Your Opinion – Hibiscus Matters Letters – July 17, 2019

Cut cost of crossing

Christina Mackenzie, Orewa
We should no longer be surprised by the gross amounts of money that are spent on simple pieces of infrastructure, such as a pedestrian crossing (HM July 3). But this one really takes the prize. A crossing on that part of the highway is definitely needed. I have had to stand in the middle of the road before, holding on to my children and bikes, waiting for a gap in the traffic. But it must be possible to do this for a lot less than $390,000.

Dangerous crossing

Lorraine Sampson, Silverdale
I read with amazement at the article July 3 about the crossings of the highway in Orewa. It mentions that the traffic count was 11,120 vehicles per day. I live at 41 Hibiscus Coast Highway, where the traffic count is 30,000 plus vehicles per day and yet  there are no safe crossings for the people who live on this stretch of road.  An Auckland Transport officer told me by phone that I would be able to cross the road to the new path. I told him that with four lanes of traffic travelling at 70kmph, this was a nonsensical suggestion. Both AT and the Local Board seem to have no interest in safety on this piece of road. Even though there is a bus stop by No 43 Hibiscus Coast Highway, there is no path for the pedestrians and no safe method for all those who do walk, to get to the lights at Millwater Parkway.
It is about time that AT and Council have some consideration for those who do pay rates which cover their salaries
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt responds: The key point justifying a new crossing at the bottom of the Orewa hill was not just the traffic counts along the road but the very high volumes of cyclists and pedestrians crossing at that point. The local board is of course concerned about pedestrian safety everywhere and recognises the difficulty you have in crossing your road and has tried and will continue to get Auckland Transport to address your concerns.

Reporters relied on

Martin Sanders, Stillwater (abridged)
I read about the Government funding for journalists and, although I’m basically against subsidies, thought it was great news for suburban newspapers. I was very surprised to learn from your editorial that Community Newspapers Association, the bedrock of suburban news, had been left out of the consultation on this. It seems that any research done by the government is from those who shout loudest – a strange outcome from a left wing government. I see there are 77 publications listed as members of the association. This is a huge number of countrywide community voices left out of discussions around the subsidy. Having spent a few years in suburban newspapers in the old days I am very aware of the importance people regard news of their community. OK, so the tittle-tattle is taken up these days with facebook, but details of local affairs still rest with reportage in local newspapers. Attending local government meetings can be boring but we rely on our community news reporters to disseminate it and make us aware of the important points.  There is little local news in other papers such as Rodney Times. I have no wish to know the problems of rubbish in Mission Bay.

Air races awesome

Alan Chambers, Manly
The air races sound like an awesome event for Orewa (HM July 3) – something to bring the place alive! I can see why it might need a lot of thought on the part of the council but hopefully they will approach it with a positive frame of mind to find a way to make it happen rather than put barriers in the way. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. Thumbs up to the organisers.

Who chooses the art?

Tracy Mathewson Orewa
After reading the rather bleak July 3 article, Orewa could lose out on the real opportunity to have a sculpture on the waterfront. As an artist new to the area and interested in the Council public art process, I visited both open sessions. Saturday had the most ’traffic’ nudging 100 on my count before I left. Ultimately my question is this – are the public or our council members ‘qualified’ to choose public sculpture?

Save our streams

David Zong, Andrew Barkus, Wade Sears, Nate Dalzell, Wentworth students
We are Year 8 students at Wentworth College who want people to be aware about what has happened (and is happening) to our streams. Our streams have litter and pollution in them, which harms fish by clogging their gills and stops them from breathing. This also allows some unnatural competition to thrive from the extra nutrients such as potassium groups, nitrates and nitrites. Our streams also have introduced and invasive species. An example is the mosquito fish, which was introduced to stop mosquito populations. However, there was an oversight that the mosquito fish mistake the tails and fins of the whitebait as mosquitos and “nibbles” (more or less attacks) them which stops them from moving, and so the whitebait “drown.” The vegetation around the rivers is also very important as it covers the river and gives the river shade which lowers the temperature of the river which is important as the animals can’t survive temperatures above 16°C. We need people to help protect our streams.

Better land use

Noeline Berger, Whangaparaoa
I read in your paper that the land opposite Whangaparaoa town centre is being sold, possibly to a developer for the building of apartments. I think the loss of such an important green space in this area would be hugely detrimental to future generations. Could I suggest that a community orchard or food forest would be a better alternative? With the growing awareness of the need for sustainability and resilience, something like that would be an asset for Whangaparaoa College and the community, while keeping up with national and international trends. I put this idea forward in the hope that others may be keen to support an enterprise like this, and carry it forward.

Why not rocks?

Rita Browning, Orewa
Today my husband and I have stopped at Waiwera on the way home from Puhoi and what a great sight to see all the boulders creating  the sea wall right along the beach such added advantages. Can someone explain why they cannot do the same at Orewa Beach and make a lovely beach more attractive. If it can be done at a less popular beach why not here in Orewa.

Auckland Council Community Parks and Places manager, Martin van Jaarsveld, replies: Auckland Council applies best practice guidance and design when considering a range of coast protection options, noting that rock revetments are not always the best solution. Waiwera Coast Protection was a council renewal project involving upgrading an existing council-owned rock revetment. At Orewa Beach, a resource consent application for a new seawall (between Marine View and Kohu Street) to protect the reserve and maintain public access along the coast is currently with the Environment Court with a decision anticipated within the next few months.

Mangrove evidence

Simon Price, Orewa
The sight of those piles of dead mangroves alongside Orewa Estuary, and in your paper (HM June 19) made me really angry. What right do private landowners have to desecrate a public space like this, particularly a protected area? Mangroves provide a very important habitat and part of the ecosystem. I hope Council is talking to the people who would most obviously benefit – who live right by the area that has been cleared.
Editor’s note: Auckland Council is investigating this, but without a witness or photos/video evidence these cases can be difficult to prove. It does seem likely that someone saw something with the piles placed along the shoreline. If anyone has information, contact Council, phone 09 301 0101.

Mayor visits Youth Centre

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was invited to the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre last week so the organisation could thank him in person for the $100,000 grant that Auckland Council recently allocated to keep it afloat (HM June 5). Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt and deputy chair Janet Fitzgerald were also there  – the local board continues to support the Youth Centre, most recently granting $20,000 (HM June 5). During the visit, on July 12, the Mayor looked around the Orewa facility, talked with the young people and shared morning tea with volunteers. He was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Ari Matafeo, pictured. Ari’s mother, Ester, was one of the first children at the youth centre (which opened in 1998) and her sister, Angel, is a youth leader. The centre provides support for local youth, including mentoring and counselling. Pictured, Mayor Phil Goff greets the Youth Centre’s executive director Suzanne Booth.