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Central sisters secure ice swimming world records
Central sisters secure ice swimming world records

15 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Sisters Sophie (17) and Heidi Winter (15) now have a world record each, which they earned in the 100m individual medley (IM) during the Southern Hemisphere Ice Swimming Championships held at Alexandra Pool, from July 10-13. The siblings, along with their dad, Chris, entered a variety of strokes and distances and enjoyed finishing the event in the south relay team.Sophie said her time of 1 minute 12 seconds in the 100m IM felt good, especially considering in ice swimming there is no dive at the start, no turns and the cold does impact your performance.“I thought it was a good time."It was fun and I enjoyed it. I feel like the cold doesn’t bother me now.“My PB (personal best) in the pool [inside] is 1.08 . . . the previous world record [for an ice swim] was 1.15, so I’m happy, I’m still getting my head around it.”Younger sister Heidi notched up two age group world records (WRs) at the meet, one in the 100m IM and the other in 200m IM. Sophie said it was special to both get WRs at their home pool, where the pair have grown up swimming for Alexandra Swimming Club. Watch ASC swimmers Heidi (lane four, on left) Sophie (lane two) in the 200m IM heat from Friday. Sophie finished first and Heidi second. VIDEO: The Central AppTo prepare, Sophie, Heidi and Chris have been training in the outdoor pool two mornings a week for more than a month. Chris Winter and fellow swimmer Kevin Hopkins prior to a 50m freestyle race. PHOTO: The Central App Sophie said it all started when a friend Julie signed up and suggested they did too.“I said I’d do it, and we wanted to put together a relay team so we got Dad in too.”Sophie said after her longest swim of the ice champs (500m) she was warming up for around 30 minutes in the medical room.“I wouldn't want to do it without having done the training . . . I got chilblains in my fingers, but I was otherwise okay . . . it’s definitely a different branch of swimming, but you feel like you've achieved something.”Event organiser Susan Sherwen said the 195 races held over the four days went smoothly.“Friends for life are created in these challenging conditions where everyone supports each other.”Pictured (from left) are local swimmers at prizegiving Julie, Vicki, Sophie, Chris and Heidi. PHOTO: Supplied The toughest races were the 500m and 1km freestyle, with cold temperatures taking a toll on swimmers in these longer distances. She said it was an incredible achievement for 23 swimmers in the 1km, and 36 who finished the 500m. There were five swimmers in the 1km and two in the 500m who finished their swims early making a “sensible choice” because of the symptoms of hypothermia. Overall, nine more world records were set in the open category as well as Sophie’s.They went to Emilia Finer for 250m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m IM; Laura Quilter for 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m backstroke; Cameron Stanley in 200m IM and Mary Fisher in 200m IM (para WR).Multiple world age group records were also recorded with Cameron Stanley (35 - 39-year-olds) scooping 100m backstroke, and Madeline Hobo (16 - 17-year-olds) the 500m freestyle records.In the distance challenge, Duncan Kukard completed 2.25km in 46 minutes 38 seconds and Susan Sherwen 2.1km in 41 minutes and 9 seconds. They both swam longer than any New Zealand swimmer has previously done in ice swimming. Next year the event returns to St Bathans. Sophie said the lake would be a whole lot different to swimming in the outdoor pool, and it was too early to tell if her family would be entering again. In 2022, Sophie (at age 15) won emerging swimmer of the year in the annual Swimming Otago awards, and last year Heidi (at 14) followed in her sister's footsteps and won the same award.  Read more: Ice swimming an inclusive cultureRead more: New 50m freestyle ice swimming record set in Alexandra Read more: Ice swimming championships return to Alexandra Pool 

Alexandra hits its lowest temperature for season
Alexandra hits its lowest temperature for season

