Assessing the value of heritage
Graye Shattky asks in his recent column why we are losing our heritage buildings. Another question he could ask is why we don’t lose other things of significant value that also define us as a people. The answer in simple terms is that people have differing value systems. Some value new designs, others value older styles whether it be buildings or works of art. Why is a Graeme Sydney art work under no threat of being neglected or destroyed? We all know the answer to that. Mr Shattky presents us with a moral dilemma. Is the preservation of a heritage building more important than warm housing for the elderly? Is preserving a landscape from development more important than affordable housing for the less well off? Should we as a society spend scarce capital on a scanner for Dunstan Hospital or on restoring those things we now call heritage? I suggest that as long as we demand that other people must preserve “my” values we will continue to lose those things that are indeed important. We are often told that there are between 30,000 and 50,000 people who strongly support conservation values in New Zealand. If all those locally and nationally who support conservation on other people’s land, such as Forest and Bird, donated the equivalent of a tank of petrol annually there would be more than sufficient money ( $3 million to $5m annually) to buy and preserve heritage values that the Department of Conservation can’t. If we don’t follow that or a similar line we condemn these so-called intangible values to pictures of history.
Gerry Eckhoff Reports in our papers from the Vincent Community Board meeting is that disorderly behaviour and wilful damage has decreased in Alexandra, says Senior Sargent Ian Kerrisk. What about: Disorderly behaviour at the bottom end of Tarbert St in which the police responded twice ( ODT, August 21)? and wilful damage around Orchard Drive area ( Mirror, August 22)? As the pie cart is not operating during these times and alcohol is involved who are you going to blame for these incidents, Mr Kerrisk? Why is the finger being pointed towards the pie cart and its owners, considering they are not licensed premises? It seems to me that the powers that be are looking for a scapegoat for problems they can’t fix. The owners have acted responsibly about any problems in their area in the past. Answer this Mr Kerrisk please, what deterrents are in place to stop such behaviour and in general why are bar managers allowing patrons to be so intoxicated considering alcohol is not to be served to drunks? Eileen Porter
Roxburgh Response from Central Otago Police Sub Area Supervisor Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk I agree that the Alexandra Pie Cart is a well-run local business. As previously reported by your paper, during my comments to the Vincent Community Board I was very careful to make clear that police have no criticism of the pie cart operators. Alexandra’s 26.7 per cent overall crime decrease during July may have many reasons. Preventing crime needs a community response and police work closely with our community. Licensed establishments are regularly visited by police to prevent intoxication by their patrons and highly visible patrolling is conducted by police around Alexandra. People are also no longer congregating in the town centre after the licensed premises close, resulting in amarked decrease in anti-social offending when compared with the same time last year. What is most important though is that the combined crime prevention work of police and community is ensuring Alexandra remains a great place to be.
Cromwell pays its way
There are some lines in the former Central Otago District Council Mayor’s column last week ( Mirror, August 22) that are untrue and deserve a response. He supports the election of councillors at large as against the current ward system and suggests that if elected at large, councillors would not have let Cromwell hog all the resources while the Teviot Valley and Maniototo went downhill. This is not true. Nothing has been taken from other wards to boost Cromwell. I would suggest the opposite is true. Rates for instance are split as follows: ward rates are set by the local community board for water, wastewater, parks and such-like and stay in the ward. District rates for things such as roads, libraries, waste collection are set by the council and are comprised of three parts – a fixed charge in which we all contribute the same amount, a percentage based on land value and a percentage of capital value. Given that an average home in Cromwell sits on land worth four times that of one in Roxburgh or Ranfurly and the capital value is near twice that of the other two towns, it is easy to calculate that a greater share for each household of the council’s funding goes down the river and not up. Perhaps in his many years on the council and nine as mayor, Dr Macpherson should have addressed the problems he sees now. Gordon Stewart CODC councillor