16 July 2021
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: Proposed Westbrook sport and recreation precinct
I am working on a story about the Westbrook Sports and Rec Precinct proposal and have some comments for the council to reply to if desired - particularly, if Lee's understanding of the 2018 report is the same as the council's.
The mayor and chair of the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee may also wish to comment - I have cc'd them in.
Saving Springfield president Robert Lee:
Lee said the council's basis for the need for the sport and recreation precinct was a deficit in playing hours on Rotorua's sports fields.
"That is the thrust of the council's argument."
The group had obtained a copy of an August 2018 report to the council that suggested an investment of about $2 million on Rotorua's sports fields would result in a surplus of about 25 to 35 playing hours a week, he said.
"Councillors haven't had access to that report [but] right there is the whole justification for repurposing the Springfield golf course, torpedoed.
"It doesn't stand up to scrutiny."
The report, called "Sports Field Construction Quality Assessment" was done by Sports Surface Design and Management for the council.
He said the information needed to be discussed at the council's Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee as the council had decided not to defer discussion of the future of the golf course.
"It's disappointing it wasn't even on the agenda [at the last meeting]. This goes absolutely contrary to the council's decision.
"The Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee is now obligated, and the chief executive [Geoff Williams] is obligated to carry out decisions made by the council. They cannot just disregard or ignore the decision of the council. It's very serious and undemocratic conduct at that point."
He said his group wanted a "swift decision" on the future of the golf course, ahead of its lease expiring in 2024.
"We want a swift decision. We don't want this hanging over our heads for three years."
He said he wanted to remind the council Saving Springfield had the "weight of the community" on its side.
The following information and comment was provided:
- Current lease to Springfield Golf Club ends in 2027 not 2024
- The Sportsfield Supply and Demand analysis in 2018 identified a deficit of 70 – 80 hours of playing and training time per week.
- The report Mr Lee refers to was a desktop analysis and the costings are generic and based on assumptions, not actual analysis of the fields. That report also recommended that due to features such as ground conditions limiting use, poor sites, ex-landfill histories etc that a full feasibility investigation of fields should be carried out prior to committing to any major capital investment.
- Subsequently, council commissioned a more detailed investigation in September 2020 which focussed on two poor condition sports parks in Rotorua – Neil Hunt Park and Puarenga Park. This report concluded that capital investment would provide negligible extra winter playing time at both parks but playing experience at Neil Hunt Park could be improved through investment into a sand carpet surface (similar to what is used at the Stadium). However, the underlying ground conditions (sawdust) would be a risk to this type of infrastructure.
- The 2020 report did identify some increased operational maintenance work to improve playing surface quality and we are working on implementing those improvements.
From Jocelyn Mikaere – Community Wellbeing, Deputy Chief Executive:
There is a significant amount of work still to be undertaken to ensure Elected Members and the wider community can fully appreciate and make an informed decision about the future of the land where Springfield Golf Course is located.
We believe we can complete that work and carry out consultation with the community well ahead of the lease expiry. It’s very important that we have the full, up-to-date picture and that the whole community has the opportunity to have a voice in this conversation before any decisions are made.
Media: Rotorua Weekender
Topic: Dog registrations
I saw that owners have until July 31 to register their dogs and thought it would be good include a story reminding people and explaining why it's important.
Would it be possible to get a few comments from someone to the below questions?
- How are dog registration numbers going so far? Is this looking good or concerning with the deadline coming up?
- Why is it important for owners to ensure their dogs are registered?
- How many are dogs there believed to be in Rotorua/were registered in the last round?
- Do you have any data around what breeds of dogs there are majority of in Rotorua?
- Is there anything you would like to add?
From Council’s Animal Control Team Lead, Dylan Wright:
As of 14 July 2021, 6,368 dogs had been registered for the 2021/2022 year. At the end of June we were up on last year’s registrations, so we’re tracking better than last year.
Reminder texts are now being sent to owners who are yet to register their dogs.
Dog registrations are due by 31 July 2021. After this time, a penalty may apply to late registrations and an owner of an unregistered dog can receive an infringement notice of up to $300.
The dog population grows every year and we now have over 12,000 known dogs in the district.
Our records show the top five most common breeds in Rotorua are Labrador, Border Collie, Huntaway, Greyhound, and Fox Terrier.
Registration fees help cover the cost of providing dog control services in Rotorua (more information about what this involves is available HERE). Registration can also help reunite a dog with its owner if lost or stolen.
