Held in the Ruma Mārama, Floor 2A, Civic House, 110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson
On Tuesday 11 September 2018, commencing at 3.01p.m.
Present: Chairperson J Murray, Her Worship the Mayor R Reese, Group Manager Infrastructure Mr A Louverdis and Independent Forestry Expert Mr P Gorman
In Attendance: Councillor I Barker, LandVision Director (L Grant), PF Olsen representatives (G Brown, D Fincham and J Visscher), Accountant (A Bishop), Environmental Programmes Adviser (L Marshall) and Governance Adviser (E Stephenson)
Apologies: Councillor L Acland
An apology was tendered by Councillor Acland at 12.07p.m. The motion to receive and accept the apology was not moved and seconded. Group Manager Infrastructure, Mr A Louverdis, noted Ian Nuke’s (PF Olsen) apology.
There was no change to the order of business
There were no updates to the Interests Register, and no interests with items on the agenda were declared.
There was no public forum.
5.1 12 June 2018
Document number M3548, agenda pages 5 - 9 refer.
That the Forestry Advisory Group
Confirms the minutes of the meeting of the Forestry Advisory Group, held on 12 June 2018, as a true and correct record.
6. Chairperson's Report
Discussion took place regarding an 11 September 2018 media report. Group Manager Works and Infrastructure, Alec Louverdis, advised that questions from the Nelson Mail had been received on 28 August 2018, and that officers had been trying to ascertain from the media the exact block they were referring to. There was some considerable confusion as to the picture used in the media article and reference to various blocks. Mr Louverdis apologised to the Chairperson for not alerting him about the media enquiry.
Mr Louverdis noted that the Maitai Block 9.01 (Douglas Fir) had been part-harvested, with the remaining trees to be poisoned and replanted with Radiata. He advised that the Flax Gully block had been investigated by a member of Council’s EIL team and PF Olsen, and that the results of the investigation had been received by Mr Louverdis on 11 September. The investigating officer concluded that there were no breaches of any rule that would have had effect on the 2017 harvesting, that there had been no evidence of vehicles in, or damage to, the wetland known as Flax Gully and that the block had been left to the standard expected in a post-harvesting operation. This was consistent with what Council would have expected from PF Olsen, who employed best practice. Mr Louverdis reiterated that the harvest was pre National Environmental Standards (NES) and that the relevant practices at the time had been adhered to. This was confirmed by PF Olsen, Peter Gorman and Lachie Grant.
It was noted that PF Olsen had made no media comment on the article and that this was consistent with Council policy. Her Worship the Mayor noted that this was perceived as PF Olsen trying to hide something. Mr Louverdis said that he would be working with Council’s Communications Team and Group Manager Environmental Management, Clare Barton to draft a response to the article. He would include the Chairperson.
PF Olsen noted that the river was close but that the slash was on flat ground and anything caught up in that gully would be benched in and would not reach the river. The allegation in the newspaper article claimed that the slash would go into the river after heavy rainfall and cause problems was not correct. It was confirmed by Peter Gorman, Lachie Grant and PF Olsen’s Johan Visscher that the risk of this was low to negligible.
It was confirmed that the operation met all of the conditions required under pre-NES regulations and complied with best practice. PF Olsen did note that if the work had been undertaken under the current NES that the work would be considered marginally out of specification. The NES had come into effect in May 2018 and under that legislation the slash would be required to be stable. The NES was not retrospective. Further discussion included:
· public perception
· Council was administering the NES and needed to lead from the front
· media protocol – the Chairperson should be made aware of issues in the media
· nothing in the article was an expert opinion, it was misleading and contained poor information
· a response portraying the real situation was required, to include:
o harvest aspirations
o clarification that all operations were undertaken in accord with environmental practice
o the risk was negligible to low
o PF Olsen was committed to working to standards.
· visually objectionable was difficult to define
· if Council wanted PF Olsen to make the site as per NES requirements now, there would be a cost of approximately $35,000 to get a digger up to that site as access was difficult and removing the culvert would be a less expensive option
· the slash could remain as it was under the old regime
· it was not possible to totally stop all slash mobilisation
· the focus should be on areas of significant concern
· PF Olsen completed risk analyses on its sites
· exposure to a weather bomb at the wrong time could mobilise any slash, however, it was not possible in that area for slash to mobilise into the reservoir
· there had been several notable weather events post-harvest and nothing had moved
· Council’s risk appetite was something to think about in the future
· Community education regarding the NES should be undertaken.
Document number R9451, agenda pages 10 - 94 refer.