15 July 2024, 5:30 PM

The mercury dipped to -7.2 degrees Celsius at Alexandra Airport yesterday, the coldest for the site so far this season.MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris confirmed that reading was also colder than last year’s lowest recorded temperature for the site, which was -5.1C on June 16.He said a “very large area” of high pressure hovered over New Zealand shores last week, prompting the cold air. A close-up encounter of a tree covered in frost near Springvale Rd over the weekend. Spiderwebs wrapped around a road sign take a hit in the cold conditions.A very realistic word of warning to motorists driving in the icy and foggy conditions.Looking down from the Blacks Hill lookout, near Omakau, fog can be seen blanketing the valley below.Powerlines took a hit along State Highway 85.A clear day in some areas on Monday, provided motorists with a picturesque scene.“This stagnant air tends to cool and pool in the valleys and basins which leads to the cold, foggy conditions around Central Otago. With little to no wind and a very low sun angle the chance of this fog clearing is very slim so the temperature doesn’t really heat up during the day, which means the following morning is likely to be even colder.”He said if there is sufficient moisture and cooling then freezing fog can start to form, which accelerates the occurrence of a hoar frost.Those conditions were experienced across parts of Central at the weekend, including areas between Chatto Creek and Alexandra, while other areas basked in sunshine.Lewis said the highest temperature for the weekend recorded at the Alexandra Airport weather station was 0.7C on Saturday, while Sunday's high struggled to venture past -0.7C.However, the mercury had a lot of work to do to get to that point, due to an overnight low on Saturday of -5.1C and -5.9C on Sunday.There were also unofficial reports of -9C yesterday, including in Omakau.Cold temperatures also played a part in the lower Manorburn Dam freezing over, prompting people to check it out, including local ice skaters. VIDEO: The Golden familyTune into The Outlet podcast on Friday to hear more from Lewis about the current weather patterns being experienced across Central. Check Roads before you head out - Roading Update from Fulton Hogan: CAUTION  Areas out Omakau, Ophir Lane, Poolburn Hill and Ida Valley-Omakau Road have been reported to be very slippery. Crews are out gritting.Also raining in the Maniototo area – Please be careful as temperatures may drop further and cause icy roads.PHOTOS: The Central AppRead more: High pressure brings -6C to parts of Central 

New mentoring initiative strengthens community leaders
New mentoring initiative strengthens community leaders

15 July 2024, 5:15 PM

A new and innovative mentoring initiative across Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes is building on the work already started by Volunteer South.The initiative called huddl has partnered with The Mentoring Foundation of New Zealand to deliver a six month leadership in governance mentoring programme aimed at strengthening leaders within community organisations across the region.The programme is designed to increase effectiveness in community governance by developing capability, connection and confidence among participants. Mentors with strong not-for-profit governance experience will match up with mentees and be supported by programme coordinator Fiona Reeve, who will be leading the initiative.The organisation is governed by members of Alexandra Community House, Central Lakes Trust, Central Otago District Council, Cromwell & Districts Community Trust, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Sport Central, Volunteer South and Whakatipu Hub. “Volunteer South have done an amazing job of delivering the the governance mentoring programme for the last two years and I’m looking forward to continuing to support mentors and mentees in their governance journey with this year’s cohort,” Fiona said.The programme provides ongoing support and advice to help leaders in their personal development.“It’s also a fantastic way to foster connections with other leaders in the sector,” she said.Everything from sports groups to hobby groups as well as new not-for-profit organisations who don’t know where to start, will be involved in the initiative.Fiona used to work for the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce as the membership and development manager and was also involved in running training programmes.Once mentors are signed up, a community needs survey will help gauge exactly what tools and services huddl needs to deliver across the district. Starting in August and running through until April 2025, registrations are now open for individuals who would like to be mentees or mentors. Applicants will then be shortlisted and interviewed, with the final cohort to be confirmed for an orientation at the end of August. For more information or to register contact Fiona Reeve on [email protected]

Increased costs of dog registration in Central explained
Increased costs of dog registration in Central explained

14 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Annual registration costs for a pet dog in Central have increased from $55 to $72, a jump of 31 per cent, causing some dog owners to voice concerns about the rise.The Central App asked Central Otago District Council (CODC) to provide a breakdown of what the increase covers.CODC was unable to provide a breakdown, but did respond with a statement.“The increase is to cover the increase in the cost of the service following increases to overheads charges e.g. insurance. “The service is funded 100 per cent from registration fees. [CODC] does not make any revenue from dog registration fees.“The fees pay for all costs regarding the day-to-day operation of the service, staff (1x support, 1x officer), a vehicle, dog pound, 24/7 service, patrols, enforcement, education.”Compared with Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and Southland, Central residents pay less for both pet and working dogs.In QLDC a pet dog with a positive history and fenced section is $110, a working dog is $55 if it has a positive history and the property is fenced, again Southland has discounts, but a working dog is $40 and pet dog is $110 (before up to a $60 discount).CODC’s fee for working dogs has remained at $12 per dog. Some residents commented on CODCs Facebook that they have never used dog control services and they feel they are paying for services for owners who have inadequately fenced properties, or roaming/barking dogs.   In the 2022/2023 there were 6779 dogs registered in Central (0.22 per cent reduction on the previous year) to 4496 dog owners. CODC received 392 service requests, including 57 owners notifying lost dogs (10.1 per cent increase on the previous year.) In 2022/23 there was a 125 per cent increase in the number of dogs impounded and 18 dogs were either reunited with their owner or re-homed. If residents have difficulty paying the fee by July 31, 2024, email: [email protected] to discuss payment options.Read more: Changes introduced to CODC dog registration system

