Hibiscus Matters Letters - Published July 2017

By: Hibiscus Matters readers

Open process

Linda Grant, Arkles Bay. Published July 19, 2017
There is no question that local board workshops should be open to the public and the press. I went to a couple of local board meetings early on after they were formed under the new council, thinking they may be a place where local issues were the subject of lively debate. Not only was there no such debate, the information in the agendas seemed to pre-suppose an outcome, which the board then ticked off. I was none the wiser about how those members really felt about particular issues, or how the pros and cons ranked against each other. All we got was pros, no cons. I didn’t bother going to those meetings after that. I share Hibiscus Matters’ concerns about this and would urge the board to have another vote and to carefully think about who pays their wages.

Workshop worries

Bruce Walling, Stanmore Bay. Published July 19, 2017
I was alarmed to read the report (HM July 5) that our Local Board has decided to continue its practice of disallowing residents to attend the Board’s workshops. These workshops are an integral part of the Board’s decision-making process. Decisions subsequently made at full Board meetings are based on what transpired at those workshops. This non-inclusive process is not only arrogant and undemocratic, but alarmingly contrary to the Board’s own legal advice. Sure, if any workshop item is deemed confidential for genuine reason, then by all means exclude the public. But the labelling as confidential on any business should be the exception and not the rule. Even when applied, the public needs to know what the item was about and why it was labelled confidential at all. Good on those Board members who tried to open up the workshops. I have to wonder what is the Board’s reasoning? What are they trying to achieve in excluding us from workshops? Workshops that will discuss all manner of matters concerning the best interests of our community? It would be good to see them include an item at their next meeting to defend and discuss this very important issue.

Think before you wait

Robert Griffin, Army Bay. Published July 19, 2017
I am hoping to create some more discussion on the safety issues in regards to the section of road alongside the New World shopping complex on Whangaparaoa Road. While I am a fan of maintaining good driving habits, the ‘Good Samaritan’ practice that many eastbound drivers undertake by stopping in mid flowing 50kph traffic to let other drivers either cross the road into Beverly Road or re-enter Whangaparaoa Road from the shopping centre is a very dangerous maneuver, especially being at the bottom of a hill either side. At peak times, when the traffic is slow, is obviously a much safer and logical opportunity to carry out this practice. It would be interesting to find out how many accidents there have been to date there or near misses. I think many people agree the road design there is not ideal and it must also be frustrating for those drivers needing to cross the road there also nowadays. Is there a safer design option? Coasty drivers – keep up those good habits but please just think twice about the implications of your choices at that particular point on Whangaparaoa Rd.

Waiting for change

John Clements, Orewa. Published July 19, 2017
I read about the new ‘parks, buildings and open space maintenance contracts’ that came in to force on July 1 (HM July 5). Producing contracts is just the first step. Regular follow-up action is needed to see that the terms are being met and whether all requirements have been covered. For example, the gardens on the Orewa Boulevard and bushes and trees around the Estuary Walkway have never been properly maintained. Be this new programme ‘outcome based’ or ‘frequency based’, nothing much will change unless Board members and/or Orewa Service Centre staff get out and about regularly to see what needs doing, what has been done and take appropriate action.

Business focus

Lorraine Sampson, Silverdale (abridged). Published July 5, 2017
I wish to respond to the Viewpoint column by Councillor Wayne Walker (HM June 14). As a long time resident of Silverdale and formerly the President of the Silverdale Business Association for seven years, I am concerned that Cr Walker does not understand the full story of the lights issue at Silverdale. The lights at the Silverdale Street /Hibiscus Coast Highway/Tavern Road intersection were on the long term plan from the former Rodney Council in 1976. Since then sets of lights have been installed, with none of these helping the Business Park in any way. There are at least 320 Businesses in the Park with about 3000 workers, so not everyone wants to go to the Auckland CBD to work. What is even more important is that trucks issued with special heavy weight permits from NZTA are obliged to turn into Tavern Road from the highway. Using another way can allow them to have their permit taken from them, plus they may receive a hefty fine. Cr Walker is in favour of connecting to Curley Ave and while this is a good idea if a developer pays for the bridge, it in no way helps the Business Park. Already companies are talking about relocating from the Business Park due to the problems of entry and exit. It can take 40 minutes to get from Manga Road to Red Beach! The biggest employment area for the Hibiscus Coast is at the Business Park, so their needs need to be recognised. Lights are a priority at the intersection, as shown on the NZTA signs before the Weiti Bridge.

Lights facilitate flow

Graham Johnson, SABA (abridged). Published July 5, 2017
Viewpoint by Cr Wayne Walker (HM June 14) misses the main points the Silverdale Area Business Association (SABA) determined essential for adding traffic lights at the intersection of Hibiscus Coast Highway and Tavern Road. Interconnectivity with the Business Park (around 320 businesses employing around 3000 people) is vital for the lifeforce of the local economy. The existing lights at East Coast Road will come under more pressure, as not only do most employees approach it from the Business Park every afternoon, but much more traffic will attack it from Millwater and Curley Ave once this connection goes through. This will create huge delays at this set of lights. This connection also does nothing of significance for the heavy vehicles or the employees accessing in and out of the Business Park on the other side. SABA believes that new traffic lights can easily be coordinated with existing ones to facilitate traffic flow. When traffic is stopped on the highway at East Coast Road to allow cross-flow, then the new Silverdale lights could act as a vent by allowing cross-flow in conjunction. Traffic on the highway could move through both sets when on green phase. They can be programmed to accommodate peak flow times.It would certainly improve business throughout Silverdale, eliminate much of the traffic having to detour to the Whangaparaoa lights to go south plus the dangerous U-turns being performed currently at Titan Place and on the highway. Local heavy truck companies were consulted some time ago and they can see no problems with stopping or starting from lights on the existing flat area. Traffic lights here would greatly facilitate their movements. They are placed at the bottom of hills all over the world. Silverdale is developing rapidly and SABA considers a speed reduction to 60kph, as on Whangaparaoa Road, is now urgent. This, along with signalisation, would improve safety and commuters would soon adjust.  Penlink, the Curley Ave extension, and new lights at Silverdale are all vital to enhance growth and employment in the area.

