Protocols needed for Tokmaru Bay upgrade

Likelihood of finding archaeological items high.

Likelihood of finding archaeological items high.

WHILE Tokomaru Bay’s township upgrade is nearing the construction phase, a “high chance” of discovering archaeological items means a protocol with hapu needs to be developed.

Gisborne District Council met with about 40 members of the community last night in the first of a series of community meetings throughout the region over the next month on the 2016/17 annual plan.

Last year the council consulted with Tokomaru Bay on how to spend $500,000 for a township upgrade.

They decided on a new playground and upgrades to the town entrances and exits, commercial zone, bridge, cenotaph and camping facilities.

A recent Opus archaeological assessment on the construction areas found a “high chance” of discovering middens (old Maori rubbish areas), storage pits, oven scoops, post-European historic items and even human bones.

A new parking area planned for Hatea-a-Rangi Domain, in addition to the upgrade spend, was the site of a big historic battle.

Council senior planner Keriana Wilcox-Taylor said they needed to develop protocol with hapu about what to do if they found taonga during construction.

Tuatini Marae Trust chairwoman Maira Pihema said they had prepared for three meetings to discuss protocol with the council, only to have them cancelled.

Before discussing it with the wider community they wanted to discuss it with hapu.

“We are waiting patiently,” she said.

Ms Wilcox-Taylor said aside from the archaeological protocol, the design work for the township upgrades had been done and tenders were out for project contracts.

Council strategic planning manager David Wilson said contruction of the new playground would likely begin in May, similar to Tikitiki, depending on how fast the resource consents were processed.

Rubbish and roading

Rubbish and roading concerns dominated the rest of the meeting.

One resident raised concerns about abandoned vehicles and “overflowing” council rubbish bins.

A car left between Tatapouri and Makorori looked “really shabby”.

Over the holiday period, rubbish in popular places like the Whareratas and Rere was "falling out all over the place”.

“Over the holidays we need to up the ante. It is not a good look for our community, especially at that time of year.”

Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris said they needed to identify owners of abandoned cars, although they could have been quicker.

“We did not get on to that as quickly as possible. We had about three or four requests for service (RFS) about it.”

Still, people did need to contact them immediately.

“Often people assume we know about things. Posting on Facebook is not an RFS. Do RFS to the council so we know about it.”

One resident complained about pedestrian islands on the way into the town from each direction, which had neither signs nor lights, and did not allow enough space on each side to pass.

A truck drove over one recently. A council staff member said they were not finished yet.

Community agreement

Another resident pointed out the community had agreed on the islands last year.

“If they are slowing traffic, then that is the purpose of it. The easy solution is to have no parking on either side.”

A resident was concerned repairs to a slip at Puketiti had been taking a long time. Ms Harris said the delays were largely because of geotechnical issues.

They also took machinery off the roads, and for vegetation maintenance, during the dry weather because of the fire risk.

Other concerns were about the 100kmh speed limit near the town, which was dangerous for people walking on the side of the road and for cyclists.

There were also roads without road markings or signs, which were especially dangerous for children learning to drive.

Mayor Meng Foon noted the number of “bumps in the road” on the drive into Tokomaru Bay.

Bridge policy

There should be a policy statement regarding no more one-way bridges on the East Coast.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said in the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan were guarantees for more government funding for roading and $1.5 million for specific tourist rest areas.

They were required to do a priority transport study on how to get 178,000 hectares of forestry, to be harvested in next 10 years, out of the region.

Many residents raised concerns about the council’s community caretaker tender process.

Mary Chaffey and her husband Lenard had been community caretakers for the past seven years. When their contract ended, they had little communication with the council about the new position.

They had a very communal approach to caretaking and residents felt the process lacked communication.

“We deserved to be informed of the process,” Ms Chaffey said.

The next council consultation meetings are tonight at Whatatutu School (5pm) and Te Karaka Scout Hall (7pm), followed by others around the region up to the end of April.

WHILE Tokomaru Bay’s township upgrade is nearing the construction phase, a “high chance” of discovering archaeological items means a protocol with hapu needs to be developed.

Gisborne District Council met with about 40 members of the community last night in the first of a series of community meetings throughout the region over the next month on the 2016/17 annual plan.

Last year the council consulted with Tokomaru Bay on how to spend $500,000 for a township upgrade.

They decided on a new playground and upgrades to the town entrances and exits, commercial zone, bridge, cenotaph and camping facilities.

A recent Opus archaeological assessment on the construction areas found a “high chance” of discovering middens (old Maori rubbish areas), storage pits, oven scoops, post-European historic items and even human bones.

A new parking area planned for Hatea-a-Rangi Domain, in addition to the upgrade spend, was the site of a big historic battle.

Council senior planner Keriana Wilcox-Taylor said they needed to develop protocol with hapu about what to do if they found taonga during construction.

Tuatini Marae Trust chairwoman Maira Pihema said they had prepared for three meetings to discuss protocol with the council, only to have them cancelled.

Before discussing it with the wider community they wanted to discuss it with hapu.

“We are waiting patiently,” she said.

Ms Wilcox-Taylor said aside from the archaeological protocol, the design work for the township upgrades had been done and tenders were out for project contracts.

Council strategic planning manager David Wilson said contruction of the new playground would likely begin in May, similar to Tikitiki, depending on how fast the resource consents were processed.

Rubbish and roading

Rubbish and roading concerns dominated the rest of the meeting.

One resident raised concerns about abandoned vehicles and “overflowing” council rubbish bins.

A car left between Tatapouri and Makorori looked “really shabby”.

Over the holiday period, rubbish in popular places like the Whareratas and Rere was "falling out all over the place”.

“Over the holidays we need to up the ante. It is not a good look for our community, especially at that time of year.”

Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris said they needed to identify owners of abandoned cars, although they could have been quicker.

“We did not get on to that as quickly as possible. We had about three or four requests for service (RFS) about it.”

Still, people did need to contact them immediately.

“Often people assume we know about things. Posting on Facebook is not an RFS. Do RFS to the council so we know about it.”

One resident complained about pedestrian islands on the way into the town from each direction, which had neither signs nor lights, and did not allow enough space on each side to pass.

A truck drove over one recently. A council staff member said they were not finished yet.

Community agreement

Another resident pointed out the community had agreed on the islands last year.

“If they are slowing traffic, then that is the purpose of it. The easy solution is to have no parking on either side.”

A resident was concerned repairs to a slip at Puketiti had been taking a long time. Ms Harris said the delays were largely because of geotechnical issues.

They also took machinery off the roads, and for vegetation maintenance, during the dry weather because of the fire risk.

Other concerns were about the 100kmh speed limit near the town, which was dangerous for people walking on the side of the road and for cyclists.

There were also roads without road markings or signs, which were especially dangerous for children learning to drive.

Mayor Meng Foon noted the number of “bumps in the road” on the drive into Tokomaru Bay.

Bridge policy

There should be a policy statement regarding no more one-way bridges on the East Coast.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said in the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan were guarantees for more government funding for roading and $1.5 million for specific tourist rest areas.

They were required to do a priority transport study on how to get 178,000 hectares of forestry, to be harvested in next 10 years, out of the region.

Many residents raised concerns about the council’s community caretaker tender process.

Mary Chaffey and her husband Lenard had been community caretakers for the past seven years. When their contract ended, they had little communication with the council about the new position.

They had a very communal approach to caretaking and residents felt the process lacked communication.

“We deserved to be informed of the process,” Ms Chaffey said.

The next council consultation meetings are tonight at Whatatutu School (5pm) and Te Karaka Scout Hall (7pm), followed by others around the region up to the end of April.

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