Of books and bins and filling in those forms

By Phoebe Falconer

The move to a single Auckland Council means more than just a new mayor and councillors. Here is how local services will be affected

Pool use, rubbish collections and libraries are some of the services that will have to be adjusted under the new Auckland Council. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Pool use, rubbish collections and libraries are some of the services that will have to be adjusted under the new Auckland Council. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Rubbish collection

All rubbish, recycling and cardboard and paper collections will remain the same, unless otherwise advised.

Residents and businesses should continue to put out their rubbish on the same day.

The use of wheelie bins and rubbish bags in areas where they are now used will continue, but the bins cannot be used in areas where official pre-paid rubbish bags are used.

Pre-paid rubbish bags may be used only in the area they were purchased - you cannot, for example, use your Waitakere rubbish bag on the North Shore. Pre-paid bags sporting the Auckland Council logo will soon be available, but their use will also be area specific.

You can use leftover bags from your previous council, even though they do not have the Auckland Council logo on them.

Inorganic and HazMobile collections will remain the same, and residents will be advised of the next collection date. Changes to collection days because of public holidays will also continue to be advised.

The Auckland region has one council owned recycling and refuse station, in Waitakere. Its rates will be set by the council.

The other 13 refuse transfer stations are owned by landfill companies, and their rates will be set by their owners.

Building, property and consents

Standardised building consent forms are available from the Auckland Council, and the hourly rate for inspectors is $110 - down from $178 in some former councils.

The cost of individual building and resource consents will vary according to the specifics of each project, but simple consents - such as for a residential garage - should be cheaper than they were. Consent application forms that will apply across the region will be available on the aucklandcouncil.govt.nz website.

More than 850 forms are used by the current councils, but that will drop to about 100.

The Auckland Council is to be accredited as a single building control authority by the end of next year, and will hold centralised registers for products and contractors.

Permits for temporary works - such as marquees - will also be standardised. Smaller building works, such as changes to doorways to improve access, replacement of internal walls, and erecting of fences under 2m high will no longer require a consent.

Resource consents will be needed for the same activities as now, but will be standardised within the council.

Types of consent include coastal permits, waste and water discharge, land use and subdivision consents.

Libraries

From November 1, cardholders in the Auckland Council region will be able to borrow and return books, CDs, DVDs or computer games from any of the 60-odd libraries without paying joining fees or getting a new card.

There are no plans to charge for borrowing books, except for bestsellers which will continue to cost t $5 a title.

Costs for borrowing items other than books have been adjusted, and in some cases have dropped.

A DVD that now costs $5 to rent from libraries in Auckland, Franklin, Papakura or Rodney will cost $2 from November 1. CDs will cost $2 and games $5 each, across the region.

Overdue fees for adult books, CDs and DVDs will be set at 50c a day, and bestsellers and games to be charged at $1 a day for late returns.

Overdue children's books will incur no late fee. All new charges are still proposed, and must be approved by existing councils.

The library amalgamation is known as the My Card project.

Public pools

Swimming pool prices are a touchy subject over much of the greater Auckland region - and that is not expected to change with the arrival of the Auckland Council.

Manukau residents are the only ones now with free access to public baths, and those living in other areas of Auckland have just been stung with price increases at the pool gates.

Auckland City made the most of the GST rise to hit pool users with two years of inflation increases as well.

Adults now pay $5.60 for a dip and a child pays $2.70.

Non-swimmers must pay $1.10 to enter the pool grounds.

Waitakere City has raised the price of an adult's swim to $6.50, and a child's to $4.40.

Swim prices are unchanged at North Shore City's Glenfield pool, at $6 for an adult and $4 for a child.

A spokesman for the Auckland Council said there were "no immediate changes" planned for pool pricing, and the new council would need to make any decision on a price change.

Incoming Auckland Council Mayor Len Brown has previously said he would like to see Manukau's free pool policy wheeled out across the whole of Auckland.

Council service centres

There will be four full-service council offices that will deliver all council services and those of some council-controlled organisations.

They will be in Takapuna, Henderson, Manukau and downtown Auckland.

Local service centres - offering the same services as are now available - will be in Orewa, Waiheke, Papakura and Pukekohe.

Additional neighbourhood service centres will be at Warkworth, Huapai, Helensville, Great Barrier and Waiuku, each providing the same services as at present.

Service centres are being planned for other local boards areas, including Orakei, Manurewa, Albert-Eden and the Waitakere Ranges.

Anyone wishing to pay council bills by cheque, credit card and online will be able to do so via existing council methods.

The Auckland Council's customer service department will not come into effect until November 1. Until then, contact your existing council.

Other services

Animal control: Dog licensing and animal control are likely to come under the local boards, which will set licensing fees and rules for keeping animals on private property. Local boards will also set up off-leash exercise areas and areas in which dogs are prohibited, such as beaches during certain hours and seasons.

Noise control: Like its predecessors, the new Auckland Council will be there to pull the plug on noisy parties. The noise complaints process will remain the same after November 1.

Booze bans: Current liquor ban bylaws will remain, but in future will be set by local boards in consultation with the community.

The phone number for Auckland Council will be (09) 301-0101 from November 1. Current council numbers can also be used after then.

Source: Auckland Transition Agency, Auckland Council website

- NZ Herald

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