Like Colin Coupe and Beth Houlbrooke (MM January 31) I too am amazed and angry at the lack of maintenance of the gardens and reserve lawns in our area. Gardens by Kawau Waters and alongside the pathway and stream at Whisper Cove are a disgrace due to the lack of maintenance.
The new maintenance contractors, Urban Maintenance Systems (UMS), who took over in July 2017, have failed to carry out garden maintenance in these areas. In the first four months of their contract they carried out three hours of weeding in these areas.
I contacted Rodney Local Board chair Beth Houlbrooke, who visited the area and took damning photos of the lack of garden maintenance and lawn mowing, and these were sent to UMS. UMS responded by carrying out some maintenance in late November and December. However, only 20 per cent of the gardens have been worked on. As well as there being dead trees and weeds, the so-called ground cover, Muehlenbeckia, has smothered numerous hebes, cabbage trees and other trees. UMS has not done any work in this area in the last six weeks.
Another failure of UMS concerns lawn mowing. It seems that the only way to get the lawns mown is to lay a complaint with Auckland Council. Allowing the grass to grow to 235mm, ready for hay-making, is unacceptable.
A worrying point is the statement that contractors are not subject to having their work monitored on a regular basis. No wonder the gardens are neglected. The Local Board and Council need to establish a system – now – that monitors contractor’s work, or lack of it, on a regular basis.
If UMS cannot maintain our gardens and lawns to a satisfactory standard, then the contract they have with Auckland Council should be terminated.
Bryan Jackson, Snells Beach
(This letter was referred to Auckland Council for comment, but they had not responded as the paper went to press).
Council alerted earlier
Referring to your front-page story “Bungle sees walkway fall into disrepair” (MM January 31) regarding lack of maintenance at the Te Whau Walkway, Mr Coupe is incorrect in stating, “no effort has been made to address problems requiring urgent attention”. As chair of Goodall Te Whau Committee, I contacted a Council officer and sent photos in mid-October over this issue. The reply email stated that they were waiting for a contract to be signed and that maintenance would be done three times over the summer period. As the Board Chair said, it has been overlooked in the changeover of contracts. But thank you for endorsing what previously had been requested, something I’ve been doing ever since Te Whau’s opening in June 2016.
June Turner, Chair Goodall-Te Whau Committee
I read with great interest the article about the use of recyclable cups (MM January 31). It is true that the amount of disposable packaging our society is now using is enormous. I own the cafe So French on Neville Street in Warkworth. From the very beginning, I’ve always tried to go for organic, local, eco-friendly, and recyclable products whenever I could. It’s sometimes slightly more expensive, but I believe if we all make this buyer choice then supplier prices will go down to meet the demand. At So French we use only organic fair-trade coffee, eco-friendly packaging and local free-range eggs and meat. We now live in a world where we must make the sensible choice of sustainability and being environmentally friendly.
Kristell Boisseau, So French Cafe (abridged)
I would appreciate someone responding to my observation that some entity, probably the Rodney Local Board has made a goof. The Local Board have decreed that dogs must be on a chain at the North end of Snells Beach to protect the wild life. How come that a developer was allowed to have diggers and other plant in the said area, which totally destroyed the so-called nesting area, including a live nest?
Lt Col (Rtd) Geoffrey Bowes, Snells Beach
… not us
The issuing of resource consents or monitoring of compliance are not functions of the Local Board. It may be better to contact Ian Dobson, Manager Resource Consents North West, for any comments regarding compliance conditions of developers. The developers and their contractors should have been made aware of the presence of protected bird life in the area and, in fact, they are mentioned in the consent decision. So, anyway, not a goof of the Local Board.
Beth Houlbrooke, Chair Rodney Local Board
In defence of rodeo
This summer season, tens of thousands of Kiwis are being thrilled by displays of courage, stockmanship and athleticism at local rodeos. Thirty-five separate events are hosted annually from Warkworth to Wanaka. Participants and their appreciative audience outnumber any attendant anti-rodeo activists by huge proportions. Yet these tiny protests have been allowed to misrepresent and malign the reality of New Zealand rodeo. There have been no reports of any mistreatment of rodeo animals this season, and it’s unlikely that there will be. Why? Because rodeos in New Zealand are conducted under a variety of animal welfare rules and strict safety regulations known collectively as the ‘Rodeos: Code of Welfare’. This protective Code was last updated in 2014 after exhaustive scientific and academic input. However, we are concerned at the tactics of demonisation being practised by some anti-rodeo activists. The regular abuse and harassment that rodeo personnel and sponsors receive is nothing short of bullying. In the meantime, we continue to offer one of the most exciting entertainments on New Zealand’s rural calendar.
Michael Laws, spokesperson NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association (abridged).
Supplied by Krista Fletcher, secretary Warkworth Rodeo Club.