Tourism Central Otago not part of merge
Tourism Central Otago not part of merge

14 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Tourism Central Otago (TCO) will remain outside of Destination Queenstown (DQ) and Lake Wānaka Tourism's (LWT) new streamlined shared services model according to Central Otago District Council (CODC) spokespeople. A recent media release from DQ and LWT said the shared services model (SSM) will lead to opportunities and efficiencies for both regional tourism organisations (RTOs), while ensuring both destinations retain their RTO and separate brands.The Central App asked CODC if the new SSM meant anything to Central.CODC community vision group manager Dylan Rushbrook said there was a strong willingness between CODC, Queenstown Lakes District Council, TCO, DQ and LWT to work collectively in the areas of tourism and economic development. “There are examples like partnering on research into the ‘Lifetime Value of a Visitor’ where the economic development and tourism teams worked closely together.“[With] the alignment between key strategies this is only likely to occur more in the future. Whether one day that means shared services, is not a question I could answer right now, but I wouldn’t rule it out if that’s what make sense in the future." TCO head of destination Anthony (Antz) Longman said Central Otago’s destination management plan (DMP) is not something that can be transferred to a different region as it is a place based and represents the views and aspirations of our people, and our community.Partnership with neighbouring RTOs is already occurring where it is appropriate to deliver value for our community and businesses and achieve economies of scale, Antz said.  “One of the building blocks in the Central Otago DMP is ‘High Impact Tourism Alliances’ and we currently we have two key projects that do this; the Otago Trails Marketing Group which includes four RTOs (Enterprise Dunedin, Clutha Development, TCO and DQ) alongside the trusts of our Great Rides this project has been nationally recognised twice as a finalist in the NZ Tourism Awards for industry collaboration. “Secondly, we have the Southern Way initiative which is the eight Southern RTO’s and the Southern Airports Alliance (Queenstown/Invercargill/Dunedin) working to promote longer stay, lower impact itineraries across multiple regions.” Antz said while it is a quieter period over winter there are still visitors out and about, enjoying riding and fireside escapes in Central’s country hotels.“There are lots of positives to look forward to with on-going cycle trail developments, new and existing events [such as] the inaugural Lake Dunstan Trail Marathon . . . the Alexandra Blossom Festival, the Cromwell Half Marathon, Clyde Classic, Alexandra Basin Wine New Release, and a ‘Pedal & Pour’ event based at Carrick Winery. “Looking further ahead Highlands has announced that they’re hosting two significant events in the new year; the NZ Grand Prix in February, and their first ever drift car event in March with internationally acclaimed driver Mad Mike Whiddett. “All these events help bring visitors to the region and add vibrancy to our communities and of course opportunities to participate.”With Tourism New Zealand focusing marketing on off-peak visitation and encouraging international visitors in traditional shoulder periods TCO will be looking at how to leverage this activity and encourage visitation across Central. Find out more about tourism in Central on the CODC webpage for Tourism Central Otago.

Perfect conditions for Alexandra ice skating champs
Perfect conditions for Alexandra ice skating champs

14 July 2024, 5:15 PM

An impressive lineup of figure skaters from around Otago and Southland took part in the Alexandra Ice Skating Club championships yesterday morning.More than 40 skaters entered the annual competitions, and for the first time in many years the club also held a demonstration of synchronised skaters.It is also the first year the competition was held under the new roof at Alexandra IceInline - but there was no rain or wind to worry about, with the hoar frost making conditions near perfect for competing. Some of the skaters have been training up to 10 hours a week in preparation for the competition, and the club’s top skater Bridey Sangster (14) has already been named in the New Zealand team following her impressive win at the Clucas Cup in Dunedin in mid-June.The Alexandra skaters range in age from 10 to 30-plus with a strong adult skating contingent also competing this season. The Alexandra Ice Skating Club’s synchronised skating team showed guests their routine. VIDEO: The Central AppClub president Angie Sutherland said the day was a great success, “and the strong entries show there is still a lot of passion and dedication in a precision sport that involves many cold mornings out on the ice with early starts, and a huge commitment from everyone involved.”Coached by Sam Kuri, a total of 16 competitive figure skaters from Alexandra will head to Gore next weekend for the Otago Southland championships, hosted by Ice Sports Southland.Read more: Clyde's Bridey Sangster makes NZ figure skating teamRead more: Meet Alexandra's new figure skating coach

