Mackenzie District Council to assess outdoor and recreation assets

The Mackenzie District Council is commissioning reports and assessments of its assets so it can start to improve them.

CHARLIE O’MANNIN/Stuff

The Mackenzie District Council is commissioning reports and assessments of its assets so it can start to improve them.

The Mackenzie District Council has commissioned numerous reports on the state of its outdoor and recreation assets following a damning report into their condition.

The report, commissioned by council and conducted by Xyst Limited, an international consulting company specialising in local government, listed many areas of concern, including pools, tree maintenance, playgrounds, disused buildings, trails, and the lack of a council asset register.

At a council meeting in Fairlie on Tuesday, Mayor Graham Smith said the report “gave us all a bit of a wakeup call”.

He said “it’s a starting point” and “puts out what we probably needed to know for a long time”.

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Council voted to go to market for consultants to produce reports on the state of council’s parks, trails, playgrounds, and toilets, as the first step to addressing the issues raised in the Xyst report.

A report on the council’s reserve management is also to be commissioned, but the tender was not submitted in time to make the council meeting agenda.

The reports come after council staff said they could not spend a $4.7million fund as they have no record of the outdoor and recreation assets the council owns.

The Peace Avenue trees in Fairlie have an estimated $100,000 worth of deferred maintenance.

CHARLIE O’MANNIN/Stuff

The Peace Avenue trees in Fairlie have an estimated $100,000 worth of deferred maintenance.

The reports the council is currently putting to tender will be paid for out of that fund.

The council also approved $10,000 from their operational reserves for an assessment on the condition of the Fairlie Peace Avenue trees, 500 oak trees that were planted to commemorate the end of World War I.

The peace trees were listed as an area of concern in the Xyst report.

General manager of operations Tim Harty said there is “quite a substantive amount of deferred maintenance in the trees” and the agenda item estimated the cost of the deferred maintenance at $100,000.

Councillor Anne Munro questioned whether the assessment should be extended to the trees in the rest of the district as well as the peace trees.

“Isn’t it more cost effective to do an assessment of the whole jolly lot at the same time?” she asked.

Harty said while the trees in the rest of the district will need to be assessed at some point, the cost would be too high to assess them all at once.

“There are a number of trees where we don’t know even where they are, so we would have to have someone in the district going around for a week or two to do that; that would cost substantially more.’’

The cemeteries across the Mackenzie District are at risk from encroaching pine trees. Pictured is the Fairlie cemetery.

CHARLIE O’MANNIN/Stuff

The cemeteries across the Mackenzie District are at risk from encroaching pine trees. Pictured is the Fairlie cemetery.

Harty said another issue council was looking at was the encroachment of trees, particularly pines, into cemeteries, with “a number” impacting on current and future plots.

Harty said the worst cemeteries affected are at Twizel and Burkes Pass

“But I understand there are issues at most of them.’’

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