Councils move to protect communities from COVID-19
Published on 22 March 2020
Horowhenua District Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council are joining other councils around the country in closing its community centres and swimming pools following the government’s announcement that New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.
Closures in Horowhenua will affect Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō in Levin, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom in Foxton, the Shannon Library, Levin Aquatic Centre, and the Foxton Heated Pools.
Mayors Bernie Wanden and K Gurunathan reassured customers and the community that the two councils are taking a sensible and vigilant approach to the evolving situation regarding COVID-19.
“Our priority is the health and safety of our community. More than 25% of our district’s population is aged over 65, and it’s important that we play our part in limiting the potential spread of COVID-19. While we regret the need to close our pools and community facilities, we’re confident that our community will understand and support our decision,” Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden said.
“We’re continuing to take guidance from the Ministry of Health on all decision making around COVID-19, and we’re connecting with relevant agencies and authorities at a regional level.”
Horowhenua District Council will reassess the closure of its community centres and the Levin Aquatic Centre in two weeks. However, Foxton Pool, which is near the end of its open season, will not open again until spring.
In addition to closing community centres and swimming pools, Horowhenua District Council has put a number of measures in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure essential public services continue:
Council’s Main Office (126 Oxford Street, Levin)
Council’s service centre at 126 Oxford Street in Levin remains open.
We’ve made hand-sanitiser available in public areas and increased our cleaning of high-use touch devices and surfaces.
We’ve asked staff to observe ‘social distancing’ in their interactions and to maintain high levels of personal hand cleanliness. Officers will also be avoiding all unnecessary contact, so please do not be offended if they do not shake your hand or hongi.
We have numerous services available online and are working to expand these services as quickly as possible, so please check our website prior to attending our offices in person. Alternatively, you can always email, text or phone.
Please do not visit our premises if you are unwell, have recently arrived in New Zealand from any other country, have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or been asked to self-isolate.
Other than the closure of community centres and swimming pools, Council services are continuing as normal. However, we are asking the public to assist our officers by practising social distancing – that is observing a one metre distance between yourself and other people.
Internally, we have been assessing our business continuity plans and have tested our IT systems, with key officers working from home to ensure our technology had the capacity. Officers have been encouraged to reduce travel and shift to virtual or phone meetings where possible.
Officers will also be avoiding all unnecessary contact, so please do not be offended if they do not shake your hand or hongi.
Protecting the health of our officers is our priority, so please do not be offended if we ask you questions about your health.
Off-site Library Services
Loan periods have been extended on all Libraries Horowhenua books, magazines, DVDs and jigsaws, and we are asking people to keep any items they currently have on loan at home. Any items returned late due to the closure of community centres will have any fines forgiven.
Libraries Horowhenua is also offering its Homelink book delivery service to anyone who would like to receive library services from home. Details and the application form are available on the Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō website at www.tetakere.org.nz/Your-Library/Library-Services/Homelink
People who are not already library members can sign up for e-membership, giving them online access to all Libraries Horowhenua e-books, e-audio, Kete Horowhenua, databases, and over 6,000 international newspapers through Press Reader.
In line with Ministry of Health Guidelines and the Government’s direction, Council has cancelled all events with expected attendance of over 500 people, as well as programmes and activities where more than 100 people would gather indoors.
Most notable are the cancellations of the Kai, Culture and Colours Fiesta which was due to be held on the Village Green, Gladys Taylor Park, Levin on Sunday 4 April and the eight ANZAC Commemoration events due to be held across the district. The Citizenship Ceremony on 27 March has also been cancelled on the advice of the Department of Internal Affairs, and you should contact DIA if you are impacted by this cancellation.
We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, and to take advice from the Ministry of Health. We will keep information on our websites up to date as we continue to receive guidance.