Mayor's column: Doug Jolly's legacy celebrated in Cromwell
Mayor's column: Doug Jolly's legacy celebrated in Cromwell

13 July 2024, 5:30 PM

I had the privilege of enjoying another incredible community event this week with the launch of “Frontline Surgeon”, the biography of Dr Douglas Jolly, which was held in Cromwell on Wednesday night. While the Jolly name is familiar in Central Otago, until recent times the extraordinary life and contribution of Doug Jolly was not. That has now all changed thanks to the years of work put in by author Mark Darby. So, who was Doug Jolly you may well ask? Jolly was born in Cromwell in 1904, was educated at Otago Boys' High School and then the University of Otago Medical School before leaving New Zealand to complete his training and qualification as a surgeon. Just weeks before his final exam, he volunteered to use his skills to assist in the Spanish Civil War where he became a leading battlefield surgeon, something that he continued doing in North Africa and Italy in World War Two. During this time, he was probably the best battlefield surgeon in the war, but more importantly than that, in 1940 he wrote “Field Surgery in Total War”. “Frontline Surgeon”, the biography of Dr Douglas Jolly. PHOTO: SuppliedThis book, calling on his experiences in Spain, totally changed the way battlefield casualties were treated in World War Two and beyond, leading directly to the saving of countless thousands of Allied lives that would otherwise have succumbed to wounds. You may well recall the TV series MASH? What you saw there, bar the use of helicopters, is a direct result of Doug Jolly’s book, as it was the leading text used by US Forces in Korea and on to Vietnam. On Wednesday night, the gathering in Cromwell heard from Alexandra man Graye Shattky who told of how in Vietnam an American medic, using his learnings from Doug Jolly’s book, saved the life of one of his troops. It was incredibly moving to hear this real-life account of the value of Doug Jolly’s work. We also heard from Doug’s step-granddaughter who had come from Canberra to be there for the book launch. She told the story of Doug as the kind, funny man she knew as a child and the incredible story of how she dragged a box of his notes, photos, memoirs and other writings around the world with her, knowing they were important but not knowing how to get them into the light of day. This box proved a vital resource to Mark Darby in writing this book. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mark for saving this story of one of the sons of Central Otago that was almost lost to time. It’s a bloody good read and like so many things, a source of continued gratitude that we live in this place, in these times.

Roxburgh wastewater desludging project complete
Roxburgh wastewater desludging project complete

13 July 2024, 5:15 PM

A five month process of desludging Roxburgh's wastewater ponds is complete, creating a temporary pyramid of geo bags for drying.SiteCare completed the project using a dredge at the two wastewater ponds on behalf of the Central Otago District Council (CODC).Sludge extracted was pumped into geo bags and now, with the project complete, a pyramid of the bags will be left on site for about 12 months, or until they achieve the necessary level of dry solids.Once ready, they will be disposed of.The process of desludging was an important maintenance activity for waste stabilisation ponds because sludge accumulation reduces treatment capacity and can result in an increase in odour transmissions.CODC project support infrastructure Laura McLellan said there was no specific frequency for the process to take place.Geo bags full of sludge taken from Roxburgh's wastewater ponds. PHOTO: Supplied“This varies based on factors such as population, size of pond, survey report information and behaviour of what people are flushing.”She said the community could help reduce the amount of sludge that accumulates by ensuring they only flush the three Ps: pee, poo and paper.“This practice minimises both the quality and quantity of sludge in the ponds. After all, the less that goes in, the less that needs to come out, right?”Laura said although the community would not notice a day-to-day difference now that the work is complete, it was essential to recognise that effective treatment would positively impact overall operational performance.“Without this effort, the consequences could have been significant.”Last year, a screen was also installed at the inlet pipe of the Roxburgh wastewater treatment plant to help filter out objects such as rags, plastics and any other foreign matter that isn’t in the wastewater.“Despite this improvement, it remains crucial for the community to continue adhering to the three Ps rule.”

