This week, Aotearoa has moved carefully into Level 3. For those in the Ōpōtiki District, that means Council essential services will continue including water, wastewater and rubbish. It also means Ōpōtiki District Council will be carrying out other important activities including repairs, maintenance and inspections. However, there is still a focus on remote and online services and no face-to-face services until the national alert level is lowered further.
Council’s CEO, Aileen Lawrie, said that council focus was still on essential services and supporting Civil Defence through the COVID-19 response.
“The principles of Level 3 are well-known – it is about still keeping home and safe and in an exclusive bubble if we can. But Ōpōtiki will open up a little more widely to safe-practice-businesses, some education and close-to-home recreation. That means how council will operate will change slightly too.
“Our role in Civil Defence will continue through Level 3 as it has done at Level 4, so many of our staff continue their work in those roles. Thanks again to those staff working (remotely) in the Emergency Operations Centre – you are doing a fantastic job.
“With the move to Level 3, some of our functions are starting to return to more usual operations, particularly field operations where we can make sure hygiene and social distancing measures are in place. We’ll be making sure we wear PPE when we need to and keep social distances with each other and members of the public. So if you see Council staff out and about in the next couple of weeks, we ask that you keep your social distance too,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie also said that at the recent Council meeting, there was also a strong focus on how Ōpōtiki will come through the COVID-19 crisis and building a strong social and economic recovery.
“It has been increasingly clear that our long term planning (Council’s Annual Plan and LTP) provide a clear recovery pathway that will help us ensure the Ōpōtiki District builds a strong and sustainable recovery through the rest of 2020 and even longer.
“We have applied for $66m through central government’s CIP funds and we hope to know the outcomes for that funding soon. However, we also have our own existing large-scale projects including the Harbour build, Te Tahuhu o Te Rangi, and normal seasonal projects including road maintenance which are reflected in our annual plan. It is a good opportunity if people want to provide their thoughts and feedback on the Plan to do so on Facebook or on our website,” Ms Lawrie said.
For any further details, including what Level 3 will mean for individuals and businesses, visit www.covid19.govt.nz. If any households are facing hardship and difficulty with household necessities including food, heating or accommodation, there is a free phone number available through Bay of Plenty Civil Defence 0800 884 222 between 7 am and 7 pm.
Council activities at Level 3
Water, wastewater and stormwater – all functions will continue through Level 3 as they have done at Level 4. However, we continue to reiterate the importance of only flushing toilet paper down the toilet. Wipes, including those labelled ‘flushable’ will block our drains and can cause overflows and loss of service.
Solid waste – kerbside collection will continue through Level 3 as it has through Level 4 – same day, same way. Refuse Recovery Centres are now open and will collect bagged household rubbish (any bag), sorted glass bottles and clean cardboard and paper and greenwaste (Ōpōtiki RRC only). No other waste will be accepted so we encourage people to store other forms of clean and flattened recycling until recycling services around the country resume. Otherwise, it can be included in general rubbish and it will be sent to landfill.
Public toilets and playgrounds remain closed. We’ll be working through a backlog of mowing, maintenance, gardens and so on that were paused during Level 4. Please bear with us as we work through that.
Face-to-face contact at reception, i-Site and the library will also remain closed. Don’t forget many services are available online.
Animal control will be responding to complaints and regular patrolling but please do not leave any animals at the pound.
Regulatory services – licencing, building inspections etc will be able to resume with strong health and safety practices in place. If you already have a process underway, talk to the building control team about not paying for your consent until you are ready to build to save some uncertainty about timeframes during COVID-19.
For details and the latest updates in case national advice on working at Alert Level 3 has changed, you can visit the Council website www.odc.govt.nz.