Community Outlook: 09-04-23

Community Board Meeting

4th April 2023, Waiau Town and Country Club at 3:40pm

One member absent.

Public Forum

Two people spoke in the Public forum, myself and Oli Abbott, Student Representative and Head Student from Waiau Area School (WAS).

Oli outlined that the students would like to work with the Council wherever possible.

Oli identified that kids need somewhere to hang out after school and more things to do in and around town.

Highlighting the advantages of attending a smaller school like WAS, with smaller class sizes, Oli explained how much better it is compared to what he has seen of larger schools.

I raised a number of topics for consideration of the Community Board/Council, a summary follows:

Monkey Island
  • Toilets (installed a little over 2 years ago now)
    • Excessively smelly for new toilets
    • Failing/fading external wrap
    • Untidy around the back
  • Can a rain water tank be considered when the Shelter Shed is replaced to provide drinking water, particularly for cyclists, trampers, and day visitors?
  • A gravel pile in the camping area is taking up 2 parking spaces – can it be removed?
  • Signage could be improved as caravans and large motor homes are parking along the grassed area which is designated for tents.
  • Can an update on the Shelter Shed replacement be provided?
Stop bank

It was identified at the Waiau Catchment Liaison Committee Meeting (18 February 2023) that the responsibility of the Tuatapere Stop Bank (to prevent flooding of Half Mile Road) may be in question. Environment Southland (ES) members at the meeting indicated that they would follow up on it. However, I thought it prudent to ensure Southland District Council (SDC) and the Community Board Members were aware of the potential issue and to ensure that maintenance and checks are being carried out. The Stop Bank is mostly on an SDC paper road, but ES typically have responsibility for flood prevention infrastructure, so it sits between the two organisations.


I raised the topic of rubbish being left at the recycling centre to hopefully ensure that the Community Board/Council is working towards a solution.

Highlighting that it costs around $75 to take a car load of rubbish to Otautau transfer station (based on IRD costing and SDC fees) from Tuatapere (60km round trip). Furthermore, I outlined that Tuatapere residents will see an increase from $184.51 to $222.20 ($37.69) for each bin (recycle+rubbish) in the upcoming rates increase. (Total increase per household: $75.38).

In light of the above, I made the suggestion that Council considers waiving the Transfer Station fee ($24 for a car load) at least once per year for local residence to perhaps improve the situation.

Elder Park

The trees on Elder Park, around 10 hectares in area, behind the Tuatapere Cemetery, were harvested at the end of 2016. Approximately $34,000 was generated from the sale of timber for the community that is held by the Community Board (Income $189K – harvest cost $155K ref:oct2017).

The land has sat idle for more than 6 years, with gorse and broom beginning to spread.

I made the suggestion that the land could be replanted with trees (pines or natives) and perhaps schools and the community could be involved in planting and initial maintenance. Returns from Emissions Trading Scheme and harvesting the newly planted trees would be available for future generations.

After listening to Oli’s presentation, and after the meeting had finished, I outlined to Council Staff that perhaps alternate uses for the Park should be considered. Perhaps a BMX or Motocross track, or an Arboretum could be incorporated on the site with a safe cycle track from the back of the Tuatapere Domain to Elder Park? Obviously, this would need to be put out for consideration by the wider community. If you have other ideas, please let me, or a Community Board Member, know.


A topic I’ve heard mentioned over and over since moving to Tuatapere is the poor state of many of our footpaths.

I recommend that the Community Board members take a walk from the corner of McVicar and King Street (Western Side) to the Library along Kings Street and Orawia Road. Noting the condition of the footpath, in particular around the Council flats, suitability for the elderly and those using mobility scooters, and the safety requirement (NZTA) of a maxiumum 6 mm step-up. This is only around 600 meter and should only take around 10 minutes.

The Waka Kotahi (NZTA) standard states: 6 mm is the maximum intervention standard for sudden changes in footpath level

A rise in height of 14mm would represent a trip hazard to 50% of the people tested. It is estimated that 10% of those tested would trip if the rise was 6mm. Unfortunately, older pedestrians who are most at risk lift their feet the least and are least likely to recover if they catch their toe on an obstacle.

Some other areas were identified, in particular the entrance to the Waiau Bridge closest to the Domain entrance, where the step-up is in the 40-50 mm range.

After the meeting, in a conversation with Council Staff, I suggested, due to the state of the footpaths throughout Tuatapere, perhaps a Council Staff member should come out and inspect all the footpaths, noting the worst areas.

Unfortunately, footpaths are ridiculously expensive to replace, but so is the cost to the community if one of our elderly has a significant fall.

There were no specific items listed for discussion on the agenda, only the following reports, which were all accepted:

  • Detailed financial report for period ended 28 February 2023
  • Community board reporting
  • Council update
  • Chairperson’s report

A public excluded item for the Community Services Award followed.

Points of interest out of the reports:

  • The financial situation has not changed from previous. Overall a budget underspend of around $35,000, so in good shape.
  • Community Partnership Fund closed 31 March, so will be presented at the next meeting.
  • One nomination received for Community Services Award
  • Annual Report process has been delayed due to availability of Auditors throughout New Zealand.
  • Long Term Plan considerations are beginning.
  • Decision on what to do with the space once the poisoned trees have been harvested will occur at a later date.
  • Discussions about the Train Station will begin once SDC staff work through some details.

The Community Board agreed to support the mural being painted on the toilet block within the Tuatapere Domain.

Sadly, no detail of the mural has been provided to the community to date, so the communities views have not been considered.

The next meeting will be held at 3.30pm on Tuesday 6 June 2023 in the Waiau Town and Country Club.

You can comment below or email me at: to ask questions or raise issues related to this post.

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