Kapi-Mana News : April 23rd 2013
TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2013 PORIRUA CITY & TAWA www.kapimananews.co.nz INSIDE: OPINION 10 | TODDLER IN TOW 15 | WEEKLY WORKOUT 19 | CLASSIFIED 35 | SPORT 44 Wheel wonder: Whitby mountainbiker Ben Eagle, 14, plans to forge an international cycling career before he is 20, and his impressive Grand Traverse result point to great things for the teen. Biker Ben ups gears By ANDREA O'NEIL Whitby teenager Ben Eagle plans to be a top-five New Zealand mountainbiker by age 17, and a world-class professional before he's 20. These are far from pipe dreams for the 14-year-old Samuel Marsden student. Not content to compete in his under-16 age group at this month's Porirua Grand Traverse, Ben got special permission to ride and run in the duathlon men's open, a 28-kilometre mountain ride and an 18km mountain run. He came a close fourth place, with a time of 3:53.21, just two minutes behind the third place- getter and three minutes off sec- ond place. While he was proud of his efforts, Ben wishes he had pushed himself harder in the race. I'm happy that I did it. It's slightly annoying -- as it was my first one, mum told me to take the ride really easy, so I took the ride really slow. I easily could have taken 21G2 minutes off the bike.'' Ben credits his result to fitness earned during two punishing long-distance competitions this summer: the mountainbike natio- nals in Rotorua and Upper Hutt's Karapoti Classic. He competes without the help of a coach. Instead he searches the internet for guidance and spends eight to 10 hours a week training himself. Next season he will be looking for a coach, though. Just to see what I can do when I'm performing at my best.'' A self-confessed adrenaline jun- kie, Ben rates mountainbiking for its thrills, which road cycling just cannot provide, he says. Getting his licence next year will be a huge boost, as he'll be able to drive himself to more challenging tracks in the Hutt Valley. My life is pretty much school and biking, and not much else,'' he says. I love it, it's what I like to do.'' Within three years Ben would like to join a serious cycling team, and can see himself in a European squad tackling international races by 2018. His cycling hero is Swiss world mountainbike champion Nino Schurter, who he'd like to emulate in the Olympics one day. Farmers attack changes proposed in council plan By ANDREA O'NEIL ' Council may appreciate the extra rates revenue but ratepayers value the rural outlook. ' Moonshine Valley farmer Heather Phillips Rural Pauatahanui will disappear under a sprawl of lifestyle blocks in a Porirua City Council plan to increase ratepayer numbers, dis- affected farmers fear. For years farmers have been stuck in a financial catch-22. Land values four times higher than farms elsewhere in the region force some to subdivide, but that just pushes up land values, and rates, for remaining farmers. A council revamp of rural plan- ning rules will squeeze those struggling farmers from two direc- tions, rural landowners told coun- cillors at a public meeting last Thursday. The proposed Porirua Land- scape Management Strategy will allow subdivision into blocks of one to four hectares -- down from the current minimum of five hec- tares. At the same time it restricts far- mers' ability to build and manage their own land, to the extent of limiting the size of farm buildings and the materials they are built with. One-hectare blocks will turn Pauatahanui and Judgeford into a new Whitby, where many sections are a hectare or half a hectare in size, Moonshine Valley farmer Heather Phillips told councillors. You're no longer going to have a rural aspect at all. You're going to have a Joseph Banks Drive.'' The council might hope to gain more ratepayers by encouraging small lifestyle blocks, but it will turn buyers off by spoiling Pauatahanui's rural character, Ms Phillips said. Council may appreciate the extra rates revenue but rate- payers value the rural outlook.'' Connecting sewage and water infrastructure to the new subdivi- sions will wipe any rates gains, she said. Motukaraka Point landowner Chris Kirk-Burnnand found an irony in the document's draconian emphasis on controlling rural buildings, considering the free- dom it gives to subdivision. I think you should leave the freedom to choose colours and building materials, you shouldn't be so precious as to tell [landowners] how to live their lives,'' he said. This is about preserving the rural view for urban dwellers.'' Dictating details like roof colour led to a dull-looking Whitby, where as the lack of such restric- tions created the attractively diverse Paremata boat sheds, said Mr Kirk-Burnnand. Moonshine Valley landowner Diane Strugnell said a restriction on earthworks longer than 250m each year was nonsensical. A track that goes 250m and stops for a year, or a fence that goes 250m and then stops for a year, is actually useless.'' Restrictions on her land from the council and national bodies like Transpower were overwhelm- ing, Ms Strugnell said. Rural dwellers value their land and work hard to protect it, she said. There needs to be an element of trust in landowners that we will do the best for those landscapes.'' Council environment and city planning manager Matt Trlin told Kapi-Mana News after the meet- ing that landowners presently require resource consent to do any building at all, while the proposed strategy allows buildings up to 500 sqm to bypass resource con- sents if they comply with certain aesthetic requirements. While the size of subdivisions will shrink, landowners will need to maintain an average 2 to 2.5 ha average plot size, Mr Trlin said. Councillors will debate the pro- posed Landscape Management Strategy in May or June.
April 16th 2013
April 30th 2013