Ice swimming an inclusive culture
Ice swimming an inclusive culture

12 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Despite the chilly water temperature of 2.3 degrees Celsius the welcome was warm for visitors, swimmers and supporters at the Southern Hemisphere Ice Swimming Championships yesterday.Originally from the United States, but now living in Nelson Robyn Watts said she was loving her visit to Alexandra.She competed in 50m and 100m freestyle races, even though she is a self-taught swimmer.Her trademark was to wear a funky specialty hat, it was a fluffy one on Friday.“I have enough to have a different hat on everyday . . . maybe more.“It’s all about bringing the vibe.”Robyn found ice swimming after suffering with chronic pain from endometriosis.“The cold water immersion brings relief, I do cold plunging and swimming . . . and for me that’s what it is about. It’s also good for my mental health and wellbeing.” Robyn said her mission was to bring awareness to endometriosis and she was happy to spread the word about cold water and how it had helped her.“I do cross fit and I do this . . . it is an inclusive and welcoming bunch of people.”Swimmers getting ready for their 50m breaststroke race were (from left) Maddy Copeland, Julia West and Anna Marshall. PHOTO: The Central App Alexandra Swimming Club head coach Ashleigh Rankin said she would consider giving the event a go next year after spectating this year.Ashleigh said having paralympian and five-time medallist swimmer Mary Fisher attend was inspiring.Mary is legally blind and swam the 200m individual medley and other races during the championships. Watch a 200 individual medley heat from Friday morning here. Swimmers are (from left) Jackson Arlidge, Emilia Finer, Cameron Stanley and Quinn Boyle. VIDEO: The Central AppThe 200m individual medley was a new event this year, in one Friday heat Cameron Stanley (in lane three) came in first and Jackson Arlidge (lane one) second.Event organiser Susan Sherwen thanked the Alexandra Pool staff for their assistance during the event.She set a new personal record of 2.1km long distance ice swim on Wednesday afternoon in the outdoor pool.Today, Saturday, July 13, is the final day of swimming from 10am -1pm. Several local swimmers took part and The Central App will wrap up their ice swimming experience next week once final results are in.  Read more: New 50m ice swimming world record set in Alexandra Read more: Ice swimming championships return to Alexandra Pool

Santana Minerals supporting three Cromwell initiatives
Santana Minerals supporting three Cromwell initiatives

12 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Santana Minerals has established itself in the Cromwell community and has several new joint initiatives underway.Teaming up with the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust this week, the company will help bring the World Gold Panning Championships to Cromwell in 2026.Santana Minerals is also a sponsor of the Light Up Winter event in August, and this season gained naming rights to the Central Otago Football League, by becoming the official sponsor of the competition.The league has been running for 17 years and attracts many migrant workers including from Vanuatu, and the sponsorship will enable games to be live-streamed, so families of Recognised Seasonal Employer workers can watch back home.Santana Central Otago Football League organiser Shane Norton approached chief executive Damian Spring about the company being involved.“What they do is great for Cromwell as is football, and it was a good opportunity for them to get their name out there in a positive light in the community,” Shane said.Damian said his own sons had both played junior football in Queenstown, but he didn’t realise the growth of the Central Otago competition, which now had many teams from Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexandra and right through to Roxburgh, playing in two different divisions.“We’re hoping they can livestream at least one game this season and then fund their own next year with one game a week. There is a fair amount of cost involved with getting the season underway and referees to turn up,” Damian said.Santana is looking to employ more than 200 staff when its Bendigo gold mine gets up and running, and some of those skills from tradies playing in the football league could be transferable into mining jobs.“But there was no direct relationship with that. Our workforce will be from the same geographic area that the football league is based in, and we’ll be looking at putting on a bus service from Alexandra, Wanaka and Queenstown to allow people to get to work. But it’s still in the concept stage.”Damian said the company was definitely ‘Cromwell-centric’ and had approached both the heritage trust and Cromwell Promotions about helping sponsor those events.“There are plenty of funding models available in Central Otago and we're not looking to replace those, but just wanting to have a presence in the community.”It had already set up an office in Chardonnay St in March this year, with six people working both in house and remotely.

OCT funds Kiribati Independence Celebration
OCT funds Kiribati Independence Celebration

12 July 2024, 5:15 PM

Pasifika Central Otago received $1000 to support the Kiribati Community annual Independence Celebration in Otago Community Trust’s (OCT) June grants round. This year is the 45th anniversary of Kiribati's independence, and the local community event includes Kiribati cultural dances, songs, and food. The celebration aims to strengthen cultural bonds, connect New Zealand-born Kiribati children with their heritage, and foster a sense of community among Kiribati members scattered across Central.Pasifika Central Otago spokesperson Meraine Rotaria said the rich culture of the small Pacific island nation Kiribati was brought to life in Cromwell, as celebrations for Kiribati Language Week took place July 11-13.“The funding from Otago Community Trust [contributed] towards a celebration at Bannockburn Hall, where families and friends [came] together to showcase our traditional dance”.OCT announced the distribution of $1,226,281 in grants to various community projects across the region in June.This funding supports a range of initiatives, from cultural celebrations to environmental conservation and sports and recreation.Among others to benefit was Puna Rangatahi, the Alexandra and Districts Youth Trust, which received a $45,000 grant to help with its youth lead services and programmes helping rangatahi to grow and build confidence and positive relationships. OCT also allocated $994,050 to sports organisations as part of its annual regional sports round.Mainland South BMX Association, Central Otago Hockey Association both received $18,000.Other sports supported include netball, rugby, snow sports, volleyball, table tennis, and athletics.Additionally, grants were made to the NZ Special Olympics Lower South Island Snow Sports 2024, which received $5000, and the Merino Muster cross-country skiing event, which received $6000, underlining OCT’s support of diverse sporting activities.Find out about the Ministry for Pacific People’s Kiribati Language Week here.Kiribati is a remote group of islands in the central Pacific with a tropical rainforest climate, vulnerable to the effects of global warming and is reliant on New Zealand, Australia and Japan for aid. To connect with Pasifika Central Otago find them on Facebook.

