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Safe Fieldwork Activities Stepped Up Under Alert Level 3

Waikato Regional Council is stepping up its fieldwork activities under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, including resuming pest animal and plant control and full flood protection and land drainage work.

“Like so many others in our community, our field staff and contractors have been keenly waiting for restrictions to be raised enabling them to get stuck into their work again,” said Waikato Regional Council chief executive Vaughan Payne.

“It’s not a return to normal. Our offices will remain closed, the majority of our staff who can work from home will continue to do so, and meetings and interactions with each other, stakeholders and customers will continue to be virtual.

“But we’ve closely examined the government’s Alert Level 3 guidelines and identified fieldwork in particular that can safely resume,” he said.

“Just as it is for other businesses though, there are of course some restrictions to what we can do as part of our commitment to the safety of staff, contractors and the wider community,” Mr Payne said.

Many aspects of the council’s pest control programme, such as the surveillance and eradication of alligator weed, yellow flag iris, old man’s beard, climbing spindle berry and wilding pines, will resume. Animal pest programmes will also restart.

Flood protection and land drainage assets continued to be inspected, checked and maintained under Alert Level 4 to ensure they met the level of service promised to keep communities safe. With the shift to Alert Level 3, this work will shift up a notch.

Bus services increase from today, but numbers on board will be restricted to ensure the government’s physical distancing requirements are being met.

To protect staff and our community from the threat of COVID-19, Mr Payne said there are a number of safe operating procedures in place under Alert Level 3 which include:

  • recording who is working together and all physical interactions with other people to enable contact tracing, if needed
  • limiting interaction between groups of workers
  • following good hygiene practices
  • maintaining physical distancing.

Essential services already being carried out under Alert Level 4 will continue:

  • natural hazard event monitoring, response and recovery (including 24/7 flood monitoring programme)
  • incident/pollution response including related enforcement
  • compliance monitoring programmes for high risk activities as they relate to human health
  • environmental monitoring, including sampling and analysing water quality for safe human activities
  • ensuring maritime navigational safety
  • civil defence and emergency management.

Teams from across the council, including in IT, spatial information, communications and digital, customer service, human resources, finance, property and facilities, are all supporting these services.

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