News

Candidate Meeting

Whangamata Ratepayers Association

P.O. Box 62, Whangamata 3643

www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz

www.facebook/whangamataratepayers/

The Big Three.

Stormwater, Mangroves, Williamson Park, Beach Walkway, The Thames Pool, Sealing of Wentworth Valley Road, Our Fair Share of Rates….

It’s election time and this year the Whangamata Ratepayers Association are hosting a unique election meeting. Rather than just a random collection of questions, they’ve decided to establish what are the three most important issues for ratepayers, and focus our candidates on them; The Big Three. Feedback is sought from ratepayers to select the three most important issues we all want our council to focus on.

What’s your biggest issue for Whangamata? Go to the ratepayers’ Facebook Page and comment what you want fixed https://www.facebook.com/events/695722974277030/ , or email us at whangamataratepayers@gmail.com.

The meeting will feature all available candidates for Mayor, local council, regional council and the community board representing Whangamata. Each candidate will be given 4 minutes to tell us a little about themselves and present their position on The Big Three.

The meeting will be held on September the 14th, 5 p.m. at The Whangamata Memorial Hall.

This press release has been authorised by Terry Wilson, Ratepayers President, phone 021 628058

Autumn Newsletter

Whangamata Ratepayers Association

P.O. Box 62, Whangamata 3643
www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz

www.facebook/whangamataratepayers/

Newsletter Autumn 2019

Prior to our AGM in February I canvassed ratepayers and residents to join or re-join the association, as we really need critical mass in membership if we are to have an influence in the town. I’m pleased to advise that while it needs to continue, membership is on the increase, and 5 new members have joined the committee. 

Committee

Your new committee comprises some experienced members and some new blood. Re-elected were Brian Grant, John Spencer, Tim Hart, Mike Jeffcoat, Karin Spencer and myself, while newly elected members are Brian Airey, Dale McKenzie, Marie-Louise Norberg, Sue Priest, and Sue Smith. Sue Smith has been elected to the joint Secretary/Treasurer role, and will be a great help to me going forward I am sure.

At our first meeting, after a “getting to know you” session, we agreed as a committee that while we will continue to focus on the several important issues facing the town below, the committee in particular will concentrate on growing membership in advance of the local body elections coming up later this year, to ensure our mandate demands aspiring councillors (both TCDC and Waikato Regional Council) listen to the important matters we will raise on behalf of Whangamata.   

 Membership

As I write this newsletter, we formally represent around 450 residents and ratepayers, and engage with a further 2,000 through newsletters, web site and Facebook. For us to have the attention of elected and aspiring councilors this year, we need to grow that number. At the recent AGM I asked attendees to commit to each approaching 3 friends and/or neighbours in an effort to increase our membership numbers, and we are seeing the result of that effort already. Can I ask each of you please; do the same thing? If we want to achieve a better long-term outcome around mangrove, stormwater, and power management in Whangamata, we need to continue to convince appropriate parties that we have the numbers.

As mentioned, the main areas of concern for us at present are:

Mangroves

As I have said previously, we’re all sick of hearing talk about mangrove management. The debacle that was Waikato Regional Council’s failed attempt at managing the mangroves is coming to a close, the new legislation before parliament giving TCDC control of future mangrove management has been hijacked by the Green and left influences on the select committee, and we now deem it to be unworkable.

TCDC ratepayers have paid >$1.5m on mangrove management, 50% of which 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.

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 the Harbour Care Group to ensure Whangamata is treated no differently that any other area in New Zealand on this matter; something that would be a refreshing change!

 Stormwater Management

As a result of pressure from various sources including this association, an area-wide report on the state of stormwater infrastructure in Whangamata is due to be presented to TCDC about now. It’s imperative that we, as representatives of the town’s ratepayers, hold TCDC to account to act on the report. While it is almost certain that such action will take a long time and a great deal of investment, it is unacceptable for a town of 4,000 permanent (and many more “weekender”) residents and a summer population pushing 40,000 to not have sufficient and appropriate stormwater infrastructure so that private properties are not inundated and roads impassable during severe weather events.

It is somewhat understandable that only around half the rates collected in Whangamata are spent here, but this matter will require an increased amount of our rates to be re-invested back into the town; much better than subsidising a “regional” swimming pool facility in Thames!

 Power Supply

Powerco have upped their game over the last year and as a result we have experienced fewer and shorter power outages. The stand-by battery (to supply the commercial area in an outage) is due to be installed later this year, but Whangamata remains vulnerable with only a single high-voltage power feed, and recent testing bringing the capacity of the proposed battery installation into question. We continue to work behind the scenes to convince Powerco that the long-term investment of a second high-voltage feed is not negotiable; it won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.

In the meantime 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

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.

Join Us!

Find us on Facebook or follow the link to our new website and join us:

https://www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz/join-us/ 

We’re all so lucky to be able to enjoy New Zealand’s “Best Beach”, lets make sure that title remains valid!

 Terry Wilson

Chairman

15th April 2019

Summer Newsletter 2018

Whangamata Ratepayers Association

P.O. Box 62, Whangamata 3643
www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz

   

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:

Power Supply

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.

Stormwater Management

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.

Williamson Park

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.

Mangroves

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.

Join Us!

Follow the link to our new website and join us: https://www.whangamataratepayers.org.nz/join-us/

AGM 2019

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!

 

Terry Wilson

Chairman

24th December 2018