Less Talk, More Action
Reading about the government grants given to KCDC under the Better Off package, one can’t fail to notice that there is an awful lot of talking going on in the way these funds have been allocated. Approximately $775 million has been allocated to capacity-building, development-type projects which are difficult to evaluate in terms of outputs. Given the events of this week, the money could be better spent shoring up our storm water and drinking water systems to cope with extreme weather events. This may be more in keeping with the purpose of the grants.
While in Kāpiti we may not experience an event of the scale seen with cyclone Gabrielle, floods are becoming more frequent and our aging storm water system is in need of an upgrade. Small underground pipes cannot cope with the volumes of water generated with these events and a raft of other measures are needed. For instance, the creation of more green spaces, trees, ponds to contain runoff, restoration of wetlands, and construction of swales on private and public land.
We could dig up some of the concrete and replace it with permeable or semi permeable paths where this is practicable. All of these measures will slow down and absorb the flow of water during an extreme event. Our KCDC engineers probably have a number of other good ideas we should be looking at. Funding needs to be allocated for these. Landowners could be assisted to provide ponds for storm water collection and construct swales along driveways and fences on private property (and note that ponds will need to be fenced).
Are our drinking water systems future-proofed? Do collection points, substations need to be upgraded? Floodplain work is needed so that water is directed toward a specific overflow area. Gravel needs to be removed from the lower reaches of our rivers. All of these measures will enable us to be better off when extreme weather hits. To the council, I would say this: To thy own self be true You cannot sit in meetings waving a pen around and looking for ways to defer things. You were elected for espousing certain values which the community needs and you need to act on those.
Marie OSullivan, Kāpiti
Traffic Lights – unreasonable delays
A simple question: Is it reasonable to take 15 minutes to be able to pass through the traffic lights at the end of Elizabeth St, Waikanae?
A necessary question, as that was my experience. Now, yes, this sort of experience can be compounded by the end of school or a sequence of train movements. But it is definitely not helped by the phasing of the traffic lights. Is it beyond the capability of modern computer science to arrange that when the rail is clear, the next phase is to clear the turning traffic? That does not occur at present, as traffic can travel north and south for some time – totally unnecessary as this is the only way traffic can flow when the rail crossing is closed.
Compounding this is the fact that there is very little recognition that traffic turns right out of Elizabeth St. Pedestrians need ample time to cross the old main road, but subtracting that time from that available for traffic turning right out of Elizabeth St invites what normally happens: drivers ignore the amber light, and frequently at least one drive runs the red.
And is it necessary for the lights at Te Moana Rd to cycle through the whole sequence when there is one car waiting, and no other vehicles within observation? Again, is it not possible to make the system reflect actual demand? After all, this was first done about 50 years ago.
John Miller, Waikanae
Repeat failures to return stolen land
Thank you for the Treaty breaches article [RNZ]. It is disturbing to realise my little sits on stolen land. I can only imaging how much more painful it is for Maori descendants of the rightful owners?
When I moved to Waikanae I visited an elderly neighbour who began to complain about a proposed Maori name for old SH1 and went on to state confidently Waikanae has always been a Pakeha suburb. I’m grateful this Government has had the courage to insist that a more balanced view of our history be taught in schools.
Regarding the repeated failures to return Paraparaumu Airport land to its rightful owners, I read of a similar situation in Raglan in recent years. I think it sullies the memory of men like my father, who fought for justices in WWII, that the war was used to rob yet more land from an already depleted people.
Julie Burns, Waikanae
A Delightfully Cynical Action
Re: Kāpiti Gateway resource consent decision. A delightfully cynical action?
The Independent Hearing Commissioners for the resource consent application for the proposed Kāpiti Island Gateway reported their decision on Friday afternoon, December 16, supporting the application.
This just one week before the Christmas break and for most this is the major holiday period.
I’m sure Kāpiti Coast District Council staff and commissioners will say this is just chance.
However, any appeal must be lodged by late January.
So, any of the ‘submitters’ who will be affected by the proposal, and may wish to contest it, can look forward to spending time (unpaid unlike the others) during the holidays going through the 45-page decision, assessing any biases and questionable opinions, and checking again through the several hundred pages of ‘expert witness evidence’ to see what is factual and what is ‘opinion’.
The whole process is interesting in that it appears that council staff are applying to council staff for resource consent using, presumably council funded, consultants as applicant lead and expert witnesses, etc.
Te Uruhi staggers on
Like Many, I too am disappointed that Te Uruhi continues to stagger on. However the brief by the Kāpiti Tourism Advisory Board would appear to offer an obvious solution. Their brief implies that tourism businesses should expect to profit from our land of rich history and the nearby, world renowned, nature reserve. So surely it is not beyond their capability to organise to raise the development funds privately from those businesses keenly anticipating the greater tourist numbers driven here, thus leaving KCDC to merely provide the site. Or perhaps they and their industry are not quite so confident of the incomes generated?
Dave Wade, Paraparaumu
Kāpiti Cone Kingdom
Could the council or roadwork contractors who are responsible for putting warning signs and those orange cones everywhere possibly pick them up when the road work is finished, and the warning is over?
The cones end up everywhere: in people’s driveways and gardens and even in the Waimea stream. As for flooding and other warning signs we have seen children playing with them because nobody can be bothered to pick them up in the end. Such dangerous litter in an already littered environment.
Catherine Weldon, Waikanae Beach
Bad Start for New Council
So Much for a new-look Kāpiti Coast District Council, eh?
Is fledgling mayor Ms Holborow a Gurunathan reincarnated and bent on keeping his costly unwanted legacy Te Uruhi alive?
It’s unbelievable that the new council. teetering on a 6-5 vote, refused at its first meeting to pull the plug on a project that has also bitterly divided the community.
People in Waikanae for instance, would prefer the near $8 millin (and rising) budget for the Gateway white elephant to be spent fixing the potholes in the roads, returning a decent library to the village or building a 21st century amenities block to replace those grim antiquated toilets at the beach.
That first vote does not augur well for ratepayers in the new triennium.
David Barker, Waikanae
Gateway perspective distorted
The front-page story in the last edition of the Kāpiti Observer ‘Pull plug’ on project, highlights one of the problems with the credibility of the Kāpiti or Te Uruhi Gateway project that is being pushed strongly by council staff at great expense.
It showed an ‘artist’s impression’ of the gateway building from the north side of the proposed bridge.
The building looks low and blending into the tree and planted environment.
Unfortunately, it is a misrepresntation as if you stand at where the north end of the bridge will be, the gateway building will appear to be much larger, almost twice the size as shown.
The building will be about 18m away and nearly 3m high.
The artist has used the same ‘dodge’ as the council staff have used with the photo montages they presented during the recent resource consent hearing.
They used images taken with relatively wide-angle lenses that make distant objects look much further away and hence much less intrusive.
If you compare what you actually see with that shown in the processed image, there is a considerable difference.
The recent minor storm surge of a couple of days ago highlights another problem of potential flooding of the site.
This minor srorm surge topped the south bank by at least 70cm and topped the northern bank indicating that the gateway site, that is lower than the top of the south bank, could be susceptible to significant flooding in future major storm surges.
There are many other issues that should be addressed before any further progress, if any, is considered or expenditure is taken.
Personally, I think the whole project should be stopped now and one goes back to one major driver – biosecurity – and sees what options at a reasonable cost are available.