Chief Executive, Heather Shotter says the Council’s contingency planning strikes a balance between public health considerations and the need to keep things operating as much as possible.
“We want to retain as much of a sense of normality for people as we can. Providing things like safe drinking water and wastewater services is especially important at this time, from a public health perspective.
“As well as day-to-day operational services, any urgent maintenance and repairs to our water pipes and roads will also be carried out, and rubbish and recycling services will continue as normal. If the situation changes, we would of course provide the public with advance warning of any service interruptions,” says Ms Shotter.
The Council’s water, wastewater, rubbish and recycling teams already have a range of health and safety equipment, and additional protective measures are being investigated and sourced. In the meantime, residents are asked to assist in minimising the risks these critical frontline workers face.
“Please don’t put tissues or wipes into your recycling bins, or toilets. They cannot be recycled, and tissues don’t break down properly in our water pipes, which could cause blockages. Tissues and wipes should be placed in a plastic bag, so they don’t fall out, and then put into a rubbish bin,” says Ms Shotter.
Central Energy Trust Arena and Wildbase Recovery to close, temporarily
CET Arena closes from today, in line with the government’s directions to cancel public gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors. Our staff have been redeployed to other projects at the venue. The Conference and Function Centre remains open for now, but as most events have been cancelled it’s likely the centre will also close in the coming days.
Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery is also closing its doors today. More than 80 per cent of our volunteers have opted out of their roles due to the circumstances. The animals will continue to be looked after, and emergency surgeries will continue.
In line with sector practice Te Manawa is also closed to the public for two weeks from today. This will be reviewed in two weeks.
“We hope to be able to reopen facilities as soon as we are able to, and will provide updates to the community as soon as this is possible,” says Ms Shotter.
Parks, libraries and pools remain open
All of Palmerston North’s libraries remain open, with increased cleaning measures in place.
The Lido, Splashhurst and Freyberg Pools also all remain open.
Our pools have rigorous cleaning schedules, including cleaning changing rooms at least every three hours. Swimming lessons and classes are still on, but if you have concerns get in touch with the facilities as they are happy to suspend enrolments.
Any decision to limit classes or close the facility would be done in partnership with our operators CLM, based on advice from the Ministry of Health about public gatherings.
All of Palmerston North’s parks also remain open.
Major events cancelled, including Anzac Day commemorations and Military Tattoo
The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RNZRSA) yesterday cancelled public events commemorating Anzac Day 2020 due to the Covid-19 situation.
In light of this and government’s recent directives around mass gatherings, all of Palmerston North City Council’s Anzac Day commemorations are also be cancelled. These include events planned at Ashhurst, Bunnythorpe, CBD, Maori Battalion Hall, Linton Camp and any other parades and services within the Palmerston North City Council area.
Ms Shotter says the Military Tattoo scheduled for 4 April is also cancelled.
“We know these cancellations will be a huge disappointment for many, but the wellbeing of our community is our highest priority.
“This also includes taking care of our staff, and a key part of our response planning is ensuring our employees are safe and well. We’ve been sending regular updates to staff to share important information, and are trialling working from home with selected teams to test our technology and capabilities.
“We acknowledge our people who have stepped up during this uncertain time, to ensure we continue to be able to provide excellent service to our community,” says Ms Shotter.
Residents can follow Council updates on this page or on our Facebook page: @PNCity.
Council is operating within the crisis response framework and working with Local Government New Zealand and following Ministry of Health guidelines.