Council approves further diversification to its investment funds
Clutha District Council has authorised the use of an alternative asset, the Nikko multi-strategy fund to further diversify its investment funds.
The recommendation was bought to Council yesterday by its Audit and Risk Committee following an external review undertaken by Melville Jessup Weaver (MJW).
MJW said in the review that Councils’ Nikko Investment had been performing satisfactorily.
MJW said there was value in further diversification and recommended that 7.5% be allocated to Nikko’s Multi-Strategy Fund. This would be a hedge fund of funds vehicle designed to protect the portfolio in weaker markets.
Council first invested with Nikko in April 2017 in a balanced strategy, targeting 50% in growth assets (equities and property) and 50% in income assets (fixed interest and cash).
MJW said while its New Zealand equity performance had been weak, performance otherwise had been good and there had been no significant negative changes or emerging points of concern with Nikko or any of the relevant funds.
MJW consider it likely that looking forward, returns available to investors would be lower than recent years.
They continue to believe that the best strategy to deal with market volatility is for the Council to continue with its well-diversified investment portfolio.
Otago Regional Economic Strategic Framework
Councillors were presented with the Otago Regional Economic Strategic Framework 2019 at the Council Meeting which details how the region intends to work collaboratively to achieve shared economic development outcomes.
The framework was developed by a project team comprised of economic development managers from across the Otago region (including Clutha Development) who had been working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Councillors voiced their disappointment that the report had to use old census population figures and statistics that did not reflect Clutha currently.
The idea to develop a framework came from advice from MBIE who indicated that it would be advantageous for the Otago region to develop a high-level plan to support applications to the PGF.
The development of the Otago Regional Framework Strategic Framework has been made possible by financial contributions from all Otago Councils and MBIE.
The framework highlights the following key objectives:
- To provide multi-district benefits through economic development initiatives.
- To increase regional productivity.
- To assist the Otago region to access the skills and experience it needs to prosper.
- To improve the ability of Otago communities to respond to social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges.
Councillors also noted that Government funding of $200,000 per annum is available for two years (2019/20 – 2020/21) to build capacity, portfolio manage and support Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) activities across the Otago region.
Dump station to be installed
A free motor caravan dump station will be installed in central Balclutha to provide disposal and potable water facilities for self-contained vehicles.
Council has secured a 50% contribution from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund for this project in the amount of $76,525 (excl. GST) for capital costs and assistance with operating costs to the value of $6,000 (excl. GST) over two years.
A robust debate was had around the Council table about whether it was needed when there was a dump station at the camping grounds that charged a minimal fee of $5.
Council currently provides other free dump stations in the Clutha District.
At the Council meeting councillors approved the construction project and approved a budget of $76,525 to be funded from the Public Toilets Depreciation Reserves.
A report to Council said it had been approached on numerous occasions by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) regarding the establishment of a free dump station in Balclutha.
There are currently five public motor caravan dump stations in Clutha, yet Balclutha which is the central point and largest service town in the Clutha District is not one of them.
Balclutha is a strategically important location for District tourism due to its central location in the Clutha District as well as its role in the Southern Scenic Route, which is a popular route for self-contained vehicles heading south towards The Catlins so we need to ensure there is enough geographical spread within the Clutha District.
It is proposed to construct a basic motor caravan dump station and associated hard stand areas with potable and wash down water supplies.
This will include an asphalt pad around the dump station itself and a short section of chip sealed road to link through to existing sealed roads.
Further drawdown approved
Council has approved a drawdown request of $200,000 from the $1 million grant previously approved for the Lawrence to Waihola cycle trail extension.
The Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust had requested the drawdown to keep the project progressing.
The Trust said the $200,000 would support the ongoing work including consent, planning, survey and design as well as land access negotiation/easement agreements and trail building.
The Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust has received a total of $8 million ($6.5m from the Provincial Growth Fund) to extend the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail from Lawrence to Waihola.
The existing Clutha Gold Great Ride (73km) will be extended by an additional 61km, from Lawrence to Waihola via Milton. The extension will consist of 47km of new trail (including about 2kms of boardwalk/raised embankment through Lake Waihola wetlands) and 14km on gravel roads.
Council has received notification of changes to the trustees of the Dunkeld Cemetery.
Councillors appointed the following as Trustees of the Dunkeld Cemetery under Section 23 of the Burial and Cremations Act 1964:
• Neville John Hills
• Adrian Nicholas (John) van Rossem
• Donald Edward Pearson
• Joseph Chris Theo Scholten
• Vicki Marie Hills
Council to trial alternative approach to freedom camping
Councillors have decided to trial an alternative approach to the management of freedom camping in The Catlins area over the 2019/20 summer.
Council will investigate potential freedom camping sites at three towns in The Catlins, as part of a trial.
Council staff will consult with landowners and stakeholders to determine the suitability of these sites, and the best way to implement the trial.
Council agreed to provide up to three designated sites in The Catlins as part of the trial, and where necessary, will undertake remedial work to ensure these are fit for purpose.
The increasing number of visitors, along with greater impacts on our communities and the environment, suggests that a change to Council’s current approach may be required.
Once a final list of trial sites has been determined, they will be publicised through Council’s website and Information / Service Centres.
The budget for the trial is up to $25,000.
The capacity of the trial sites will be limited, and they will operate on a first come / first served basis, with a limit on the number of nights people can stay.
The trial will not include the provision of toilet or other facilities, and the use of the designated sites will be limited to certified self-contained vehicles.
Apart from the trial sites, freedom camping on other Council-controlled land in The Catlins will be discouraged and monitored by the Freedom Camping Ranger.
The number of people choosing to freedom camp in the Clutha District has increased over the last decade, and includes both international and domestic visitors.
