in all three areas:
Powerco have heeded the pressure we and others have applied on a number of fronts during the year, recognised the less-than adequate quality of service provided to the town, and have scheduled the installation of a battery backup system, capable of supplying the commercial area of Whangamata during power failures. This installation is scheduled for mid-year 2019. While this solution does not address the underlying issue of a single high-voltage line into town, it does go some way to mitigating the effect of outages on that line.
Powerco have also advised that they will have a technician staying in town over the two-week summer peak, to address quickly any power outages that may occur at that busy time.
The Association is determined to keep pressure on Powerco until such time as a second high-voltage supply into town is installed, but these interim steps go some way to mitigating the issue in the short term.
See the Powerco Ap online at https://www.powerco.co.nz/about-us/our-app/ ;if every household in Whangamata used this simple application and advised Powerco every time a power outage occurred, not only would issues be fixed more quickly, but we strongly believe this feedback would drive Powerco towards installation of the second power feed.
Whether one believes in “global warming” or not, it has been raining a lot more than it used to, and coupled with the continued growth of the town, flooding has become far too common in a number of areas.
Representation to TCDC by the Ratepayers Association and others has been loud and strong, culminating in an undertaking by Council to commit to an investigative report into Whangamata’s stormwater infrastructure; this report is due out in the first half of 2019, and if managed well, should be the first step towards council investment into 21st century quality infrastructure. While this is not likely to happen overnight, it is this association’s intention to continue lobbying as hard as required to ensure the correct long-term solution is put in place.
Coupled with the lack of infrastructure, council’s present position is that it is only problematic if flooding enters a dwelling, or causes contamination through sewage overflow. This association believes the standard should be set much higher, in particular where lack of infrastructure causes unacceptable inundation of ratepayers’ properties.
These issues will take time to fix, but a strong association, led by an appropriate committee of members will certainly influence outcomes, and potentially speed them to conclusion.
While potentially controversial, the association interacted with a large number of residents, both members and non-members on the recent resource consent, and while there is not universal agreement across the board, the vast majority of residents polled clearly wanted to limit the proposed commercial events at the park, although for a variety of reasons.
The association submitted to the appointed Commissioner with a short and concise (and far less emotional than some) presentation, and we are pleased with the compromise achieved; one commercial event that requires fencing of the park, and all the traditional and well-loved established events to continue unabated.
And what else is on the agenda for the future? We’re all sick of hearing talk about mangrove management, but the debacle that was Waikato Regional Council’s failed attempt at managing the mangroves is coming to a close, new legislation is before parliament (and we believe likely to pass) giving TCDC control of future mangrove management, and this association believes it has a duty to support the hard-working Whangamata Harbour Care group in working with TCDC to ensure an effective and affordable path forward.
We have been advised that TCDC ratepayers will have paid $1.5m on mangrove management by the end of the 2022 financial year, 50% of which ($750k) has come from Whangamata ratepayers. This is a tremendous waste of money, given the poor outcomes achieved, and the very real risk of mangrove regeneration across the recently cleared areas. Prior to Waikato Regional Council’s involvement, the Harbour Care Group cleared a greater area for the cost of a BBQ and refreshments for volunteers!
Several recent reports have highlighted the need to control the mangroves to ensure the best possible long-term outcome for the harbour, while no impact on birdlife has been identified (notwithstanding the significant financial investment into reports on the issue).
This association is determined to assist Harbour Care to be recognised as a stakeholder, with input on the way forward.
Support Us Please?
Hopefully the items above show you that the Whangamata Ratepayers Association has a job to do, and while we are determined to do it, the more residents and ratepayers who join the association, the stronger our voice. For a measly $10 per annum, you can help by giving us credibility (by way of increased membership representation) in discussions with the various organisations we interact with; please follow the link below, and help us look after this great town.
Follow the link to our new website and join us: https://www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz/join-us/
The annual general meeting of the association will be held at 4pm, Saturday 23rd February 2019; put it in your calendar, and watch out for more details in January. We have made the time later in the day to allow weekenders to get settled in, and golfers (and others) to enjoy their morning sports.
Several of the longer-serving committee members will be standing down, so please consider adding value to your community by giving up an hour-or-so every two-months, and put yourself forward for the committee.
So enjoy this wonderful town that we’re are so lucky to have, look after your families, and think about helping us keep it as good as it can be!
24th December 2018