24 March 2020 - 4pm
Council teams have been working to put plans in action to ensure Council services are still accessible while following the Government's directive for what essential services are able to continue to operate in public.
All Council buildings are now closed to the public including the Civic Centre, Rotorua Library, Rotorua i-Site, Rotorua Pound, Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Rotorua International Stadium and Rotorua Aquatic Centre.
Staff not related to essential sevices are working from home or have been redeployed to assist essential services.
More information will become available once plans are firmed up and will continue to be posted here and on the COVID-19 page on our website.
What services are still available?
Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.
The government has identified a list of essential services – this list may evolve over time.
For Rotorua Lakes Council, our essential services are defined as:
- Water (Wastewater, Stormwater and Water Supply)
- Transport and roading networks
- Rubbish and recycling collection
- Civil Defence
Some staff will be working from home so if you are unsure about a service contact our office on 07 348 4199 and a Customer Advisor will advise if it is available.
Can I still come in to the Council offices?
No. In accordance with the Level 4 Alert put in place by the Government, our service centre is now closed. If you need to contact Council please call us on 07 348 4199 (24/7) or email firstname.lastname@example.org and a Customer Advisor will be able to help you.
What happens with the water systems?
Water (Wastewater, Stormwater and Water Supply) will continue without change. If you require assistance with anything in regards to your property please advise at the time of your call or email if anyone at a property is in isolation or at particular risk. Please note that we also ask that people do not flush wet wipes down the toilet, most wet wipes are not degradable and cause problems for the system and environment.
Will my rubbish and recycling still get collected?
Yes, put your bins out on the kerbside as per normal. Assisted collection will also continue as per normal.
Remember, if your regular kerbside collection day falls on Good Friday (10 April only), it will be collected on Saturday 11 April instead. Only Good Friday's kerbside collection is affected during Easter.
Is the rubbish dump still open?
The Rotorua Landfill and green waste disposal facility is not open to the general public from Wednesday 25th at 4.30pm, but will remain open for commercial operators who have existing accounts with Waste Management.
How can I help the kerbside collection run smoothly for my household and the contractor?
- Ensure your bin lids are closed and that your glass recycling crate or wheelie bins are not overfull. Overfull bins will not be collected.
- Where possible, park your car in the driveway or clear of the path of the rubbish collection truck.
- Please do not approach the collection truck operators during collection. This will reduce the amount of times that the kerbside collection contractor needs to exit the collection truck.
If you have any questions about the kerbside collection, call 07 3484 199 to speak to one of Councils friendly operators.
Will there be changes to parking services?
Following the Government’s directive to move into Alert Level 4 in response to COVID-19, Council and iPark have reviewed parking management based on anticipated lower demand.
Parking wardens will be working until 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday) and once the country moves into the Alert Level 4 response, Council will only be responding to parking safety issues.
All parking dispute and infringement processes will be put on hold during the Alert Level 4 phase. Once this phase is over, there will be a two-week period to pay off existing fines and get processes up and running again before parking management becomes fully operational. We’ll keep you posted on these dates.
If you would like to dispute a parking ticket you are welcome to do this through our disputes process once we are back up and running.
Will Animal Control services be available?
Animal control officers will be attending urgent jobs only such as attacks or stock wandering on roads. All other jobs will be followed up via phone. Officers that attend urgent jobs will be following strict guidelines such as asking screening questions and avoiding contact with people they deal with.
Will the pound be open to the public?
No. The Rotorua Pound will not be open to the public. We are working hard to put all dogs currently up for adoption into foster care for the next four weeks. Any dogs remaining in the pound will continue to be cared for, but with reduced staffing due to the lockdown we would like to reduce this number as much as possible.
Are parks, reserves and playgrounds still open?
Council is following the Government's directive to the public to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Because they are not essential services, all Council carparks, public facilities and playgrounds in parks, reserves, and other recreational areas will be closed from 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March). This includes carparks, public facilities and playgrounds in recreational spaces in the lakes and rural areas and in the Tokorangi (Redwoods) Forest and Whakarewarewa Forest.
Information from www.covid19.govt.nz says You may go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature. But outside of your home, keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times.
The New Zealand Park Agencies Managers Group have these key message for the New Zealand public:
"Keep it local and close to home; get out in the park for a walk, bike or run and then go home. Keep your 2m distance. No meetups, korero, or food stops along the way. Remember to tell someone where you are going and take your phone with you. Thoroughly wash hands on returning home".
Are Council meetings still going ahead?
An extraordinary meeting of the Full Council will be held tomorrow (Wednesday 24 March 2020). The public will not be able to attend but the public section of the meeting will be recorded and that will be made available following the meeting.
