Mahurangi Matters, 15 July 2020 – Readers Letters

Crazy spending

In a time when Auckland Council is basically insolvent, we have our Rodney Local Board, who are totally controlled by Rodney First members Phelan Pirrie (chairperson) and his deputy Beth Houlbrooke, on their usual spending sprees on their grandiose edifices. For example, their latest temporary Park and Ride to be built opposite the Z Station on SH1 at a cost of around $3 million to $4 million. And yes, it’s apparently only temporary to serve their local buses, which should be cancelled anyway due to the very low patronage using them. Why do they think us ratepayers should be forking out this sort of money when there are car parks at the showgrounds right next door to their proposed Park n’ Ride, which are very rarely used apart from some Saturdays? Surely, the part of the car park adjacent to the rodeo grounds could have a bus shelter built, plus some new lines painted for the three or four buses that might use it, and, hey presto, you have a temporary Park and Ride for maybe $80,000 – giving us a saving of a mere $3 million to $4 million of our money. Rodney First also wants to build a new walkway from Kowhai Park, which includes a new bridge that will link Warkworth to their new Park and Ride at an apparent cost of about $1 million. What about the gravel roads and the blocked drains in north Rodney? Ah, sorry these don’t buy you votes, do they? Unfortunately, our three local independent Local Board members have no say in these or most other matters, as Rodney First has a majority block vote with its five members from the Helenville/Kumeu area who have no interest in north Rodney. Yet the one member from north Rodney, Beth Houlbrooke, votes with that Rodney First block. It’s disgraceful. It’s time all north Rodney ratepayers woke up and stopped this sort of wasteful spending.

Maury Purdy, Warkworth

Dump the dump

Regarding the proposed dump in the Dome Valley. Toxins from this dump will find their way into our water supply. Source-water contaminants of concern include arsenic, asbestos, radon and agricultural chemicals. Of these, the strongest evidence for a cancer risk involves arsenic, which is linked to cancers of the liver, lung, bladder and kidney. So, it is common sense what Greg Sayers is saying in his article about building a waste-to-energy plant instead (MM June 17). We should strive to bring public and legal pressure against those who are going to pollute the New Zealand environment, deplete and poison our water resources and threaten the health of future generations for the private profit of large overseas companies. Otherwise, only when the last tree has been cut down and the last stream and groundwater is poisoned, will we realise we cannot eat or drink money.

Chas Benest, Snells Beach

Too good to be true

I agree with Kevin Smith (MM July 1) that waste-to-energy by burning has costly pollution issues. It could only be a partial alternative to landfilling. However, he is mistaken in claiming that his USGIS process is far better and could generate 750MW of electricity from Auckland’s waste. Using efficiency data from the USGIS website, I estimate that his USGIS generator could make only 54MW of electricity. In comparison, the real landfill gas power plant proposed by Waste Management for the Dome Valley landfill would yield 12MW of electricity. The USGIS concept converts mixed waste into uniform storable or burnable pellets, including being heated several times to 1200C to destroy pathogens with an undisclosed source of energy. Heating Auckland’s waste just once to 1200C would require about 40 MW of energy. Therefore, the complete USGIS scheme is likely to be a net consumer of energy. The website claims that USGIS has developed an emissions-free process to convert virtually all urban waste into electricity and clean water, but there is no reference to any proof-of-concept plant. Unfortunately, careful reading of that website reveals that the American USGIS process is more fantasy than reality. If an idea sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.

Steve Goldthorpe, Energy Analyst, Warkworth

Feline faux pas

Sometimes the best of media like yours produce amusing if not ironic pages. Page 35 (MM July 1) has a good article on how TOSSI is attempting to restore habitat for native fish like the kokopu while protecting them from predators like cats. Kia kaha Tossi. Alongside is an advert from a veterinary service telling us how they saved a cat from diabetes. While recognising the social benefits of cats to some people living on their own, I suggest that all cats have the de-sexing operation. This means we can kill two birds with one stone (admittedly, not the best of metaphor given the context) – people get to keep their pet while over time the cat population, especially the feral ones, will gradually be eliminated. By the way, our native birds are all behind this suggestion as well.

Michal Norman, Warkworth

Dozy parker

It’s enlightening to see how Mahurangi Matters reports about new cycle and walk ways in our region. Thank you. But on that topic it always irks me a bit when I see a situation like this (pictured) as it could have been avoided with just a little bit of common sense. It was no problem during our dry summer months to navigate around the parked cars but as the wet weather has now arrived, it is a bit annoying to go over the grass with bicycles and especially with mobility scooters. Maybe you would know how that could be corrected without having too many consultants involved?

Thomas Mischler, Snells Beach