Hibiscus Matters Letters - October 3, 2018

By: Hibiscus Matters readers

No sympathy for Wainui

Simon Roberts, Red Beach
As a Red Beach resident, but not a golf club member, I watched with horror as the green course was replaced with streets and hundreds of homes – and soon a massive retirement village. The club was well within its rights, but the effect on the community has been substantial. I always remember a figure given in this paper that 500 trees were felled to make way for 500 homes. So it was, I confess, with some amusement that I read about the club’s issues in its new location (HM September 19). One reason they shifted was the drainage problems in Red Beach and now they have more! And how come a course that cost $50 million has so many issues? Oh dear. I wish I could wish them well, but I honestly think it could be pay back.


Plastic going, going…

Angela Chan, Millwater
Is it just me, or have plastic containers and wrap gone nuts since the single use plastic bags were dropped at local Countdowns? I noticed so much more plastic, especially in the fruit and vegetable department after the checkout plastic bags went. Am I imagining this? Have we just replaced one lot of single use plastic with another?

Countdown’s general manager corporate affairs and sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, responds: We’re seeing a growing interest in reducing plastic. As a result people are much more aware of packaging, so they’re noticing it more, which is really important as it’s the first step to cutting down plastic use. As well as phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags, over the past year Countdown has also removed around 70 tonnes of unnecessary plastic from our produce section. In October we’ll remove plastic straws from our shelves, and change our in-store bakery products to rPET, which is made from NZ recycled plastic. This means 177 less tonnes of imported plastic being used in our business. We can assure customers that Countdown is committed to removing and reducing unnecessary plastic and packaging. We’re looking firstly at how we can reduce the need for packaging, and secondly, if packaging is needed, then we want to find more sustainable solutions.


‘Car yard’ worse

Diane Stanford, Stanmore Bay (abridged)
The Peninsula Club Retirement Village boundary on Whangaparaoa Road seems to have become the Peninsula’s latest ‘Used Car Yard’ and it is getting worse. On Monday, September 17 there were no less than 32 cars parked all down the hill. This is despite several requests to Auckland Transport to have them moved, as they say they are not parked illegally. This is despite the fact that the Traffic Bylaw 2012 Regulations state that: “A person must not stop, stand or park a vehicle on any road or parking place for the purpose of advertising a good or service, or for offering the vehicle for sale unless the vehicle is being used for day to day travel.” AT seem unable to translate the meaning of this bylaw and are unwilling to enforce it, so why does it exist in the Regulations? Is AT waiting until someone has a major accident or is killed, because people have been seen stopped in the fast moving downhill lane to look at a car for sale or parked on the other side and then trying to dodge across the 60kph traffic to look at a car. Parking there also restricts the view of fast moving traffic coming down the hill for elderly residents trying to exit the Village, as cars are now parked almost on the traffic island refuge. One does wonder if the Mayor or any Councillor would put up with this on their boundary, or indeed if there are other such areas in Auckland where one can sell a car free on an open road?

Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan responds: Auckland Transport regularly monitors the cars for sale near the Peninsula Club. Our parking enforcement manager has visited the site and his view is that the present “no stopping zone” is sufficient and vehicles are parked safely. The placement of current restrictions and the turn-in to the entrance of the club is generous. In terms of vehicles parked on-street displaying “Car for Sale” signs, we realise that vehicles for sale can be a nuisance in some situations particularly if there are a number of such vehicles parked at a location. However, it is considered that these do not cause an issue for other road users if parked in a legal and safe manner. In cases where parking occupancy and availability becomes an issue, we will respond to the situation in accordance with our Parking Strategy. We are well aware of the concerns of the residents and will continue to monitor this area to ensure vehicles are parked legally and in a safe, considerate manner.


Crossings classic

John Clements, Orewa
Councillor John Watson’s Viewpoint piece ‘CCOs out of control’ (HM September 19) is spot on. There is no Council control. A classic case is the makeover of four zebra crossings in Orewa. Several pedestrians have nearly been knocked over. The crossing at the Boulevard/Moana Avenue T- junction is so close to the corner that if a few people are using it, cars bank up into the main road, causing traffic jams. Worse, we now have a mix of zebra crossings in drag and ‘Look Before You Step’ signs. It’s a recipe for disaster. There have been many critical letters to this paper and both the Local Board and Destination Orewa Beach have aired their concerns.  Typically, they all received fob off responses. AT said it will ‘monitor’ the crossings. Had it done so, it could not but notice the problems that still exist. This exercise has cost ratepayers upward of $380,000. Really? So there’s no Council fiscal control either. I blame amalgamation. Big is not always best.


Fields of gold

Hans Geese, Stanmore Bay
I noticed that one of the Stanmore Bay soccer fields is a construction site again. Twenty years ago somebody came to cut the grass once a week. And that was good enough. I myself was a soccer coach for kids at the time. Over the last few years there have been substantial investments. There seems to be no end to it. And the grass certainly does not look better than 20 years ago. The soccer season is very short anyway. Millions must have been spent on those pieces of grass. I would like to find out how much money council sank into those fields over the last 10 years or so. To me this certainly looks like turning sports fields into a goldmine.

Auckland Council head of investigation and design, Rob Cairns, responds: Council is committed to investing and maintaining sports fields. The works currently taking place at Stanmore Bay Park fields 4 and 5 include upgrading the existing lights to more effective and efficient LEDs, replacing the field surface and upgrading the irrigation and drainage system. Both summer and winter sporting codes that use the fields will benefit from the upgrades. The fields are expected to reopen in May 2019 and the cost of the project is $950,000.


Kensington conflict

Jayne Llovell, Orewa
It saddened me to read of the situation at Kensington Park (HM September 19) due to an ongoing dispute between residents, the body corporate and the current developer. Homeowners who took to the street with placards are described as ‘misguided’; could they also be people who feel that they are not being listened to and have no say in their future? This took me back to 12 years ago when Puriri Park was sold to Kensington Park Properties for high-density housing. At the time director Patrick Fontein said that the company was creating a design style that would reflect the unique qualities of Orewa. The reality for Puriri Park residents was that they lost their homes, their jobs and, for a number of older folk who bought Leisurebuilt houses, security in their retirement. Then, as now, there is division among residents as history repeats itself. When Fontein et al went into receivership in 2009, they absolved themselves of any responsibility for their actions. Rather than enhancing Orewa, the Park is still a place of conflict. The area may have had a name change but there are still unresolved issues of the past that need to be addressed.

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