The agenda includes a recommendation relating to decision-making during the COVID-19 period and a report on Rotorua Lakes Council’s COVID-19 response.
The agenda and public reports can be found at THIS LINK on Council’s website.
Will key projects continue?
No. All Council projects, apart from essential services (3 Waters, roading and rubbish and recycling) will be placed on hold for the next four weeks. Council will follow Government guidelines after the period of four weeks and review any further closures.
I am visiting Rotorua and I need help finding accomodation. Who can I call?
If you require assistance finding somewhere to stay so you can self-isolate while visiting Rotorua we suggest you contact the Rotorua i-SITE on 07 348 5179 (please note the i-Site building is closed so you will need to call). You can also contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help with temporary accomodation. You can register your details by calling 0508 754 163.
Is freedom camping still permitted in the District?
New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 on or before 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March. All persons will then be required to self-isolate for a minimum of four weeks.
Campgrounds are essential services and permitted and encouraged to stay open during Alert Level 4. However, shared facilities must not be used and owners may wish to close these off where possible.
Self-contained vehicles can be used as accommodation by persons that are self-isolating. Self-contained vehicles have a toilet, water and waste facilities and will display a sticker confirming they meet the Self-Containment Standard NZS 5465:2001.
Those using self-contained vehicles to self-isolate are strongly encouraged to stay at commercial camping sites, if available. They must remain at the same site for four weeks or until the Alert Level is reduced. Note that during Alert Level 4, Department of Conservation campsites will be closed, along with many local council-owned freedom camping spots.
Vehicles that are not self-contained must not be used for self-isolation. Those currently living in vehicles that are not self-contained must find alternative accommodation while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.
People seeking assistance with finding temporary accommodation for self-isolation should call the Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163.
Are the busses still running?
Bay Bus travel will be free from Tuesday 24 March until further notice to avoid direct contact between drivers and passengers. Please practise physical distancing while on board – sit in separate rows to other passengers if you can. Bus entry and exit will be by the rear doors where possible. This excludes wheelchair users who require the ramp for boarding.
- As of Wednesday March 25 all urban buses will run to the weekend service timetable
- As of Wednesday March 25 Tertiary services are cancelled until further notice
- As of Thursday March 26 all school services are cancelled until further notice.
Please continue to check www.baybus.co.nz as there may be further changes.
What is happening with building and resource consents?
We will not be accepting physical applications as council will be closed and you are encouraged to remain isolated. As council does not yet have an online lodgement system, we will temporarily accept building consent applications through email.
You can email your building consent application to email@example.com
- Files must be in PDF or PDF/A format
- A minimum of 300 DPI
- In colour where possible
- Email is limited to 50MB in size so multiple emails may be required for large applications. (Bundle over trusted file transfer may be possible)
Attach separate files for the following:
- Application form 2A and vetting checklist
- Plans (Architectural plans to be separate from others i.e engineers, truss design)
- Specifications, Product appraisals, Product manuals, Re-site reports
- PS1, Engineering calculations, Engineered design
- Geotech Report
- Onsite Effluent Treatment Design - Schedule 5
- Fire Report
- Certificate for public use application
Emailed applications will continue to be vetted to ensure adequate information has been provided for assessment.
Despite accepting email applications, we are aware there may be unforeseen challenges with lodgement. Covid-19 has pushed everyone into uncharted territory in a short period of time. Council is unable to guarantee a seamless application process but will do the best with what we have and will make adjustments where required.
We encourage those who are submitting email applications to contact us if you are unsure of the status of your application.
What is happening with RFI responses?
Our ability to process RFI responses will be severely limited. As we are paper based, many consents awaiting responses to RFI's will be inaccessible by staff. We will only be able to process RFI's if the building consent was lodged via email.
What is happening with onsite inspections?
Council will not be undertaking any inspections during the isolation period.
23 March 2020 - 4pm
Rotorua Lakes Council will now be activating its business continuity plans and all Council functions, except for essential services, will be following the Government’s directive to prepare to move into COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
Council is ready to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, support the community with our essential services and is preparing a long-term plan for recovery.
Essential services that will continue are:
- 3 Waters
- Transport Network
- Rubbish and recycling collection
- Civil Defence
These lifeline services are needed to support the community.
Civil Defence recovery and welfare functions have been activated and the organisation is supporting the Ministry of Health as the lead agency for the pandemic response.
During the next 48 hours Council staff will continue to work through plans and, as advised by the Prime Minister, prepare for the move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
More information will be available in the next 48 hours.
