Council services and facilities


The Waihemo Service Centre in Palmerston and Council Offices in Ōamaru have re-opened to the public under Alert Level 2. All protocols for hygiene and safety will be in place including limiting admittance to the building. We suggest people use alternate methods to make payments or access services if they can, to avoid any queues or waiting. Please phone and book an appointment if you need to meet with one of our staff.

Do it online or by phone

A key part of avoiding any interruptions to our services is ensuring our staff stay healthy and able to work. If you can avoid coming in to Council offices please do. If you are unwell,​ stay home. Some of our staff are still working remotely and Customer Service staff are still available​ by phone on 03 433 0300 and email and will be able to help you with your enquiries.

  • Many day-to-day queries can be handled over the phone or via email.
  • Rates payments can be done through your bank account, via direct debit or by card via our website ​
  • Requests for service, animal control requests, noise complaints can be done on the phone, via our website or using the Snap, Send, Solve app.
  • You can pay your parking tickets and re-register your dog online.
  • All our building forms are available to download and print on the website.
  • Updates are available via Facebook​ and this page​.​

Regulatory - Building, Planning and Environment

Site Inspections will continue to operate in accordance with the Construction industry protocols under Alert Level 2. For convenience the links are below:

We ask our Builders, Contractors, Home and Business owners who are involved in building work to prepare their own management plans for site safety under COVID-19. ​

Our other Regulatory services are operating as near normal as possible. If you need to speak to a member of the Regulatory Team please call Council to make an appointment in advance, because our ability to undertake face to face meetings in the Council Office will be very limited.​ 

A risk based approach with respect to physical site visits will be applied and any steps needed to manage health and safety taken.

Water supply, wastewater and stormwater

The Water Team will continue concentrating on safely operating and maintaining our water supply and wastewater facilities and networks under Alert Level 2.

During lockdown we have been Identifying and scoping ‘shovel-ready’ projects for water supply infrastructure for inclusion in a grant application to Government - including the new OWTP reservoir and water network upgrades in the district. The Government’s intention is for these large-scale projects to help stimulate local economies post-lockdown. 

We have prepared a work programme for maintaining and renewing our water and wastewater networks. In addition to making the networks more resilient, this programme of work will help local contractors to get up and running again quickly. We have started our water main renewal programme back up so expect some roadworks.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any water supply issues or spot any water leaks when you’re out for a walk.

Rubbish and Recycling

Due to the move into Alert Level 2, most rubbish and recycling services will be up and running. please be patient with staff, and follow any signage or instructions at these sites. 

The Waitaki Resource Recovery Park (including the Get Sorted shop) will reopen. Due to recycling market challenges, paper can’t be accepted at this time - but cardboard and all other recyclables are good to go. Please visit the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust website for protocols and conditions of using this service under Alert Level 2.​ Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

Waihemo Wastebusters relies on community volunteers, so will be reopening and phasing in kerbside services over the next week or so. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.  

Waste Management’s Ōamaru transfer station will continue to operate, with measures in place to meet Alert Level 2 rules. They’ll confirm the details through their website and other channels.

Council’s rural recovery parks (transfer stations) and Palmerston Landfill will return to normal hours at Alert Level 2 as follows (note Winter opening days have now commenced):

  • Palmerston Landfill - Tues & Sun, 11am-2pm
  • Hampden and Ōmārama - Wed & Sun, 9am-12pm
  • Kurow and Otematata - Wed & Sun, 1pm-4pm

Payment at these sites will be by Eftpos only (no cash) and contactless payment is preferred. The rural recovery parks will now also accept recyclables (except paper - cardboard is fine).

Recycling bins in Herbert, Enfield and Papakaio will be put back over the coming week, so please allow a few days before you take your recycling to these sites. As mentioned above, paper can’t be recycled at this time, but cardboard is okay.


Public toilets

The majority of public toilets will reopen under Alert Level 2. In rural areas some of these will remain at only one accessible cubicle open. These will be cleaned and inspected prior to reopening so only use if all tape and closed signs are removed.

Waitaki Lakes Camping Grounds

Our Camps will open for the purpose of packing down campsites only, not for recreational camping. Waitaki Lakes Camping grounds will open on Thursday 14 May and close on Monday 1 June to allow people plenty of time to make plans to get there and pack down sites over that period.

  • One overnight stay allowed only if needed, unless this is not possible, and then campers are asked to apply to, in writing, for a longer stay period. 
  • Bring your own hand sanitiser and cleaning supplies if possible
  • Sign-in to the register at each kiosk on arrival and on leaving
  • Read the guidance at each noticeboard and on facility doors 
  • Campers are responsible for their own caravans and camp equipment

For updates visit the Waitaki Lakes Camping Facebook page. ​

Parks and reserves, playgrounds, skateparks and drinking fountains

​The majority of these facilities will reopen under Alert Level 2. Inspection, cleaning and unlocking will all need to take place before the public can safely use these again. ​

Public health measures when enjoying play, active recreation or sport still need to be adhered to under Level 2. Our contractors will be inspecting facilities as quickly as possible and removing signs and tape. We expect it may take a couple of days to get around the district. Should any signs or tape remain, please refrain from using until these have been removed. Specific requirements when out and about are:

  • Wash hands frequently. Try to avoid touching high contact areas such as handrails. 
  • Maintain a register of places you visit and people you come in contact with.
  • Maintain social distancing of 2 metres and bubbles of no more than 10 people. Don’t bubble hop.
  • Clean and sanitise equipment before and after use. Do not share equipment.
  • If unwell, stay home.​

Alps 2 Ocean and walking tracks

Trails and tracks are open – keep up social distancing of 2m from those you don’t know. Avoid tracks where this may be difficult. Keep a contact register with you and be aware of common touch points like gate and rails – clean and sanitise before and after touching. 

Public tennis courts

Contact tracing and sanitization must be undertaken by users if using our public courts. Avoid sharing of equipment, clean and sanitize surfaces, equipment and hands before and after use.​

Boat ramps and jetties​

Boat ramps and jetties will all be open under Alert Level 2.


Under Alert Level 2 up to 10 mourners who attend a funeral will be allowed on site for burials, with contact tracing and public health measures being met. Congregations to not exceed two hours. Ash interments are permitted, with public health measures in place and headstones and plaques may be installed – both of these have a maximum attendance of 10 people permitted. Cemeteries will be open for the public to visit, social distancing to be observed.

Waitaki Aquatic Centre

currently closed for our scheduled maintenance programme which was brought forward to coincide with being able to work - with restrictions – under Alert  Level 3. Under Alert Level 2 this work will continue and contractors and our team that are working onsite are making good progress and generally on track in the different areas. At this stage we are expecting to be closed well into June. This includes all activities and programmes - ie swim school & squads. All pre-payments have been automatically frozen for all customers (swim school & squad). Expiry dates on concession cards & memberships have been extended. Check the Waitaki Aquatic Centre Facebook page for updates.​

Waitaki District Libraries

There is a two stage process to libraries reopening at Level 2. Firstly we need to manage the return and quarantining of approximately 6,000 items. Secondly, we need to manage opening safely to the public with limited hours and services to meet Public Health requirements including social distancing, hand hygiene and contact tracing. 

Please note that there will be limitations and restrictions on some of our services, which we cannot list in detail here. Please consult our FAQ link.

  • Ōamaru and Palmerston Library: The bin will now be open all day, in the evenings and weekends.
  • Palmerston Library: The afterhours bin will be open from Thursday May 14 from 9am.
  • If you have books from other branches (Ōmarama, Ōtematata, Kurow and Hampden) do not return them until your branch library is open.

  • Ōamaru Public Library:  From May 21, Monday – Friday 10am-3pm; closed on weekends.
  • Palmerston Library: From May 18,  Monday – Friday 10:30am- 3:30 pm 
  • Hampden Public Library: From May 23, Saturday: 10-12pm; Monday: 2-4pm & Wednesdays: 10-12pm
  • Ōmārama Public Library: From May 23, Saturday: 9-10am & Wednesday: 9-10am
  • Kurow Community Library: From May 25, Monday - Friday: 3.15 - 4pm.  NOTE: the Kurow Community Library will not open on Thursday evenings or on Saturday mornings during Covid Level 2.
  • Otematata: From May 23, Saturday: 10.30am - 12pm; Tuesday: 2.30 -3.30pm; Thursday 2.30 -3.30pm

  1. If you are sick, stay home; don’t return your books even through the after-hours bins;
  2. Check the online catalogue for the items you want before you come in:  - use a list; bring your library card.  Staff will not be handling your personal effects including digital devices and library cards;
  3. Come alone if possible – we will be letting you in as 1 in and 1 out with a limit to the number of people allowed on the premises in relation to the size of our libraries;
  4. Sanitise your hands when you enter;
  5. You will sign a manual register for contact tracing purposes: your privacy will be protected;
  6. Stay 2 metres apart from people outside your bubble – both outside and inside the library – there will be markers for social distancing near kiosks and desks, as well as signage;
  7. Only stay for the time you need to do your transaction – e.g. borrowing items, using the computers, the WiFi etc. Please note, although computers will be available we are restricting their use to essential tasks. 

We are still contactable via phone 03 433 0850, email: There may be some delay in getting back to you but will respond as soon as we can.

Lastly, we know not everyone can access information or services online, so our friendly staff will be able to help you if you contact us.  For example, newspapers cannot be accessed at this time due to contamination risk but if people are wanting death notices we have a solution to assist you.​

Waitaki Museum & Archive Te Whare Taoka ō Waitaki

The Museum & Archive will continue to be closed for public access during May. The Archive will provide phone and online and contactless services during May, reviewing the situation as Alert Level 2 status progresses.

Staff will begin to relocate physically to the Museum at Level 2 but on a staggered basis mixing work from home with work on site so as to stay safe and healthy. Contractors will return to working and installing our new permanent exhibition display at Alert Level 2. Visit our Blogs page for updates on this project and new stories and collections content from our Curators at​.​

Explore the collections online:

Forrester Gallery

Throughout May, Gallery staff will continue to work remotely.

Maintenance upgrades should be completed during May and Gallery staff will start planning to relocate from June. We hope to be presenting new physical exhibitions at the Gallery from Saturday 13 June, 2020.

In the meantime we are creating online content at Forrester Gallery Facebook page and Instagram and at​

​Oamaru Opera House​

Ōamaru Opera House will be closed for now to the general public but is available for venue hire. We can host meetings up to 20 people with full Alert Level 2 procedures in place, including contact tracing. Email Ō to discuss your requirements.

Check the Oamaru Opera House website​ or facebook page for updates and information about ticket refunds.

Waitaki District Health Services

For the latest updates on COVID-19 cases and spread vist the The Ministry of Health current cases page. The Southern District Health Board and Canterbury District Health Board​ websites also have local information on this.

For information from Waitaki District Health Services and Oamaru Hospital, visit the Waitaki Health website.​​​​​​.

If you need non-urgent medical care - phone your GP. If you don’t have a GP there is a duty doctor on each day, phone 03 434 9444, follow the instructions to speak with the doctor on call.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you're worried about your health, you have any symptoms and have been overseas or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. 

While we are working to ensure that we keep things going, you can also play your part in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community by following the Ministry of Health Guidelines which has all the latest information about symptoms and prevention.​

Page reviewed: 22 May 2020 11:30am