Extra councillor allocated to Dunstan ward
Extra councillor allocated to Dunstan ward

11 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Otago Regional Councillor Michael Laws is pleased that the latest representation review will see an extra person allocated to the Dunstan ward.With significant growth in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes, the ORC is proposing to reduce the number of Dunedin councillors and add a new one into the district at its next election in October 2025.Cr Laws (Cromwell) along with Gary Kelliher (Alexandra) and Alexa Forbes (Queenstown) currently sit on the Dunstan ward, and the public is invited to make submissions on the new proposal.Every six years councils must review how communities are represented in the make-up of their council. Michael said Dunedin-based councillors and staff have dominated the ORC for many years, and he believed they had no real understanding of the issues in our area.One thing many ratepayers didn’t realise was that they were paying for public transport in Dunedin, and also the proposed new $60 million ORC building, he said.However, more rates come out of the Dunstan ward than in Dunedin because the value of our land and houses was higher, he added. As a result, there was taxation without representation, which was a bit of a grievance here in the ward, he said.“[Think of] all the rabbits you could kill, all the conservation work you could do, all the lagarosiphon.”Cr Laws’ other gripe with the ORC is the plan to ban all wood fires in Central Otago to help our air quality.He said wood fires were “what kept Central Otago alive” during winter and with the exorbitant electricity prices, it was fast becoming the most expensive place to live.Check out this week’s The Outlet podcast to hear more about what he has to say.

Cromwell Community Board airs concern
Cromwell Community Board airs concern

11 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Decisions on major Cromwell projects must still be made using the voice of the Cromwell Community Board (CCB), despite the Central Otago District Council’s plan for districtisation.A submission from CCB chair Anna Harrison, on behalf of the board this week, made it clear that Cromwell board members were not happy about the proposal.All community boards have been asked to make submissions on the proposal to move functions of the council to a district-wide funding model, and away from the current ward-based model.Council said in its report, the effect of the proposal was to bring the management and funding for parks and recreation, cemeteries, community facilities, swimming pools, museums and property in line with other functions already managed district-wide like roading and three waters.  The intention was to make rates equitable across the region, accounting practices more efficient and rates bills more straight forward for the community. The CCB believes these claims of intent have been made with no supporting evidence to back them.“The board is concerned about the speed with which these changes are being implemented and the number of changes being made concurrently. What will this materially mean for the ability for our board to represent the interests of the Cromwell community in a meaningful way when council decisions are being made for functions, services and projects in Cromwell?”The CCB was outspoken several months ago when it accused council of making predetermined decisions about the way that boards would function in the future through the Delegations Register.“The Board considers that future functions, vision and ways of working can only be addressed through clearly defining delegations. Delegations must establish the ways that council will partner with the board and must be explicitly written to ensure strong local voice is included in district wide decision making.”Cromwell Community Board chair Anna Harrison. PHOTO: FileThe submission stated that the board’s voice on major Cromwell projects and the maintenance or changes to any level of service must still be heard with defined and tangible influence.“Big projects like the town centre redevelopment must have a community voice. Recent decisions that effectively removed the board’s voice in the development of the Cromwell town centre project and the loss of the funds that were put aside in the last LTP (Long Term Plan) for this project have already happened, and the discussion at the workshops on continued districtisation appear to indicate that this is an assumed outcome of these changes.” The CCB submits that a ward-based opinion must be included in reports to council for ward-based projects, and the board must receive formal reports so that input can be sought at meetings before the report goes to council for decision. The CCB along with the Cromwell community would like an assurance that representation and local voice will not be diminished as a result of changes to a district funding model and that the very real needs of a town with a rapidly growing and changing population will be given full consideration by council.“It is still unclear what the board stands to lose and hence it follows that the district does not understand what it stands to gain because of these proposed changes.”

