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February 2012

31 Jan 2012 01:56 pm

Demolish the hall
John and Barbara Maltby, Pt Wells

Why would the Auckland Council consider spending $3 million on refurbishing the existing Warkworth Town Hall? This old building has served its purpose well, but is now past its use by date and should be demolished. The “heritage” glazed blocks and the mural could be preserved and incorporated into a feature wall in a new facility.

The current site could be sold to help finance a new modern facility which could be built on the banks of the Mahurangi River, over the road from the town parking building. What do others think?

Don’t be apathetic
Betty Paxton, Snells Beach

Being an old-fashioned girl who doesn’t have a computer, I put pen to paper to have my say as to the future of the Warkworth Town Hall (MM Feb 1). Firstly, I agree absolutely with the Rodney Women’s Centre and the barber that until a definite decision is made about the town hall, they should be permitted to remain in their premises. Secondly, the dear old girl has stood for more than 100 years and just how many people have had accidents in her over that time? The floor probably needs re-piling but I defy any of those so-called “experts” to find a better floor for things such as dancing.

It seems to me that whoever wants to pull her down has no romance in their souls, but are hell bent on trying to create a name for themselves by dreaming up some up-to-the-minute modern building. Come on Warkworth; don’t be apathetic! Fight for your history.

Hissy fit
Chris Rowe, Sandspit

I witnessed the hissy fit enacted by the Sandspit Marina Society (SYCMS) executive at the Environment Court about your reporter taking notes with prior leave of the Court. The apparent desire for secrecy in court was in contrast with the SYCMS behaviour after the hearing, when it mounted a sign on the Sandspit Yacht Club site stating that the Judge had said the marina could proceed. This was before the small matter of the court making its decision! A decision is expected within three months.

Civic amenities lacking
Shaun Wilkinson, Warkworth

It is apparent that Rodney District’s neglect over the past years of both the infrastructure and civic amenities in the Warkworth area is becoming very obvious to all who live in the area. In this regard, Council’s plan to set Warkworth up as a satellite centre verges on the ridiculous given the area’s singular lack of civic amenities. While it does have a council service centre, it no longer has any community centre, few reasonable parks or playgrounds, its library is totally inadequate and it has no public transport either road or rail. Other townships in the area such as Wellsford are provided with infinitely better civic amenities.

Building of houses proceeds apace in the area but there is no sense of urgency on the part of the ‘Super City Council’ or its staff to ensure that the infrastructure and civic amenities are brought quickly up to the level necessary to give the residents of the area even the minimal level of service that may be expected from a so called ‘super city’. Perhaps all housing development, and therefore future increases in council’s rateable income, should be put on hold until civic amenities are improved.

This shows just how out-of-touch the Council’s urban-centric planners are with regards to the civic amenity needs and short-comings of North Rodney, as well as the Mayor’s preoccupation with his voter base in urban South Auckland. Warkworth should not become a satellite centre until the area’s needs are fully addressed.

The prostate check
Warren Agnew, Scotts Landing

Dr Barker has it quite wrong in my view (MM January 18). All men should be checked. It is the new treatment options that make me feel this way.

About eight years ago my GP suggested that as I was in my mid 60s I should have a blood test for prostate cancer; the PSA test. A bit of blood taken from your arm and sent for laboratory analysis.

A day after my test I was surprised to be called by my very apologetic GP who felt he was to blame for not having suggested the test previously. It turned out that my count was serious and in the 160s whereas four or five is normal.

I was immediately referred to the Auckland Hospital where I met a young doctor who informed me of the need for me to have an orchidectomy. This meant, he said, that it was necessary to remove my testicles and immediately, as the cancer effectively feeds on testosterone. Being aware of my surprise, he went on to inform me that my natural pair would be replaced by ceramic models which he said, smiling broadly, meant I could still wear speedos on the beach.

So, without any warning, just a blunt disgraceful message. I decided to forgo the offer and then went to see an Auckland specialist who was a Professor of Onchology. I had the biopsy and my cancer was deemed to have escaped from the prostate. However, scans could not detect other tumors in either tissue or bones.

Because my PSA count was so high they would not offer radiation therapy as this was basically deemed to be a waste of time and reserved for patients with counts of under 20. In an effort to reduce my PSA count I received hormone pills injected under the skin on my stomach. These cost $160 a time and in the specialist’s waiting room there was always a stream of men. There was little time to discuss change or options it seemed. So this went on for 18 months. Then my wife came to a session with me and we asked what the future held. About two years we were told.

