Your Opinion – Hibiscus Matters letters – August 4, 2018

Skybus out of reach

Glenda and Graeme Dykes, Red Beach
I saw recently that Skybus is now offering a new service from Albany. ‘Hoorah’, I thought, as we use the Skybus service when catching flights. But the powers that be have out-clevered themselves this time. Skybus does not go from the Albany park ‘n’ ride, where one could perhaps link up with a bus from Silverdale. Oh no, they’ve done better than that. The Skybus leaves from the far side of the Westfield shopping mall, so that it is impossible to catch, particularly when trailing a suitcase, as one may be. So whose bright idea was this, and could they please spare us from any more brainstorms they may have.

Skybus chief executive Michael Sewards responds: Our design of the North Harbour service was a result of significant consultation with many local stakeholders. In those discussions it was clear to us that the approvals required for access to the Albany park and ride station could be somewhat problematic primarily due to the perceived increase in congestion at this heavily used station that our service may cause, amidst growing and future demands on the facility from all public transport services. We are very appreciative of the assistance from Auckland Transport in enabling access to the Akuranga and Smales Farm stops in such a short period of time, which as a direct result enabled us to deliver the service earlier than initially planned. If there did exist an opportunity for SkyBus to apply to utilise the stop at the Albany Park and Ride station, with the likelihood of receiving the necessary approvals for that access being made available, we would be keen to pursue this opportunity to apply. Clearly any harmonisation of our direct service to the airport with the other public transport services arriving and departing from this stop, if properly planned, co- ordinated and communicated, would be an attractive option for passengers seeking a connection to the airport. That being said, our current stop still presents an excellent option for the Albany travelling public as it is attractively positioned at this widely used shopping centre with its highly branded stop. In fact the significant take up in our first two weeks of the new service has demonstrated the overall acceptance of the existing service design (including the positioning of all stops) by the North Harbour travelling public.

Fire sale

Adrienne Cole, Hatfields Beach (abridged)
Mayor Goff says that he is just selling off what the people don’t want. His listening powers obviously do not extend beyond the Harbour Bridge. We want the Hammerhead and we want the Orewa Services building! The Hammerhead land is already at capacity use by both locals and visitors, for parking, freedom camping, marina activities and recreational boating. Auckland Transport and Council Community Facilities have admitted that they have done no future projections for the ferry parking, and/or facilities. The lack of consultation with the Orewa community regarding the sale of these amenities is proof that Mayor Goff and his select few have completely lost touch with the people.
They promise a purpose built office for ongoing Council facilities in Orewa. Space could be retained in the purpose built building that’s already there. It offers excellent parking and could house a raft of services for the area, within easy reach of the town centre. The Hammerhead and Orewa Services building are valuable assets to our community and once sold cannot be replaced, with the funds disappearing into Auckland Council coffers. This is all about greed, not growth.

Editor’s note: Council is not proposing to sell the Hammerhead. It wants to sell the marina land in order to secure public use of the Hammerhead.

Coast kayak in crossing

Lou Atkinson, Red Beach
Ex-Coastie Scott Donaldson’s amazing feat in crossing the Tasman solo in a kayak has of course been well reported. However one thing that hasn’t been mentioned to date is that the boat was made in Silverdale! More info please!

Gordon Robinson of Barracuda replies: Scott’s trans-Tasman kayak was constructed of carbon fibre and was 60kg lighter than the one we built for his first attempt at the crossing. The hull design comes from an older double sea kayak called the Outbacker, which I designed in 1993. The Outbacker can easily handle big seas and big winds I knew with a custom deck it would be perfect for the Tasman crossing. A good friend and legend in NZ boat building, Colin Palmer, helped engineer and build Scott’s kayak.The real technology was inside the boat. For this we drew on experience with the three winning Atlantic rowing boats that we built a few years ago and compressed most of that into a space one tenth of the size. It had to be self-righting, have solar power and a lot of other features. In some ways it also had to be a submarine – while on sea anchor in storms, the kayak actually gets pulled through the base of the swells. Last crossing this was up to 11m under water, so stopping the kayak from imploding and leaking requires some good engineering and a lot of faith on Scott’s behalf! The final price exceeded $60,000, making it the world’s most expensive kayak.

Find those dogs

Cameron Foster, Army Bay
I hope the Council is taking all the steps it can to find the dogs responsible for the horrific attacks on sheep (HM July 18). Attacks on animals are bad enough, but if they are working as a pack, it could be a child next. Those dogs need to be found and the owner dealt with. I can’t believe that anyone who knows their dogs did this has not had the guts to come forward.

Painted pavers

Page Lewis, Orewa
Hibiscus Matters’
coverage of the issues with the Orewa pedestrian crossings is much appreciated. My ten cents worth is that there are good reasons why you don’t see other pedestrian crossings like these. White reflective paint in wide lines is the accepted standard and there are rules about that, as another correspondent has mentioned (HM July 18). Aesthetics are all very well but this is a safety issue. Perhaps a compromise could be pavers painted in white reflective paint?

When Orewa resident Robert Gray turned 100 years old recently, his special birthday lunch request was a Georgie Pie from McDonalds. Robert got his pie, as well as cake, when he celebrated his special day on July 23 with his family. Robert served in World War II for exactly six years, six months and six days. He emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1973 on the Australis with his six children. He has been married to 93-year-old Freda for 69 years and the couple live in the Nautilus. Daughter Amanda says her father is amazing and still does 1000 pedals every day on his exercycle.

Auckland Council’s contractors have pruned away a coprosma to better reveal the memorial to Gerard, the Whangaparaoa town centre cat. A search for the memorial was launched following a story in Hibiscus Matters’ June 13 edition and readers revealed it beneath a bush alongside the Top of Coast Plaza carpark. It appears the plaque was damaged, and it has been crudely repaired. It was originally placed at the Top of Coast Plaza by Lou Ramsdale, in memory of a cat which was fed by local business people and became well known.