- Fiordland Community Board news
28 Nov 2023
Hello, kia ora and welcome to the first edition of Community Board News.
It’s been a very busy 12 months for the new Fiordland Community Board. For those who don’t know much about us let me introduce the board.
From left, front: Diane Holmes (chair), Kate Norris, Marilyn Hunter, Julie Burgess (deputy chair) Back: Cr Sarah Greaney, Luke Thomas and Nick Robertson
So what have we achieved in our first 12 months as a board? Here’s a sample of some of the results and progress we’ve made this year.
Te Anau pay toilets
Te Anau pay toilets. We have successfully presented to Council and worked with Council staff to have the fee on the Te Anau pay toilets removed. The $1 coin fee was becoming increasingly hard to administer and fiscally didn’t make sense any more. The pay toilets were unpopular with both tourists and locals alike and it’s great that we were listened to and the fee has been removed as of 24 November.
There are a few logistical things to work through to get them ready to be open and operational without a staff member present, but in a few weeks the whole block will be open 8am to 8pm, with electronic pay pads installed for the showers.
Early in our term the Fiordland Community Board recommended to Council that a review be undertaken of Te Anau Airport Manapouri due to the continuing costs to ratepayers and lack of growth of this asset. Supported by Council, the Airport Review Committee was chaired by Cr Sarah Greaney with community board members Diane Holmes and Nick Robertson on the review committee. After extensive consultation and meetings a recommendation went to Council on 22 November and Council has supported the recommendations from the Airport Review Committee. This includes the paying off of all existing loans on the airport.
The recommendations were twofold. First was a proposal for district-wide rating to be included in Council’s Long Term Plan consultation. Second, was for Great South to take the reins for a period of 12 months to manage the airport and establish a more commercial operation while a permanent solution of setting up the airport as a Council-Controlled Trading Organisation (CCTO) is investigated. Oversight will be provided by a Project Governance Group that includes Cr Greaney and community board chair Diane Holmes. This committee will monitor progress and provide a link back to Council. Great South will be able to make a strategic plan and be empowered to start implementing actions as appropriate. They can explore ideas that arose from the consultation such as marketing and selling leases, aviation-related events, looking at the feasability of re-zoning to allow for hangar homes to be built and possibly establishment of a café on site, to name but a few of the great ideas that came from those who participated in the airport review.
One of the most rewarding things about being on the community board is administering the Partnership Fund. Each year we have $45,000 to distribute to community groups who can apply for funding of up to $5,000 for their project or equipment. The following funds have been distributed since the new community board took the reins.
- Fiordland Trails Trust $5,000 – lizard management plan for Wildlife Act Permit
- Te Anau Waitangi Charitable Trust $5,000 – 2024 Waitangi Day commemorations
- Santa’s Little Helpers $5,000 – 2023 Xmas celebrations
- Fiordland Community Fun Day $5,000 – 2023 community fun day
- Te Anau Community Events Charitable Trust $2,835 – advertising community events in Te Anau Trader
- Fiordland Vintage Machinery Museum $4,000 – extension to existing shed
- Royal New Zealand Plunket Trust $987.78 – upgrading outdoor space
- Fiordland Firearms Club $4,000 – upgrading of facilities
If your group would like us to consider a grant, apply through the Southland District Council website or enquire at the Te Anau Library.
Te Anau Basin Development Plan
Largely funded by the Milford Opportunities Project and together with consultants WSP, we are in the process of gathering information from focus groups, surveys, public drop-in sessions and mana whenua that will lead to a foundation/blueprint document for the future, growth, development and beautification of the Te Anau Basin.
Everything from infrastucture provision, zoning, and roads to beautification and transport as well as recreation, culture and heritage will be included. You may have already been involved, but if not there will still be opportunity for further consultation in the coming weeks. Delivery of the plan is anticipated in February 2024.
The sale of the Luxmore Subdivision was begun by the previous community board, and successfully completed this year, giving the Luxmore Reserve that sits with the Fiordland Community Board a boost of several million dollars. Some of these funds have already been earmarked by the board to pay off debt on the airport in order to offset other potential rate increases and to ensure the airport is passed over to Greath South unencumbered by debt. Just over $171,000 from this reserve is also being used to pay Great South for its initial set-up and running of the airport over the next 12 months.
Getting to know your board members - Luke Thomas
Newsletters will be published quarterly and in future editions we’ll publish a profile of one of the board members so you can get to know us better.
In this edition we start with: Luke Thomas.
I was voted onto the Fiordland Community Board last year. As part of this role I have joined the Fiordland Events Centre Trust as the community board rep, and am now the trust treasurer.
I have lived in Te Anau most of my life. I attended Mararoa Primary then Fiordland College. After leaving school I trained as a land surveyor at Otago University then practised surveying and land development engineering around New Zealand and London for 12 years. Almost 10 years ago I moved back to Te Anau to manage my parents’ dairy farm on Wilderness Road.
I live on a farm near Te Anau with my wife Anna and two children, Isabella (12) and Harry (10), and enjoy being back in the Te Anau community. We are all very involved in various sports club and organisations, and appreciate the “can do” attitude and community spirit that we have here.
On the community board I have enjoyed learning the process and working relationship between the board and Council staff. I am also amazed by the fantastic volunteer organisations we have in Fiordland and how hard they work to provide services and places for people to connect. This is partly through being able to allocate funding through the partnership fund which enables the board to hear many great stories and plans of local organisations.
Over the past 12 months we’ve had so much more business to discuss and make decisions on it’s hard to write comprehensively in this newsletter about all of them, but they include road naming, long-term planning, toilet wraps, picnic tables, road sealing, footpath upgrades and playgrounds.
Now that we’re almost through some of the big projects like the airport review and the development plan it’s timely to consider where our energy and infulence can go next. We are currently developing a housing strategy/plan to see what we might be able to do to proactively improve the current housing situation. There is a shortage of accommodation and rentals for both seasonal workers and locals here in the basin and I hope, in the next newsletter, to give an update on that.
If you want to contact myself or members of the board to discuss any thoughts, ideas or concerns you have we are keen to hear from you. Perhaps you’d like more detail about some of the above topics? Write to Fiordlandcb.Chair@southlanddc.govt.nz or phone Diane on 027 924 0557.
If you have a general enquiry about day-to-day Council work eg. rubbish collection, vegetation, illegal rubbish dumping, water leaks etc. you are best to call 0800 732 732 and report your concerns to Council directly. The staff who answer the phones there are great and it doesn’t take too long to get hold of a human to talk to! Or you can go to the library and have a chat to the librarians who will put you on the right track to resolve your enquiry.
Keep being fabulous Fiordland and have a fantastic summer! I’ll have more riveting reading for you in the next edition.
Fiordland Community Board