To avoid queues and save time, we encourage residents to use our online dog registration services at www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/dogs. However, payment by phone or internet banking is still available if required. Residents can phone Council on 07 348 4199 (between 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday) and our Customer Advisors will be able to assist with this. Payment can also be made in person at Council.
Updating owner/dog records, updating contact details, advising Council if a dog has passed away, or requesting a replacement dog tag can also all be done online at www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/dogs.
More information about dog registration and animal control services is available HERE.
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: Farmers' protest
I've just been to the protest and have some critical comments about the mayor, chief executive and the council I'd like to share for right of reply.
Deadline for reply to these is 3.30pm - apologies for the tight turnaround but of course this is breaking news.
He said he was there to protest central government but also local government.
"RLC are seem to think we [farmers] don’t really exist. Every time we engage with them they ignore everything we say
"SNAs, representation, our opinion on long term plans and district plans.
"Federated Farmers submit and it's always totally ignored "
“We invited the local council to come along and speak. The mayor put her apology in, I wonder why. The chief executive has got seven deputies, but none of them turned up either. So I note our local council is conspicuous by absence.”
From Acting Chief Executive Craig Tiriana:
Council always seeks wide ranging views from community groups during consultation.
For your information:
The Mayor and Chief Executive are currently attending the LGNZ Conference in Blenheim.
Media: Rotorua Daily Post
Topic: Pothole repairs
I'm currently working on a story about potholes based on the data you provided in response to an [official information request] from one of our reporters.
I've attached the datasheet you sent to this email. Below is my own summary of the information:
Rotorua Lakes Council
TOTAL = 4209
*as of February 2021
The above numbers refer to the numbers of potholes repaired by the council's contractors annually.
I would appreciate it if the three questions below could be responded to by end of business today.
It would also be most helpful if the response you provide could also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- What factors could lead to the increase in the number of pothole repairs between 2016 and 2020?
- How can motorists report potholes to the council?
- One person we talked to said the quality of roading materials had declined in recent years and that our national standards are lower than Australia's. Would the council be able to comment on that?
If the council had any further comment to make on this data, that would also be very helpful.
Here is some information that should hopefully answer your questions and provide a bit of context when it comes to various bits of damage that happen to local roads. As discussed [on the phone] the data refers to repairs on any type of undulation so it wouldn’t be accurate to link the numbers in your table below to what people would typically refer to as a ‘pothole’.
From Stavros Michael – DCE Infrastructure & Environment:
What factors could lead to the increase in the number of pothole repairs between 2016 and 2020?
It’s important to note that our classification of a ‘pothole’ refers to any undulation on the road surface - this means it could be as little as 25mm (loss of surface chip) or as deep as 100mm, which is what most people would classify as a typical ‘pothole’.
Without assessing each undulation it’s difficult to provide accurate information as to what the general causes are however, in most cases undulations or potholes can be the result of:
- Weather patterns i.e. extreme rainfall penetrating road surfaces and creating hydraulic pressure due to traffic loading which pops up a small chunk of seal creating a surface dip.
- Icy temperatures where water in the voids of the road surface becomes ice which then expands and pushes up the road surface.
- Utilities trenching works where the resealing joints allow water to penetrate the surface and soften the subsurface causing loss of the seal membrane.
- Residential construction works also create the necessity for the installation of utilities which can result in the trenching effect.
We are seeing weather events happening more frequently and more intensely and we can say for sure that water ingress inside the road pavement is causing 80% of road surface damage. However, road reseals act like the paint on the external walls of a house – they act as a waterproof barrier. Council’s average reseal programme has stayed steady at around 70kms per year so there is no direct apparent reason for pothole number variances.
How can motorists report potholes to the council?
If people notice damage to the road they can phone Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199 and a Customer Advisor will log the job directly with our contractor to inspect and repair.
One person we talked to said the quality of roading materials had declined in recent years and that our national standards are lower than Australia's. Would the council be able to comment on that?
NOTE TO REPORTER: this is probably something you need to verify with Waka Kotahi. They set the roading standards for NZ.
Our national roading standards are no different to most of the world’s developed countries. There are differences in some areas simply because road treatments are always conditional on traffic volumes and demand, loading, servicing etc. but the structure of roads is generally consistent around the world whereby a road foundation supports a road pavement which in turn it supports a road surface. The types of surfaces vary but are not hugely dissimilar.
Rotorua has around 15,000,000 square metres of sealed roads. Using the data on potholes (about 63 m2 per year) pothole reports account for 0.0004% of road surfaces.