Douglas Fir and Acacia Harvesting and Poisoning
Mr Dave Fincham of PF Olsen noted that whilst it was agreed by the FAG that the remaining 3ha of the Maitai stand (9.01) would be poisoned, that, if this approach was taken, that the rest of the block could not be replanted with Radiata for four years.
Discussion took place on the options for the remaining 3ha, which were:
● poison and replant with natives; or
● leave standing and harvest when ready; or
● line rake, at an estimated cost of $20,000 which might be visually objectionable.
It was suggested that the most economic option to achieve a long-term environmental outcome was to leave the trees standing, with harvesting to be reviewed in 2022 and that the remaining block be replanted with Radiata.
Brook Waimarama Sanctuary – It was noted that goat and deer control in Maitai/Roding areas would commence next week, and that some tracks would be closed to reduce the risk to the public. Signage advising of the two-week closure had been erected at most of the tracks. Felling could not be undertaken during this period as PF Olsen was required to provide notice prior to an operation.
Tantragee Block – PF Olsen reported back on the geotechnical investigations, which did not support the option previously suggested by PF Olsen to remove the trees and approved by the FAG. It was accepted that the existing trees still posed a risk to the residents and that an alternative plan was required. It was noted that the revised cost would be significant.
· It was agreed that a new plan was required
· It was noted that 12 houses were affected and that during removal, the residents could not be in the homes
· Consultation with the residents was essential and that legal advice was needed to consider what would happen if residents did not agree to vacate their houses
· The Chairperson was prepared to convene a Forestry Advisory Group (FAG) meeting with urgency to consider the plan to progress the matter.
Health and Safety
A driver error incident had occurred on 8 August 2018 at the Roding catchment and there had been health and safety learnings. The incident had been managed well with no further incident.
It was clarified that the valuation of $4.399 million was looking forward, not back, and that it had actually gone up in value significantly. This was because trees had grown and cash flows were a year closer. Harvest management costs were lower than projected.
Five Year Harvesting Plans
There was no change to the five yearly harvesting plans. Councillor Noonan’s question and Mr Louverdis’s answer relating to the Marsden Valley Cemetery Block response was noted.
The agenda report showed what had been approved last time and it was noted that, Lachie Grant and PF Olsen were working together to ensure blocks were not left bare.
Brook Block (21/04)
It was noted that all alternate use replanting would be project managed by LandVision (and coordinated with PF Olsen harvesting to ensure continuity of works) before being handed over to Parks and Reserves to manage. The FAG concurred that this was the prudent approach.
$1 Billion Tree Fund
Lachie Grant advised that he had been in discussion with Ngati Koata, and that, although they own their land, they had no rights and did not own the trees (they were Crown Forest Licence). LandVision (on behalf of Council) would however submit an application to the $1 Billion Tree Fund and that he would work with Council’s Leigh Marshall.
The Catalyst Report
PF Olsen indicated that enforcing the Catalyst Report setbacks in the recently harvested blocks in the Roding and Maitai catchment, would mean that around 16ha of harvestable forest would be lost. T
It was agreed to allow Peter Gorman, Lachie Grant and PF Olsen to jointly agree on appropriate setbacks on-site to achieve the intended principles in the Catalyst Report.
Forestry Stewardship Council Accreditation (FSC)
Attendance: Peter Gorman left the meeting at 4.55p.m.
It was confirmed that consultation needed to be undertaken as part of the accreditation process and this matter would be brought back to the next meeting.
It was noted that resource consents may impose conditions that incur substantial additional costs on harvesting, such as bridges over rivers/streams, that could be up to $150,000
In response to questions, Accountant, Andrew Bishop, confirmed that:
· the NRSBU owned the forests on Bell Island and paid all the costs
· The forestry account was a closed account and did not go into the general rate.
That the Forestry Advisory Group
Receives the report Forestry Update - Number 5 - September 2018 (R9451) and its attachments (A2027143, A2039914, A2023324, A2027255, A2023151, A2040702); and
Notes the regeneration costs associated with Brook block 21.04 estimated at $96,000; and
Approves the setback replanting plan and associated costs (A2040702 of report R9451) for the Maitai and Roding blocks already harvested; and
Agrees that the three hectares of Maitai Block 9.01 remain until harvesting is economical, to be reviewed in 2022; and
Agrees that setbacks for harvested blocks be approved jointly by Peter Gorman, PF Olsen and Landvision at the appropriate time, with decisions consistent with the intended principles in the Catalyst Report.
There being no further business the meeting ended at 5.12p.m.
Confirmed as a correct record of proceedings: