Hibiscus Matters Letters - March 2017

By: Blogger

Fair go
Bruce Walling, Stanmore Bay. Published March 15, 2017

We may dislike (or maybe even like) what Donald Trump is doing. But at least we know. Our two councillors were re-elected what seems ages ago, but I for one don’t seem to have heard much about what they are doing on our behalf. I would dearly like to know, especially if they have had some success in championing our best interests. I maintain that a whole host of matters north of the Harbour Bridge are not getting their fair share of attention – roading, footpaths, transport, reserves, playing fields, basic infrastructure, etc. The list is endless. Just ask any ratepayer or look at letters to our local newspaper editors to see the dissatisfaction in our region. We still pay for our household rubbish collection, after all these years, with no end in sight. Other regions get it collected as part of their rates services. We just do not seem to exist in Council’s big picture. There continues to be post the new mayor’s election, various declarations of what the “Super” City Council is going to do. But predominately all major spending proposals are either in the central city or south of the Bridge. Even the Bridge is at the end of its intended life and yet still no plan for a second harbour crossing. And then there was the $500k spent on a new logo. C’mon guys, please let us know what you have championed, or are trying to champion, for us poor, neglected, overlooked, Super City Cash Cow ratepayers living north of the Bridge. The more we know, the better we can support you.
 
Fight goes on
Michelle Downey, Tindalls Bay (abridged). Published March 15, 2017

In response to a letter from a Silverdale resident regarding Penlink (HM March 1). Having lived at Tindalls for 25 years and working in Dairy Flat I certainly would like to see the fight for Penlink continue. Full marks to those who have battled for years to try and bring this alternative to residents at Whangaparaoa. Divert business! I don’t think so. The last thing I would want to do is head for Albany Mall when I’m not working. Silverdale is quite adequate for a lot of residents with more shops coming. If I had to go to Albany, the city or the Airport then Penlink would be preferable.  The fatal accident the Silverdale side of Viponds created gridlock and an alternative exit from the Peninsula is a must.
 
Perfect match
Robbie Harris, Hatfields Beach. Published March 15, 2017

Pleased to see that the petanque people have found a new home with the bowling club. Seems like a match made in heaven (or at least with the blessing of Auckland Council!) I struggle with the idea there were any real safety issues on Stanmore Bay reserve though. Whoever issues these edicts really needs to grow a pair.
 
Safety over top
Mary Cooper, Stanmore Bay. Published March 15, 2017

If anyone needed proof that health and safety has, like political correctness, gone right over the top, there is the news in this paper that petanque has been pinged (HM March 1). Petanque is a gentle, fun sport but what health and safety issues could there be? The problem seems to be a number of people standing around. It’s a reserve folks. Get over it. And leave the petanque players alone.
 
Free not easy
Earl Wilson, Army Bay. Published March 15, 2017

It’s always a difficult one to restrict freedom but in the case of camping, over the busy summer months, you can see why this may be necessary (HM March 1). I think the local board’s approach of allowing freedom camping, but within limits, is fair. Anyone who has camped free of charge knows it can be wonderfully liberating but the sense of responsibility for the environment and for other users of any area should be part of the package.
 
Weekend ferries
John Taylor, Manly. Published March 15, 2017

Thank you Caitlin Watson (HM March 1). I like hundreds of others, support your call for Weekend Ferry services. Auckland Transport’s Ellen Barrett is far off line. Like everything on this Coast, it is pushed into the too hard basket. If it was left to Auckland Transport the hugely successful Gulf Harbour Ferry Service would not exist (nine services each way per day). Test the water if you like, say three sailings each way for six months. Initially the Fairway Bay people may subsidise such a service. Stop procrastinating!
 
Good vibrations?
Owen Hoskin, Orewa. Published March 15, 2017

On a quiet night and during still moments in the day, a constant, low throbbing noise with vibration can be heard and felt across Orewa. I know of others who also attest to this annoying phenomenon. Does anyone know the source of the irritation? I’m certain that the vibrations are not the ones that the Beach Boys eulogised in the early 1960s!

Editor’s note: Anyone who has noticed this is welcome to contact the Hibiscus Matters office.
 
Seachange opposed
Rex Beer, Whangaparaoa (abridged). Published March 1, 2017

The recent piece on Seachange (HM February 15) gives one side of this issue. I have written the following, to show how it ignores the traditional rights of the  recreational fishing community. I love the sea, and fishing. Judging by the huge number of boats around here, there must be many others who feel the same. But, our fishing is under threat by Seachange. Seachange is a group set up by environmentalists and Maori to come up with a plan for the future of the Hauraki Gulf. Token representation was invited from other interested parties (recreational and commercial; fishing, acquaculuture, farming). After a lot of disagreement, a proposed Spatial Plan was released. It is a shocker. Details of the Spatial Plan are at seachange.org.nz – but it’s hard to find the “wood for the trees”. Possible Marine Protected Areas are no-take reserves. Two options are given but there are no reasons given for this. It also shows a possible “co-management” area (called Ahu Moana) along the whole coastline. This is not a joke – the whole coastline! Recreational fishing has been almost totally ignored. Amongst hundreds of thousands of words, recreational fishing has about 200. The rights and aspirations of the 220,000 people in greater Auckland who like fishing are submerged under a huge torrent of gobbldegook. Seachange proposes to introduce new Marine Reserves that would prohibit fishing (except for Maori cultural purposes). What’s more – they could be in prime traditional in-shore recreational fishing places including Tiritiri Matangi, the north side of Rangitoto/Motutapu and coastal islands south of Kawau. Prime places, because of their islands and shorelines, providing fish attracting structure and shelter. One proposed Tiri reserve would cover about 3000ha, everything basically; including all the shores of the island, half of Tiri channel, and out past Shag rock and as far as Shearers rock. Another negative aspect is that in addition to five existing marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf, totalling 3088ha , there is a huge Marine reserve, the Cable Zone. This is an area of approximately 37,500ha, in which fishing is prohibited. This area is 12 times the size of the total of all the other reserves. It effectively removes an enormous part of the Hauraki Gulf from fishing. The second proposal that is objectionable is for “co-management rights” over the whole seashore out to 1km from the coast. Co-management with local communities – means, in practise, Maori control. Do you want to fish off the rocks, think again? Do you want to launch the boat over the beach, maybe not? It’s a grab for the whole coastline. The recreational fishing community needs to fight this. Don’t let it happen - stand up and make it clear our traditional fishing places are sacrosanct. For more see www.facebook.com/StopSeachange
 
Dangerous laning
Beverley McLeod, Red Beach. Published March 1, 2017

Surprised to read Paul Parker’s comments in the February 15 Hibiscus Matters supporting the proposed ‘Trial Dynamic Laning’ of Whangaparaoa Rd. The choke point causing the Whangaparaoa traffic to queue back 5km, and often beyond Viponds Road, is the single-lane-entry into Hibiscus Coast Highway, between the light phases which prioritise access for either two lanes of Orewa or Millwater traffic. The $2million Dynamic Laning will not ease the choke point, nor divert traffic. Perhaps changing light phases to share the 5km traffic queues until completion of Penlink may encourage Millwater and Orewa traffic towards other motorway options. As the Highway is incapable of absorbing Whangaparaoa’s peak time traffic, diverting such ‘spare’ funds towards Penlink’s second route off the Peninsula, to permanently fix these growing traffic queues is now a necessity. For two hours daily we observe the polluting peak time morning traffic, idling or slow moving along Whangaparaoa Road, because of entry denied into the ‘at capacity Highway’. For cars waiting for entry, the Dynamic Laning will create a car park in the present ‘safety centre lane’ and create a dangerous, frustrating ‘trial’ for both the emergency services and local residents. Thankfully Janet Fitzgerald’s team is working on long term Penlink solutions to fix the Highway’s, and Whangaparaoa’s, traffic woes.
 
Playground plans
Suzie Gordon, Stanmore Bay (abridged). Published March 1, 2017

People are looking forward to the planned community centre and playground next to the new apartments in Link Drive. That was the initial plan. I have not heard mention of it lately and was wondering if it is still planned. Children need a safe playground nearby and a covered in play area for in winter. Younger children need different climbing frames, compared to older children. I was impressed with some of the new playground ideas such as a big climbing frame at Takapuna Beach for older children, a water play area for younger children, with sand and water running down a hollow log, artificial grass or bark under play equipment, established trees or a sail sunshade over seating areas. There isn’t a playground near the Whangaparaoa shopping centre, although the shopping centre has been established for many years and there are many children growing up in the surrounding area. People have asked me, “Where is the Community Centre?”

McConnell Property general manager Nigel Richards responds: “The playground component to our broader development has always been a focal point for the Local Board and Council generally as key stakeholders. Council’s approval of the Boffa Miskell design was an important milestone for us and the community at large.”
Editor’s note: A playground is also one option being considered for the upgrade that will take place outside Whangaparaoa Library, opposite the Plaza. Also, see the story p13 re the Family Centre that now has issues with the Link Crescent site.
 
Missing the point
Bryce Pearce, Orewa. Published March 1, 2017

In the Feb 15 issue, Janet Fitzgerald says that Silverdale business is being hampered by no Penlink. How this can be leaves me confused, as Penlink goes nowhere near to connecting anything to Silverdale. The long proposed traffic lights at Silverdale Street would do more to link business or alternatively, a bridge along Hibiscus Coast Highway over Silverdale Street so we could once again link the Silverdale Town Centre to the Silverdale Industrial area.
This continued focus on Penlink alone (as it seems) misses the point that Hibiscus and Bays Local Board also covers the rapidly growing Millwater and Orewa areas.
 
Close call
Lesley Davies, Arkles Bay. Published March 1, 2017

Last Friday, February 17, I was nearly taken out by a truck on Wade River Road. On a nasty bend the truck was fair speeding down the middle of the road. I had a split second to drive up onto the kerb and grassy verge as there were no signs of the truck either slowing down or moving over. I had written to Auckland Transport months ago advising them of how dangerous this road now was with all the new housing and their reply was “there’s never been a fatality so it’s not a problem”. Well there nearly was a fatality last Friday. Does someone have to die to prompt Auckland Transport into making the roads safer due to the many extra cars that are moving into the area with all the new houses?
Lesley Davies, Arkles Bay
 
Desperate for Penlink
Alec Mills, Silverdale. Published March 1, 2017

I’m amazed to see how the fight still goes on for Penlink (HM February 15). Yes, the traffic is terrible but I still fail to see how Penlink helps anyone apart from those who live on a certain part of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. By diverting traffic, it also diverts business. Once it’s built, it will be a big plus for Albany Mall, rather than the retailers of Silverdale. Recently I saw on Facebook that they’re offering free wine for photos of congestion. Smacks of desperation.
 
Art work stolen
Lorraine Sampson, Silverdale. Published March 1, 2017

Recently, the ladies toilet in Silverdale Village was updated. Paint was donated by Dulux and  painting work was done by volunteers. To complete the work, a notice board was provided plus a table for ladies to put their handbags on, while washing their hands. As well two art works were donated for the walls. Sadly these two works have been stolen. It is disappointing that people who lack morals can undo the good work of those who are trying to make a public facility look nice. It would be nice to have these art works returned.
 
Plan impacts wildlife
Philip Wrigley, Red Beach. Published March 1, 2017

The large subdivision proposed for the open countryside west of the motorway (‘Upper Orewa’) – HM February 15 – poses a huge danger to the neighbouring Nukumea Scenic Reserve. The problem is that about half the households will in all likelihood have a cat. The present domestic cat population is nil, but several hundred could be moving in, based on the size of the development proposed. That would be tragic as the Nukumea Reserve is currently isolated from urbanised areas and has a formidable barrier to stray cats in the form of the motorway. The developer proposes no restrictions on pet ownership. Submissions on the proposal have now closed and its fate will depend on a legal process. However, it does not comply with the Unitary Plan, which forsees low intensity development in this area – it is outside the Metropolitan Urban Limit. I do hope that the aspiration of Aucklanders to care for their environment are reflected in the decisions made. The fate of the wildlife in the west Orewa forests hangs upon them.
 
Thanks tank owners
Catarina Militia, Gulf Harbour. Published March 1, 2017

I was waiting for a water delivery when the local standpipe was shut down in January with no notification. Drivers had to waste time and fuel travelling further and waiting for water. These extra costs will have to be recovered if this continues. I found the Watercare answer that ‘water was a priority for connected mains customers’ arrogant and ridiculous. Tank owners take the pressure off the mains system by collecting our own water and only needing occasional top ups. We should be commended, not penalized. In a recent Aussie drought there was a Government tank subsidy given to encourage more water collection, especially city residents who previously had to take out their tanks and connect to town water. So I suggest we get treated fairly.
 
Bring back gifts
Geoff Hansen, Hatfields Beach (abridged). Published March 1, 2017
Being retired, I sometimes walk the street with my grandson and it is like a ghost town. This is because it is populated mostly with young working people, busy and diligent, paying the modern and often outrageous mortgage, travelling, sometimes at walking pace, to get to jobs away from home. With this busy lifestyle the community has lost a tradition that I hope can be resurrected, revived and extended for our own sakes, and to show we are aware of and appreciate the people who clean up after us while we are at work. It used to be a tradition that we left a little gift (a bottle of beer or small box of chocolates) at Christmas time, for the rubbish collector and mailman, just to show that we are aware and that a community lives in these places that are so quiet during the day. It was an excellent tradition long lost. Also on the corporate level and maybe in the retirement villages, leave a little something for the cleaners and carers who are often poorly paid. We are starting to see the inevitable consequences of inequality and separation and it is not pretty. We must be aware and grateful. Now CEOs are only answerable to the shareholders and the performance measure by shareholder profit with the usual and easy way to do this is to keep the wage as low as possible, which leads to unhappy circumstances. I also think of the specialist who charges $1500 per hour and pays the cleaners $15 per hour and the retirement village resident, happy in their situation and seemingly unaware of the struggle the cleaners and carers have living on wages as low as the proprietor can get away with. God is watching! Revive awareness and teach the kids.
 

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