Blossom festival grand parade entries open
Blossom festival grand parade entries open

11 July 2024, 5:15 PM

Entries to the 67th Alexandra Blossom Festival grand parade are officially open.As many people hunker down for winter, others are turning their attention to spring and the arrival of the Alexandra Blossom Festival, in particular their float or florrey entry to feature in the grand parade.The committee welcomes groups and clubs to register, and in turn be in the running for some great prizes and incentives. This year a change to entry conditions for floral floats allows smaller entries to be in the running for prize money, with the prize pool for contemporary floats increased. A runner-up prize for educational floats has also been introduced. Not only is the grand parade a cornerstone event of the Alexandra Blossom Festival, but is also a fundraising opportunity for the community. The festival committee will donate $750 to clubs, schools and kindergartens entering a float, with private businesses and others able to choose a charity for the committee to donate to on their behalf - terms and conditions do apply. This is on top of generous support already in place for floats including $500 towards materials to build your float and free crepe paper supplied from Alexandra New World. Entrants also receive free entry into Pioneer Park for Contact’s Saturday in the Park. On a smaller scale, florries, which are a miniature float designed around a New World shopping trolley, are an awesome way to be involved in the Grand Parade when building a full float isn't an option - perfect for families, smaller community groups or children, among others.   This year each florrey entry will be rewarded with a $50 New World voucher and will also be in the running for some great prizes for the top three placings. The committee agreed they had seen some "incredible" designs over the years and can't wait to see what people create this year.Float entry forms can be downloaded at www.blossom.co.nz and florrey entries can be collected from Alexandra New World.Entries close Friday, August 9.

New 50m freestyle ice swimming world record set in Alexandra
New 50m freestyle ice swimming world record set in Alexandra

10 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Gisborne-born Laura Quilter (32) claimed a new world record in the women’s 50m freestyle ice swimming yesterday in Alexandra.She said she had been hunting down the record and was setting her sights on more including the 50m fly later in the day.Watch Laura’s record setting swim here (in black NZL cap). VIDEO: The Central App “I’m pretty happy, I thought I might get there . . . but the adrenaline always makes you go a bit faster."Before now, the women’s 50m freestyle record was held by Ludivine Blanc, of France, with a time of 28.40 seconds set in February this year. Laura’s time was a blistering 27.56 seconds to complete two laps of Alexandra’s outdoor pool.Laura competed for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and holds several masters records. Christchurch swimmers Hannah Drury and Wei Ping Chew were back for a second time at the Southern Hemisphere Ice Swimming Championships, which run until Saturday, July 13. Pictured (from left) Wei Ping Chew and Hannah Drury rugged up after their first swim. When The Central App spoke to them they had made it through their first event, and both had several more individual and team events to look forward to.Hannah said Wednesday’s water temperature of 2.7 degrees Celsius felt a lot colder than the 5C she had more experience of completing ice swims in.Kevin Hopkins, from Mount Maunganui’s Omanu Swim Club, was the oldest competitor at 69 and was building up to the 1km event, competing in shorter distances first. Kevin originally got into ice swimming helping out Te Puke swimmer Quinn Boyle and now he participates in events himself in pursuit of the “good feelings” that come from sports.He said he was targeting completing the 1km swim in 23 minutes. Kevin said his past participation in triathlon and ironman as well as having a rugby background meant he understood what it took to challenge himself. Clyde School students Alice, Rylie (both 7) and Zara Wing (10) were watching the action. New Zealand and Southern Hemisphere Ice Swimming Championships organiser Susan Sherwen was attempting a long-distance record on Wednesday afternoon, aiming to swim 3km and break her record of 2km in 40 minutes 52.85 seconds set at St Bathans last year. For an icy dip of this distance she thought she would be in the water for around an hour.The cold foggy conditions were good for the water temperature needed for the record attempt, but Susan said she would be hoping for a clearer sky to look up at from the pool.  On Friday, July 12, there is a 200m individual medley and New Zealand will be the first country to hold this race as it was recently added to the International Ice Swimming Association events.Swimmers warm up under the watchful eye of support staff with hot drinks and chocolate biscuits.  It’s free for spectators to attend the ice swimming champs at Alexandra Pool, but are urged to bring their gloves, winter coat and hat.Stay tuned to The Central App for news on the rest of the event and local swimmers in the coming days. Read more: Ice swimming championships return to Alexandra Pool

Grant boosts Roxburgh Golf Club refurbishment
Grant boosts Roxburgh Golf Club refurbishment

