In­fe­rior road seals

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -


De­spite pub­lic op­po­si­tion, Porirua City Coun­cil con­tin­ues to use in­fe­rior ma­te­ri­als to re­seal Porirua’s roads, the lat­est ex­am­ples be­ing Spin­naker Drive and The Main­sail in Whitby.

De­vel­op­ers cre­at­ing sub­di­vi­sions in Whitby are re­quired by PCC to seal new roads in hot mix which is su­pe­rior for low tyre wear, low noise, re­duced fuel us­age and dura­bil­ity, but when it be­comes their re­spon­si­bil­ity to resur­face, they use the cheap­est ma­te­ri­als they can source. Talk about dou­ble stan­dards.

Mean­while, our cars, car­pets, lawns and gar­dens are dam­aged by masses of resid­ual stones gen­er­ated by the tar and chip seal – for sev­eral kilo­me­tres each side of the work – and the additional noise gen­er­ated by this ex­tremely coarse ma­te­rial im­pacts on the quiet en­joy­ment of our prop­er­ties.

Peter Bai­ley, the gen­eral man­ager re­spon­si­ble for road main­te­nance, is to­tally un­sym­pa­thetic. His main con­cern is achiev­ing the max­i­mum me­tres of re­seal­ing for his bud­get dol­lars and he wheels out the stan­dard ex­cuse of hav­ing to charge higher rates if they use bet­ter sur­faces. As if we don’t pay high enough rates al­ready in this sub­urb to jus­tify ac­cept­able road­ing sur­faces.

Let us hope that PCC is con­sis­tent in us­ing these Third World ma­te­ri­als when it comes to re­seal­ing the roads out­side res­i­dences of our coun­cil­lors and those ex­ec­u­tives re­spon­si­ble so they are more sym­pa­thetic of our com­plaints.

PETE JENK­INS, Whitby. Coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture port­fo­lio holder Anita Baker re­sponds: This is the third time the coun­cil is re­spond­ing to Mr Jenk­ins’ let­ters on this sub­ject. Per­son­ally I think our roads in Whitby are good. We have had some is­sues around the lake but these have been fixed.

In the end this comes down to af­ford­able and ac­cept­able lev­els of ser­vice. The coun­cil could use hot­mix sur­fac­ing but this costs a lot more money (and Mr Jenk­ins is not cor­rect that de­vel­op­ers are re­quired by the coun­cil to use hot­mix).

The coun­cil con­tin­u­ally has to de­cide where ratepay­ers’ money is best spent. Some, like Mr Jenk­ins, would like more ex­pen­sive roads – oth­ers do not agree. We are now re­view­ing the city’s Long Term Plan so if res­i­dents agree that more money should be spent on roads, then this is a good time to have your voice heard. Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil bio­di­ver­sity im­ple­men­ta­tion team leader Ali­son Davis re­sponds: The big­gest prob­lem pre­sented by the gorse vig­or­ously re-sprout­ing in the burnt ar­eas at Whi­tireia Park is the in­creased fire risk that it will present.

It takes 20-30 years for less fire­prone na­tive plants to emerge from un­der the gorse – and if there are more fires in the mean­time, re­gen­er­a­tion could take much longer and the fire risk could re­main for decades. So by con­trol­ling the re­growth of the gorse, we can es­tab­lish na­tive plants more quickly and re­duce the fire risk.

The her­bi­cide that will be used – met­sul­furon – is of low tox­i­c­ity to hu­mans and land-based an­i­mals and when mixed with water in ac­cor­dance with la­bel in­struc­tions presents neg­li­gi­ble risk to hu­mans and land-based an­i­mals sit­u­ated out­side the des­ig­nated spray area.

The sites that will be sprayed are all more than 300 me­tres from res­i­den­tial ar­eas and spray­ing will be kept well back from sen­si­tive ar­eas such as the coast and wa­ter­courses.

We’ll re­duce the risk of un­wanted spray drift by only spray­ing in suit­able weather con­di­tions. PCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son re­sponds: The coun­cil con­sid­er­a­tion of the pur­chase de­ci­sion in­volved com­mer­cial dis­cus­sions which need to be un­der­taken out of a pub­lic fo­rum in or­der to safe­guard the in­ter­ests of res­i­dents in en­sur­ing the best pur­chase price is achieved.

The pump sta­tion that Mr Collins refers to was built on the then Whitby Golf Course land dur­ing the time when the Hutt County Coun­cil was the lo­cal au­thor­ity some 30 years ago. The golf course was planned to be part of Whitby in­def­i­nitely, although its de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial as hous­ing land was pro­tected in the District Plan and that is the use the land is be­ing cur­rently con­verted to by a sub­se­quent owner of the land.

While the golf course re­mained the site of the pump sta­tion was rea­son­able, be­ing dis­creet and close to the main ar­te­rial net­work tak­ing sew­er­age to the treat­ment plant at Ti­tahi Bay. With the change of land use to hous­ing the pump sta­tion needed to be in coun­cil own­er­ship and the price paid re­flected the de­vel­oped value of the ad­ja­cent land. Re­serve con­tri­bu­tions are taken to pur­chase or de­velop re­cre­ation as­sets rather than sew­er­age pump sta­tions and the very fine re­serve net­work in Whitby is tes­ta­ment to the qual­ity of the work done by the de­vel­op­ers and the coun­cil in Whitby over many years.

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