There’s a saying that politics is finding a room full of angry people and agreeing with them, and certainly some politicians make an art of it. The trouble with that as a long-term political strategy is there’s no incentive to find a solution.
I certainly found my roomful of angry people recently when the impending transfer station closures were announced. Working quickly to get to the source of the decision, ask pertinent questions around consultation, communication, and realistic alternative options, we were able to obtain a stay of execution while the community’s needs for dealing with waste locally are explored and a longer term solution is found. That roomful of angry people soon dissipated, but popped up again, ironically, when news of a private waste management company exploring options for a landfill site hit social media.
At the time of writing, Auckland Council has not received a resource consent application for a landfill. The Rodney Local Board may be asked to make comment on the application, so until we’ve seen it, it would be inappropriate of me to start debating its merits or otherwise. But it raises a question – just where do people think their rubbish should go?
Meanwhile, I am focused on finding solutions rather than painting our residents as perpetual victims of the Supercity. The Supercity may not be perfect, but there are ways through the mire and some benefits – such as long-awaited local bus services.
What will public transport mean for Warkworth and Wellsford? There are opportunities for businesses to promote midweek and midwinter visitation from the city. We could become the Waiheke of the north for SuperGold Card holders. Our children will be able to travel affordably to university in Albany, North Shore or the city, without having to leave home and take up expensive accommodation. They’ll be able to travel safely to and from malls and entertainment in the south, or up to Wellsford to use the new skate park. All this will be a godsend for parents pressed into providing a taxi service or those who worry about their children breaching the terms of their restricted licences. Retirees will be able to go to matinee concerts, shows and exhibitions in the city. Bus passengers save on fuel and parking costs, which as we know are both on the rise.
Concerned about competition with the excellent locally-run private bus service?
Remember, this is a completely different offering – an express service using luxury coaches, with private charter and special event transport options.
Let’s enjoy the advantages of being close to the city, yet far enough away to feel we’re almost on holiday, every day. We can have the best of both worlds.
Beth Houlbrooke, Rodney Local Board