10 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Roxburgh Golf Club is one step closer to a significant upgrade to its clubhouse thanks to a $6346 grant from the NZ Community Trust.Club secretary Becky Slade said the grant was gratefully received, as the refurbishment project was well overdue, and the funding would help nudge the project forward.“It will go a long way to getting our carpet and curtains, and we’ve got more to do with toilets and painting,” she said.The refurbishment will feature an internal overhaul, with the aim of making it more user friendly for club members, visitors and people who want to use the facility for other functions, including birthdays.Due to the amount of work that needs to be done to the clubhouse, some members prefer to go to a cafe following their games, particularly during winter.Becky said the project has been on the drawing board for a long time and it was hoped the work might be completed in time for the club’s upcoming tournament on August 23 to 24.Further down the track, work was also planned on some outside features, including the men’s toilets.NZ Community Trust has distributed $30,668 in its latest funding round, with the Roxburgh Golf Club being the only group to benefit in Central Otago. It was also the group that received the biggest grant this time round.All other grants were given to groups across other parts of Otago, including Surf Lifesaving NZ, Gymsports NZ and Otago Blind Indoor Bowling Club, among others.

Wetter wet days, drier dry days in NZ as planet heats, study finds
Wetter wet days, drier dry days in NZ as planet heats, study finds

10 July 2024, 5:15 PM

The saying that it "never rains but it pours" will become truer in much of New Zealand as the planet heats, a new study has found.Wet days will be even wetter and the driest group of days even drier across much of New Zealand - even in places where average rainfall over the course of a year is expected to stay about the same.The trend may dry up some of those drizzly days at the edges of summer, which can be crucial for stopping drought, according to the study, published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.The lead author, climate scientist Luke Harrington of Waikato University, said the results showed even places where scientists did not expect much change to average annual rainfall would still see significant changes on a daily basis.That includes much of the North Island.The findings have implications for droughts and floods.Wet days could get 10 percent wetter and the driest group of days 10 percent drier even in places where previous modelling has shown no change to average yearly rainfall.Harrington said the results showed the importance of looking beyond averages to prepare for climate change.The study adds to a growing body of climate projections, which are used by businesses, the government and town planners to plan corporate strategies, housing developments, infrastructure and flood resilience measures.Those projections have already established that wet places such as the South Island's West Coast will get wetter on average with climate change, while some already dry places - like South Canterbury and Central Otago - will get drier on average. The same pattern holds in many places around the globe.The latest research sheds light on those places in the middle, where changes to wet and dry days can cancel each other out in the course of a year.That includes large parts of the middle of the North Island, down to Wairarapa, including many areas where rain is crucial for farming."For a large part of the North Island, you see no average change in annual rainfall, but we've come up with a way of separating out what's happening for the wettest days of the year and the driest days of the year around the country," Harrington said."When you do that, you find that the wettest days of the year are increasing the amount of rain falling within them and the driest days, which include the drizzle days around the edges of the summer . . . are decreasing in their amount of rain, and these two things are cancelling each other out."He said although the changes might cancel each other out in average terms, they have important implications.Wetter wet days mean more chance of flooding.Separate research has found drizzly days can be crucial for preventing or lessening drought - so if days of light drizzle become drier, they will not be as effective at busting droughts.The timing of those heavier rain days also becomes important.In some places with no average annual changes, "we're seeing as much as a threefold increase of really extreme dry years, even relative to today's climate," Harrington said."There are some years where it's shaping up to look quite dry in the future but then you have these supercharged individual wet days, such that the amount of rain which falls in a year looks quite normal by the end of it."But then there are other years where you start out and it's shaping up to be quite dry, but these supercharged wet days don't arrive in that year, and then you do have a really extreme drought."The results were calculated for a planet 3 degrees Celsius hotter than today, but the same pattern (only less severe) would apply at lower temperatures, he said.There were already multiple lines of evidence showing wet days would get wetter in New Zealand, Harrington said.This study reinforced that, and also found "unprecedented" dry years were in store.The drier dry days affected some of country's most prominent farming areas, including the middle of the North Island down to Wairarapa, he said.As a general rule, the authors concluded that even parts of the country where no average change was expected, they could expect around 10 percent more rain on wet days, and dry days to be around 10 percent drier, in a 3C hotter world.Harrington said it took a lot of computing power to study changes at a daily scale, at the level of New Zealand regions.The latest research used a network of volunteers who have offered their home computers to supply the computing power needed to run complex climate models, a project called [email protected] study was published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, and includes authors from NIWA and the University of Canterbury.

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