In popular areas like The Catlins, this has resulted in more pressure on the environment, and increasing tension between locals and campers.
Councillors acknowledged that the Freedom Camping Bylaw did need reviewing and it would be in the work programme for next year.
Consultation for the Our Place Catlins Community Plan showed that a majority of respondents (92%) thought it was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to better manage freedom camping in The Catlins. Some common themes were identified:
• More / better toilet facilities are required.
• Campers should stay at existing campgrounds.
• There should be no free overnight stays.
• An adequate number of free camping spots should be provided.
Council to continue to fund Freedom Camping Ranger for Clutha only
The Clutha District Council has agreed to additional funding for the Freedom Camping Ranger to service Clutha only.
In May 2019 Council approved additional funds to extend Responsible Camping Ranger activities from seasonal to full-time, funded by the General Reserve subject to funding from the two other funding partners.
At the time it was expected that both DOC and the Southland District Council would be approached for additional funding to enable the ranger to be employed fulltime.
This additional funding has not been forthcoming hence Council has decided to provide an additional budget of $15,000 to extend ranger services only to the Clutha District area of the Catlins.
This will enable the Freedom Camping Ranger’s role is to monitor and discourage freedom camping on other Council-controlled land in The Catlins and help educate campers about where they can park.
Footpath extension for Stirling
At the Council meeting it was decided to fund the remaining 240 metres of footpath on View Street, Stirling, and it is to be constructed with the finished surface being concrete.
Residents of View Street, Stirling submitted during the 2018/28 Long Term Plan at the Long-Term Plan asking Council to construct a footpath along the street to enable residents to traverse this area safely.
At the Long Term Plan meeting on 23 May 2018 Council considered the request from the View Street residents and agreed to construct a 180m long concrete footpath.
As construction has progressed residents now believe strongly that the entire footpath should be completed and representatives from View Street spoke at the Service Delivery meeting on 25 July 2019.
In a report to Council it said as part of recent changes by the NZTA, new concrete footpaths where there are no footpaths currently can be funded as Low-Cost Low Risk Projects as part of our assisted roading programme.
This was not the case originally where only gravel footpaths could be constructed.
As such, the section of footpath constructed to date in Stirling has been included in the Low-Cost Low Risk Programme.
Council will apply the $36,000 of funding approved from the 2018-28 Long Term Plan and therefore it would require only $18,000 worth of low-cost low risk funding to complete this work.
The $36,000 would be loan funded and applied to Stirling Township Rates (approximately $18 per property per annum).
Project Categorisation for Reporting 2019/20
The Project Categorisation for Reporting 2019/20 report was presented to Council today.
In the past Council has had disjointed systems for budgeting and reporting and no clear, non-time-consuming ability to report in an integrated way Council’s 1) financial, 2) project and 3) non-financial performance progress throughout the year.
Council’s reporting tool will allow integrated and live time financial monitoring and reporting.
It can also provide information about the progress of projects and non-financial reporting measures - all in one place.
It is expected to add value by helping provide information at staff, budget manager and manager levels. It will provide a mechanism to report to Council in a transparent and time-efficient way.
Both capital and organisational projects are classified to one of three categories:
Category A: Are projects that are considered to be complex and have high risk and significance.
Category B: Are projects that tend to be rated as routine and have a medium-high risk and low significance attached with the project.
Category C: Are projects that tend to be classified as simple and have low-medium scoring for risk and significance.
Council confirmed the following Category A projects (2019/20) for regular reporting and monitoring to the Audit & Risk Committee:
• 322 Replacement of bridge - Hina Hina
• Urban Seal Extensions
• Naish Park Centennial Park Project
• Milton Service Centre/Library/Pool Project
• Balclutha Memorial Hall Project
• Balclutha Destination Toilets
• Milton Destination Toilets
• Digitisation Project – Archiving
• Plantation Heights Subdivision
• Rosebank Industrial Park
Councillors were presented with the 2019 Pre-Election Report which has already been published as its statuatory deadline was due by 2 August 2019.
The triennial local government elections will be held on 12 October 2019.
Under the Local Government Act (LGA) 2002, it is the responsibility of the Chief Executive to prepare a Pre-Election Report to inform both the community and prospective candidates.
The aim of this report is to help provide information that promotes public discussion about the issues facing the Clutha District Council, and to make it easier for people to vote for candidates whose priorities align with their own.
The report draws attention to the key issues and major projects currently on the books for the coming triennium.
It reports on financial performance during the past triennium, looks at the coming three year’s financial forecasts, and at the position of the incoming Council.
Overall it is an update on how Council is performing financially, and what it expects to do in the coming three years.
Corporate report presented to Council
Councillors were given an update on how Council’s “high level” projects are progressing.
The Corporate Report replaces the previously named ‘Balanced Score Card Report’ and provides a high-level ‘Projects Results Summary’ with attachments detailing the progress of each project per category and KPI information.
This is the fourth of four reports to Council for the 2018/19 year.
It brings an update about how Council is tracking, particularly in terms of our non-financial targets and overall progress of projects for the year to date.
For the period ending 30 June 2019, the target met was 85%, with 164 out of the 192 projects’ results achieved.
The following contracts were awarded:
Contract 785 – Bridge Repairs 2018/20
This contract for the repairs and renewals on bridges was awarded to Andrew Haulage (2011) Ltd for $2,343,705.00. Andrew Haulage (2011) Ltd has completed similar work for the Council previously and the Council is comfortable they can complete this work.
Contract 799 – Rosebank Sawmill Subdivision – Highway Access
This contract for vehicular access slip lanes into the new industrial subdivision was awarded to The Roading Company for $328,600.00.