Some landowners manage cattle properties that extend to opposite sides of the disused railway corridor to Thames that is now part of the very popular Hauraki RailTrail network.
Consequently there are now numerous farm tracks and cattle races etc. built across and even along sections of the corridor.
This land is of course owned by the taxpayers of New Zealand, and now that the corridor is leased from KiwiRail by our councils, it is funded by all local ratepayers.
I am not privy to the negotiations that took place between councils and landowners but the result has created what is very probably the worst section of a family grade cycle trail in New Zealand.
However I must stress that these comments are primarily about the first half of the section; because as one nears Paeroa, there is an improvement.
Why is this so? Because many farm-style metal gates have been installed at considerable ratepayer cost across the corridor thus providing excellent cross use to occasional farm workers and their stock, but leaving narrow gaps for we much more numerous cyclists. Furthermore, these narrow gaps were fitted with concrete judder bar cattle stops.
In the first 16 kilometre section south from Thames there are 39 judder bars that we cyclists must navigate.
They are dangerous, they frighten children, the ever growing number of cycling newcomers and those re-learning to cycle after many decades absent from the pastime.
I know from fellow users that accidents have happened and have had three, fortunately minor injuries, myself. In total there are 56 judder bars between Thames and Paeroa.
Most annoying is that a substantial number of these cattle crossings are very infrequently used, thus many of the obnoxious gates could simply be left open so that cyclists can bypass the hated judder bars.
Some crossings are already closed to cattle by electric wires placed along the corridor, so these stupid gates serve no useful purpose. Indeed, a number of thoughtful farmers, especially those nearer Paeroa have had the initiative to leave them open.
For this, a sincere thank you; it makes for a much more pleasant and safer ride.
It does raise the thought that the Hauraki District Council has enormously better management than Thames Coromandel D.C.
Or did the latter have to deal with selfish and difficult landowners?
Pertinent Thames businesses may be losing a substantial share of RailTrail-encouraged revenue, and probably more so when the new (highly recommended) sections from Kopu to Miranda are opened.
We cycling groups are aware of the substantial inputs we have on the earnings of the businesses we prefer to visit, often in sufficient numbers to ensure a very good day’s income.
At a time when farmers are getting so much bad press, surely it would have been wise not to have upset so many local (some of whom are highly respected farmers) and big city cyclists.
Certainly a small number of landowners appear to have seriously let your confre`res down.
Derrick Rowe, Thames
habitats and human communities are future proofed as far as possible.
Kate Donoghue *Ed’s note: The letter was penned by Alastair Brickell - a production error omitted the author’s name.
Increasing global temperatures melt ice. Melted ice flows into the oceans and raises sea levels.
The reason to be concerned about rising sea levels is not the current rate of sea level rise. It is because, if the ice that is currently above sea levels melts, sea levels will rise substantially. Greenland’s ice cap is melting - sciencealert.com/greenlands-coastal-ice-caps-passed-a-scarytipping-point-and-none-of-us-evennoticed. If all of it melts then sea level will rise by about seven metres. Ice in other parts of the world is also melting.
None of the above facts require you to believe that human emissions are the cause. Facts are just the facts.
Because the change is currently gradual, rising sea levels are not an immediate concern, but they are a long-term one.
Your mystery correspondent accused Eugenie Sage of the Green Party of being unaware of important science. Unfortunately, it is your mystery correspondent who is unaware. She/he has their facts wrong.
David Haynes, Hahei *Ed’s note: The letter was penned by Alastair Brickell - a production error omitted the author’s name.