If you need to contact Council you can reach our Customer Centre on (07) 348 4199 or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you want information about COVID-19 go to the Government website www.covid19.govt.nz
23 March 2020 11.30am
There will be no reduction to essential services as Rotorua Lakes Council moves into testing its business continuity plans.
Following the announcement made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to move into a level 2 response to COVID-19, Council staff that can, will be working from home to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. However, moving to a business continuity system will not affect essential services such as water, roading and compliance.
No change in service level:
- 3 Waters (water, wastewater and stormwater)
- Consents and compliance
- Regulatory – Animal Control, licencing, inner city services
Council response to COVID-19
Council’s Customer Centre remains open but with added precautions to protect the community and staff. Precautions include:
- perspex screens as added protection for face to face interactions
- cleaning the centre hourly
- staff wearing gloves
- vetting all appointments and bookings
- asking people to phone, email or do their council business online.
Sport, Recreation and Environment
Increased cleaning at public toilets with the plan to increase it further. High use public facilities are thoroughly sanitised on a regular basis.
Sports and community events have either been postponed or cancelled and Council staff are working with these groups on plans for future arrangements.
Consents and compliance
There has been no reduction in level of services at this time and Council will continue to review this in accordance with advice from the Government.
Before any inspections or site visits are booked, people will be asked a number of screening questions, following this there will be regular contact to ensure the situation hasn’t changed, including when staff arrive on site. On site practices include social distancing and inputting information digitally rather than using physical forms. Inspectors will also be reducing contact with surfaces and will use hand sanitizer before and after appointments.
Council’s Civil Defence team is activating as needed and are working to support the Ministry of Health which is the lead agency for the COVID-19 response. At this time our team are helping with logistics and welfare support. We have staff working with groups that are taking care packages to the community and we are looking to see where we can assist elderly residents who have been advised to self-isolate.
Keep up to date with Rotorua Lakes Council's response to COVID-19 here
18 March 2020
As an organisation Rotorua Lakes Council is committed to helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 and supporting our community.
The health and safety of staff, customers and the wider community is our first priority.
We are following the advice of the Ministry of Health and Government and procedures and practices in relation to COVID-19 are being put in place where needed.
Some initiatives already in place included:
- Working with contractors to increase cleaning regimes at council facilities (including public toilets), venues and public spaces maintained by Council;
- Public awareness information in council facilities and venues;
- Encouraging council staff to consider how they interact in the workplace and with people in the community – eg postponing or cancelling non-urgent face to face meetings, holding virtual meetings, no physical contact, keeping a safe distance apart and practising good personal hygiene as advised by the Ministry of Health;
- Ensuring business continuity plans are ready to be activated if needed to ensure essential services continue to be delivered to the community;
- Vetting customers prior to booking and attending appointments;
- Postponing or cancelling internal staff gatherings such as waiata practice, noho marae and workshops;
- Postponing council-run events such as the Thursday night and Sunday markets;
- Working with and supporting organisers of other events;
Council’s civil defence team is in support mode and in constant contact with local health authorities which are leading the pandemic response in Rotorua.
Council-controlled-organisation Rotorua Economic Development is in contact with and providing support, advice and guidance to the local business community (all sectors) to understand the local impact and respond as needed.
Local businesses wanting advice and support and needing help to understand and access assistance that is available are encouraged to contact Rotorua Economic Development ph 07 351 7100.
Further Council actions and decisions relating to COVID-19 will be communicated to relevant stakeholders and the wider community.
Council encourages the community to follow the advice, guidance and direction of the Ministry of Health and the Government which are the lead agencies dealing with the national response to COVID-19.
A word from Mayor Steve Chadwick
This has moved very swiftly with our Government responding as things unfold and we all need to take a calm, rational and responsible view of what we may need to change and manage in the workplace and our lives in general.
People’s health remains the number one priority and I would urge everyone to keep following the advice of our Ministry of Health. We need to be guided by the experts and follow their advice.
There’s a lot of good, accessible information on the Ministry’s website and Council will also share information relating to COVID-19 on its channels.
We still can’t be certain of the extent of the impact of this locally or nationally at this stage – this is still an evolving situation.
From an economic point of view Rotorua is already being impacted and we are very concerned about our businesses and jobs.
There is already a significant impact on tourism, forestry and manufacturing are also affected and businesses are re-evaluating spending commitments which is impacting service sectors. We are already some staff lay-offs occurring and can expect more.
The Government’s ongoing assistance will be as important as supporting one another to ensure our resilience as a community and district and to ensure we are able to recover.
We need calm and common sense to prevail and most importantly, we need to look after each other and look out for one another.
Keep up to date with Rotorua Lakes Council's response to COVID-19 here