Viewpoint – Feedback critical

I hope everyone is having a good summer and getting the chance to enjoy this beautiful part of the world that we are so fortunate to live in. I know how much people value the unique qualities of life that have attracted us all to live on the Coast. Maintaining and enhancing these qualities are fundamental priorities as far as I am concerned.

Everyone should by now have received a copy of Auckland Council’s proposed 10- year budget for 2015-2025. This identifies the key priorities and spending for the next decade and beyond – and it will impact on our lives over a whole variety of areas – from transport to the environment and from financial charges to physical well-being.

Wayne Walker and I were amongst a minority of just eight councillors who voted against this budget when it was approved for consultation by the Mayor and his supporters in council. In our view it falls far short of the mark in its transport priorities, rating policies and general investment in the community and the environment. Now it’s up to the public and we’ll certainly be watching with interest what you have to say.

I’d urge people to express their views at the end of the feedback form, even if it amounts to just a couple of sentences. In transport there’s Penlink, Whangaparaoa Rd widening, completion of the Silverdale Park and Ride and an increase in the number of sailings on the Gulf Harbour ferry service to consider. The proposal to toll Auckland’s motorway system would hit areas like the Coast disproportionately hard when there are other options that go to the region as a whole and are fairer. What’s your view?

Ratepayers might like to consider whether the increases proposed are sustainable when inflation is around 1 percent and many wages remain static. In community and the environment is the provision of parks/open spaces adequate, the $650 million disposal of council assets desirable, the expensive Stadium Strategy a good use of money when grass roots sports are struggling and should chemical sprays continue to be used when cheaper, non-chemical alternatives are available?

Recent events on Whangaparaoa Rd and Tindalls Hill have also made it very clear that the peninsula needs not only a second access but also a well communicated civil defence and emergency plan that everyone knows about and can use if required.

While we do indeed have much to be thankful for, now is really the time for Coasters to send a very clear message to their council over its future direction. Contrary to popular belief, the Auckland Council and all its ‘corporate’ appendages still belong to Aucklanders. As ratepayers you pay for it all and it’s your future that’s being decided.

Finally, a big thank you to Lorraine Sampson and Graham Johnson for all the work they have done over the years for Silverdale – local businesses and the community have been fortunate to have had such tireless advocates.