July 1 marks the start of Plastic Free July, an international movement highlighting the effects of plastic pollution and challenging people to make a plastic-free pledge.
It's estimated more than 120 million people worldwide took up the Plastic Free challenge last year, and with growing unease over a 'make, take and throw away' culture, it's expected that number will grow in 2019.
Hamilton City Council has partnered with several local businesses, including waste minimisation experts Mainstream Green and various cafés around the city, to encourage the use of reusable and sustainable products.
The council's Compliance Manager, Trent Fowles, says participating in the month-long challenge is a way for people to make achievable changes in their every day lives.
"Single-use plastic has adverse, long-term effects on the environment. It's important we get the message out there about sustainable and reusable alternatives on offer," says Mr Fowles.
"Taking your keep cup to the café, saying no to plastic straws, refilling a reusable water bottle – these all add up to making a substantial difference to the community and our landfills."
"Together with Mainstream Green, we have partnered with more than 10 local cafés – a fantastic selection right across the city.
"There will be a number of giveaways funded through the Council's Waste Minimisation Fund at each of the cafés, including limited edition keep cups, reusable drink bottles and lunchboxes illustrated by local artist Ali Selliman from The Underwater Collective."
July 1 also marks the 12-month countdown to the council's new kerbside waste and recycling service, which will include a 120-litre rubbish wheelie bin, a 240-litre recycling wheelie bin, a 45-litre crate for glass recycling and a 20-30-litre food scrap bin.
Rototuna reaches another milestone
The Rototuna Village reached another milestone with the council approving the project move to pursuing planning consents and undertaking a tender for a potential commercial swimming pool and associated facilities.
The $19.6 million Rototuna development, which will include bookable rooms and library, recreation and water play areas, a skatepark, pedestrian and cycling links, carparks, and a "village heart", will bring long-awaited facilities to the fast-growing northeastern part of the city.
There are going to be further opportunities for the Rototuna community to get involved in the design of the various elements – such as the library/meeting rooms, skatepark and recreation facilities. This is likely to be later this year or early 2020.
The council's community facilities in the Rototuna village are expected to be completed in 2022.
Work starts on new corporate boxes
Work to install a group of new goal-line corporate suites at Hamilton's FMG Stadium Waikato began this week.
The Chiefs Rugby Club has funded the installation and consenting for the addition of eight new goal-line corporate suites at the Tristram St end of the city council ground.
Operations Director for the Council's H3 division, Chad Hooker, says the venture with the Chiefs demonstrates the council and H3 are "open for business" in working alongside commercial entities on projects which benefit the city and its residents.
The new goal-line corporate suites will look directly down the playing field, over the goal line terraces.
"The goal-line corporate suites project has had a number of moving parts and to finally see the project in the final stages of completion is certainly exciting for all those who have been involved," Chiefs CEO Michael Collins says.
The installation will take between six and eight weeks and the footpath at the Tristram St end of the ground will be unavailable, meaning pedestrians will need to detour via the adjacent park.
The Chiefs Rugby Club has the option to install four further corporate boxes at the Tristram St end of the ground in Stage 2 development in the future.
Farewell Mrs B: Only Brazilian tapir in New Zealand dies
Hamilton Zoo has said farewell to Brazilian tapir Mrs Branco, one of the longest and arguably most loved residents.
Mrs Branco, affectionately known as Mrs B, who recently turned 28, became suddenly unwell on Sunday and passed away peacefully surrounded by her zoo family.
Hamilton Zoo Director Perrin Aish says the passing of an animal is always tough for staff, supporters and visitors, but Mrs B's death was deeply felt considering the number of lives she had touched and the special relationship she had developed with the staff.
"Mrs B had a big personality and has been a unique part of Hamilton Zoo since 1992, helping form many fond memories for our children over the years," says Mr Aish.
Mrs B was the only Brazilian tapir in New Zealand. Born in May 1991 at Adelaide Zoo, she was transferred to Hamilton in October the following year.
Her life was spent alongside Mr Branco, her Brazilian Tapir partner. Mr B arrived at Hamilton Zoo from Dubbo Zoo in 1991 and they stayed together until he died in September 2016.
Prostitution Bylaw review
A new public consultation process on Hamilton City Council's Prostitution Bylaw has started.
Consultation on the review was originally held in March and April, but the process was halted in May after an omission was identified in the consultation documents, and in the council's resolution to consult on the bylaw.
To ensure best practice the council reconsidered the item at its meeting of 27 June. The council determined the bylaw is not inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and approved public consultation for one month from 1 July to 1 August on a revised Statement of Proposal.
The bylaw was last reviewed in 2009 and is required to be reviewed every 10 years.
Cycle lane safety improved
HCC Transportation Unit has started work on a project to add broken yellow no-stopping lines to existing cycle lanes around the city in areas where the cycle lane is next to a kerb.
The project also includes adding green 'cycle' lines to further highlight on-road cycle lanes.
The changes aim to make it clearer and safer for people who travel around Hamilton on bikes, and to emphasise to drivers it is illegal to park in these areas.
Adding broken yellow lines to cycle lanes adheres to new NZTA guidelines and the work will be completed in mid-July (weather dependent).
"This is a simple and effective way we can make it safer for people on bikes to get around our city," says Transportation Unit manager Jason Harrison.
"We know there is widespread confusion about parking in cycle lanes. With the addition of the broken yellow lines, there is no ambiguity."
Cycle lanes are classified as Special Vehicle Lanes and parking is prohibited in these lanes under the Hamilton Traffic Bylaw 2015.
"This is about keeping people safe and educating Hamiltonians about a matter that's caused uncertainty and inconsistency in driver behaviour," Mr Harrison says.
Community fund open for applications
HCC's annual Community Event Fund has opened for applications.
The fund makes $50,000 available to non-profit community organisations hosting inclusive, free or low-cost events in Hamilton.
HCC Community and Social Development Manager, Andy Mannering, says the grants fund organisations for the costs associated with hosting events in the community.
"Organisations applying to this fund can use grants to run either a single event, or a series of smaller events.,"
"A key aspect for the grant is the number of people an event is expected to attract – ideally we're looking to fund events drawing crowds of 1000 or more people."
"One thing we're looking for is events which bring people from across Hamilton's community together. Social interaction among our residents is an important ingredient."
Between 12 and 15 events are expected to be supported through the fund, and in the past those have included cultural and ethnic events.
The maximum grant available for an event is $5000, and the funding application round closes on 31 July.
Council's Community Funding staff are available to meet with potential applicants to answer any questions. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of August.
Property Council Merit Award for VOTR
Hamilton's riverside park, Victoria on the River is still gaining accolades, picking up another award 18 months after it was opened.
The terraced amphitheatre style park, on Hamilton's main street, claimed a Merit Award in the Civic and Arts Property Category at the Property Council of New Zealand Property Industry Awards.
Engineering firm AECOM, a key partner in the Victoria on the River project, entered the awards with support from Hamilton City Council which owns and manages the site on behalf of the people of the city.
In their comments, the judges noted Victoria on the River was "a fabulous design, which has been achieved with a relatively small budget and has yielded huge results for the local community, through improved connectivity – both physical and social".