We decided on a weekend in Sydney with friends and when there, we were told of an expert in prostate treatment. My friend phoned the doctor and back in NZ I received a call from him, a Professor Dr Phillip Stricker.

He asked me to relay my treatment and to my astonishment he told me that, in his view, they had it wrong. Firstly the two monthly hormone implant did not work in some men. It could be trapped in body fat. In these cases, it needed to be placed monthly. I also needed to be taking a further pill, biclutamide, which was available at $450 per month. He guaranteed me that within a month to six weeks my PSA level would reduce to low double figures where I would qualify for radiation. Imagine my surprise as I thought I was receiving the best available advice.

I changed my specialist to an Auckland specialist Dr John Matthews who was aware of Dr Stricker’s work. He phoned Philip Stricker and my new treatment began immediately.

Sure enough the PSA count dropped as predicted and I received 30 or so doses of radiation which destroyed the tumour. I felt normal, acted normally and had all my anticipated male functions.

I have had to continue with the drug biclutamide which effectively kills off any stray cancer cells. This drug is now free.

When I asked Dr John Matthews why I had survived he initially replied that it was because of my attitude. To this I replied nonsense. I don’t believe thoughts can combat cancer.

However, about a year later Dr Matthews told me of a very interesting discovery. Many years ago, a Wellington surgeon had insisted that before he operated on the prostate a patient needed to have at least six months of prior hormone therapy. In a review of records it was confirmed that this doctor’s patients had a much higher than average survival rate.

The French reviewed the data of prostate patients who had been on hormone therapy for nine months prior to their receiving radio therapy and they came to a similar conclusion. So unwittingly, I had received a very extended hormone therapy session which appears to have saved my life. Dr Stricker sought my approval to present my case as part of his presentation at a conference in England.

So, I say, definitely have the PSA test. Refrain from rapid surgery and seek out a radiation specialist for treatment if it is needed.

Town Hall solution
John Patrick, Warkworth

I understand that the Warkworth Town Hall is now closed completely and unavailable for any functions at all. I presume that this is because it is a danger to the public because of its style of construction. I am also aware that it has a heritage classification and so, therefore, must be maintained in some form. The dilemma is that, if left in its present shape and form, it will always be something of an eyesore.

Perhaps the way forward is to maintain what is the real heritage – that is the special blocks – use them for a feature wall or walls, demolish the rest and rebuild on the same site a larger building which would serve the community for the next 50 years and would meet all the requirements of the current building regulations.

Unless there can be some agreement across the community as to how to provide us with a public building of which we could all be proud, I don’t see the Auckland Council being willing to invest say $3 million in refurbishing, and doing due honour to the pioneers who originally built the hall.

Intimidating hoons
Name and contact details supplied

My wife and I visited Warkworth last month for shopping and to have a spot of lunch. While my wife was purchasing a birthday gift for me I was banished from the shop so I went and sat on a bench, just up from Hunting and Fishing. As I sat enjoying the peace and quiet my attention was suddenly drawn to a group of eight or so youths, aged from 12 through to about 16. I was shocked by their anti-social behaviour. Swearing, spitting on the pavement, blocking the footpath. Then they proceeded to bang on shop windows and kick sandwich boards, all the while continuing the swearing and spitting. Then a couple of the group decided to pick up a bunch of coat hangers which were in a box outside a clothes shop, and throw them across the footpath. The retailer did come out and asked them to pick them up.

The group then decided to skateboard up and down the footpath and the swearing continued. As small towns go they always have a small group of undesirables that ruin everything for the majority, and what a shame Warkworth has to put up with this. It is a small town and this behaviour just sticks out like a sore thumb. No doubt this group is well-established and congregate around the skateboard area. They were also heckling drivers using the turning circle by the skate ramp.

Why does our society have to put up with being intimidated by hoons like this? If they have nothing better to do than intimidate and upset retailers and the public then the cops should lock them up for the day, thus giving them some time to think about how best to spend their day. Trouble is we have the do gooders who will say ‘Oh we can’t do this and we can’t say that’. The authorities have become so soft and PC it has come back and bitten us in the behind.


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