Kapi-Mana News : July 23rd 2013
10 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JULY 23, 2013 OPINION Time to fix this eyesore Yet another survey but the same result: Pori- rua's once-iconic can- opies are an eyesore, and the attitude towards them seems to be hardening. According to the city council's annual residents' survey, a third of residents regard the canopies and inner-city area as a disgrace. That's up from 25 per cent in 2012. You would wager good money that the figure will keep rising. Shops either stay empty, open to graffiti and other van- dalism, or the only tenants that set up are discount stores or outlet stores for the big chains. Even they don't last long. Comments from those surveyed included Porirua City centre should have been revamped years ago'', and the area needs a facelift desper- ately'', while adjectives such as rundown'', old'' and tired'' abound. Further, residents have stated they don't feel safe in the CBD, because it is a well- known area for theft, thugs and gangs''. It's nothing new, but those who work and live and shop in the CBD have to keep banging on.We're told by the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce, that investment is coming, that good things take time, that private investment is needed. But how much worse should does it need to get? Could measures not be taken in the short-term to make it a more welcoming place? The canopies were built in the 1990s, hailed as a sign that the modernising of Porirua's city centre was under way. They were funky and cool; the young city was maturing. But with the advent of Kmart, then the development of North City Shopping Centre and the Mega Centre, the CBD has become like the illegitimate child you hide under the stairs -- shunned and neglected, fed scraps by the city council. One of Nick Leggett's mayor- alty campaign platforms was that he wanted to revitalise the canopies area, with millions of dollars to be sunk into the proj- ect.Initial concepts looked at removing the canopies altogether and building a main street. The chamber's Holly Thompson said the canopies were out-of-date and have to come down eventually''. Why wait? The upgrading of the Cobham Court/Hagley area -- with parks and gardens envisioned, sur- rounded by cafes and even inner-city apartments -- has been overtaken in the short- term by the streamside plaza'' concept, opening up the railway station and connecting it to the inner-city and harbour. Meanwhile, dark corners remain, occasional vandalism persists and the canopies leak, requiring constant mainten- ance to look even halfway clean. Porirua City councillor Euon Murrell used to park a matchbox-sized bulldozer in front of himself at council meet- ings to signal his frustration with how the city centre was degrading. His advocating the use of heavy machinery to fix the problem of the CBD eyesore may be extreme, but he will now have many followers for his radical solution. The residents' survey also noted that the Titahi Bay shops were dilapidated'', Mungavin Avenue shops filthy'', the Can- nons Creek centre not enticing and, despite a new million- dollar playground, Waitangirua Mall still needed more invest- ment. Is there a trend here? Bring on the city centre revitalisation. It can't come quick enough. LETTERS Notafanof Porirua council Your headline We were wrong'' (July 16) is the untold story of local government. How often do communities have to suffer the consequences of incompetent decision-making, inaccurate record-keeping and subsequent false reporting? In recent months we have learned of a failure to maintain community assets (PLT), inadequate engineering (leaking pool), plain stupid decision- making (connecting a 400mm pipe into a 250mm pipe) followed by false claims that it wasn't council's fault. Now we hear that, in fact, it was council's fault and it did approve the connection. Just last week Wellington's mayor chastised John Morrison for intending to coerce the then chief executive into doing what he (and presumably other councillors) wanted with regard to CCOs. She seems to think that it is not the role of the governance group to instruct the chief executive with regard to their wishes. We appear to have the same sort of muddy thinking taking place in Porirua. It is time our elected representatives understood that their role is to decide on the desired aspects of our city's future, following competent advice from the chief executive, and hold him accountable for making it happen''. That means informing the chief executive that his position is on the line if he fails to deliver. With serious failures being made public on a regular basis it is time our chief executive was put on the spot to deliver a regime of competency, rather than the incompetency which seems to have become a standard when major matters are under consideration. BRIAN COLLINS Papakowhai Pat on back Brian Collins (July 16) says our elected councillors have no right involving themselves in the debate over the future configuration of local and regional government. In a tactic commonly employed by people defending spurious arguments, Mr Collins proceeds to quote from legislation as if that will trump common sense. It does not. Mr Collins has it exactly wrong. If our mayor and councillors were not deeply engaged in this important debate about the future governance arrangements for our city and region, it would be a dereliction of duty. TRISH LLOYD Whitby Humane ways to eradicate pests I read the article (July 16) regarding Jenny Brash's crusade'' against the Canada geese with, well, sadness. Unfortunately, pest species in this country do need to be controlled, but the methods by which that is done still need to be humane and done with as little suffering as possible. The article mentioned the clubbing that occurred in Canterbury and North Otago -- obviously disgusting and cruel (pests or not, they're still living, breathing animals). But to suggest that the method of catching them and gassing or- Stolen crosses Last week's story about stolen roadside crosses con- tained inaccurate infor- mation about one of the crosses. Deane Wilson's cross was taken on June 11 from Takapu Rd in Grenada North, not in May from Churton Park. We apologise for any distress the error caused.
July 16th 2013
July 30th 2013