Support for lights

John Davies, Stillwater. Published July 5, 2017
In last year’s election campaign I was 100 percent behind fixing the intersection of Silverdale Street with the Hibiscus Coast Highway. Locals have been calling for years to alleviate the “divorce” that was forced on Silverdale between the business park and the village side of the road. During that campaign I became aware of tireless work over many years by the Silverdale Area Business Association in working with AT to achieve this. I was absolutely delighted to read of the AT decision to review the situation formally with a view to better roading in the area. I encourage the People and Penlink team on our Local Board to realise that this is what the people want to help Silverdale realise its ambitions as an easy place to visit. You’re there for the people, as your campaign slogan said, and this, along with Penlink, is what they want. With this having been on the cards since 1976, maybe Penlink, planned since 1961, is next?
 

Steve says thanks

Steve Caines, Orewa. Publsihed July 5, 2017
I would like to thank everyone for their support and especially like to thank Neuro Rehab Results. The success with the exoskeleton (HM June 14) is a direct result of the help of staff at Neuro Rehab Results. These wonderful people have changed my life and I am ever so grateful.

Inspiring story

Greg Campbell, Gulf Harbour. Published July 5, 2017
While a lot of doom and gloom is spread about the future of newspapers generally, it’s obvious that yours is thriving. To me, the reason is stories like the one on Steve Caines and the amazing ReWalk in the last issue (June 14). I would never have known that there are inspirational people like him in our community if I hadn’t read it there. Keep up the excellent work – we love your paper.

Hope fostered

Clare Thompson, Hibiscus Coast coordinator, Foster Hope (abridged). Published July 5, 2017
A huge thankyou to Rotary Satellite Club of Orewa-Millwater, who presented Foster Hope with a cheque for $1750 at their recent Quiz Night. This generous gift is so appreciated and will contribute to support our children in foster care. Foster Hope is currently running its annual Pyjama Drive, and to date Hibiscus Coast schools have donated over 120 pairs of new pyjamas, which will be distributed to local agencies to give to foster children in the area. There are over 5000 children in foster care in New Zealand. We, at Foster Hope, believe it’s important that these children know that they’re not alone and that somebody cares about them.

Compromise needed

Reg Lewis, Red Beach. Published July 5, 2017
As a person who drives along Hibiscus Coast Highway every weekday, heading to and from work on the North Shore, I was stunned by the plan to slow traffic in and around the Silverdale intersection (HM June 1). I agree with the councillors that this is a poorly thought out idea. I get the need for a better safer turn in and out of the industrial side, and back before the highway got so busy, the idea of lights might have worked. You don’t have to be a traffic engineer to work out that although this is no longer a state highway, it has similar volumes of traffic in rush hour – which Orewa does not. I hope common sense will prevail and some safe compromise can be reached.

Dynamic lanes safe?

Roy Forster and Nigel Thomas, Whangaparaoa (abridged). Published July 5, 2017
Today, in our mailbox, we received information about the Dynamic Lane Controls Trial proposed for Whangaparaoa Rd. There are a few concerns we would like to raise. This follows up on concerns we raised last year in a letter to Hibiscus Matters when the proposal was first made public, a copy of which was received by Auckland Transport. Some of our safety concerns are not covered by AT’s information pack. Surely residents’ safety must be paramount, but that seems to be overshadowed by the need to get this trial underway. Some of our concerns: Turning right from our driveway into Whangaparaoa Rd. We will need to cross two oncoming lanes and then merge into a single lane. What a nightmare;  turning right from Whangaparaoa Rd into our driveway, we will hold up traffic on the inside dynamic lane until we are able to turn; pedestrians, including children, crossing Whangaparaoa Rd. The flush median is a safe haven, but with that gone there will be three lanes of traffic to cross; emergency vehicles use the flush median but with that gone how will they cope? Last week, on one afternoon at peak time, there were at least four emergency vehicles using this lane in both directions; there’s a hospital, medical centre and retirement village, plus a side road to Hospice. Access in and out of these facilities, especially in an emergency, is bound to be compromised. We are not against the trial, but surely before construction starts, more time needs to be spent looking at safety? There is a ‘meet the project team’ session on Saturday, July 8 – why only one session? We would like to attend this but we work on Saturdays. We realise it is difficult to cater for everyone, but surely there should be at least one evening meeting? We understood there was to be consultation before the trial. To date no one from AT has consulted us, nor any neighbours we have spoken to. Maybe the information in our letterbox is deemed to be consultation, coupled with the planned meeting – but hasn’t the horse already bolted? Finally, is the dynamic lane change really going to be worth it? Surely with no increase of traffic flow access onto the motorway, or beyond Vipond Road, the same bottlenecks will be present, albeit possibly in a different place.

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