Beach se­cu­rity queried

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Gates left open at Ti­tahi Bay beach, which al­lowed car hoons and a heated con­fronta­tion be­tween them and a res­i­dent, was an iso­lated in­ci­dent, says Porirua City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son, con­fi­dent their beach ac­cess and light­ing poli­cies are work­ing.

Ti­tahi Bay Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Graeme Eb­bett, who con­fronted night-time beach dwellers on Jan­uary 11, claims gates at the north and south en­trances are ‘‘con­sis­tently’’ left open be­yond 9.30pm. Fur­ther­more, light­ing at the Bay Dr end is in­suf­fi­cient and has not func­tioned since be­fore De­cem­ber 28.

He has sent a for­mal com­plaint to Porirua mayor Nick Leggett and PCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son, as he did over the gates in May 2009, call­ing for flood­lights to be in­stalled.

Mr Simp­son says the di­rec­tional light­ing put in above the beach is in line with their CEPTED ( Crime Pre­ven­tion Through En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign) pol­icy.

Light­ing paths or beach ar­eas at night does not nec­es­sar­ily make them safer, peo­ple may not want a light shin­ing on them as they walk the beach and light spill can ruin the night sky, he says.

‘‘As far as the light­ing goes, there is a straight dif­fer­ence of view. We don’t ac­cept Graeme’s flood­light so­lu­tion.’’

The gate was not closed by 9.30pm on Jan­uary 11 be­cause the se­cu­rity com­pany con­tracted to do so had been called out to serve abate­ment no­tices else­where in Porirua. Mr Simp­son says he un­der­stands the gates are ‘‘gen­er­ally’’ be­ing shut on time.

Mr Simp­son says the coun­cil is work­ing closely with the pub­lic and com­mu­nity groups over a by­law for the beach and a full­time po­si­tion to deal with reg­u­la­tions and by­laws was filled late last year.

Mr Eb­bett con­fronted a group of peo­ple in cars do­ing donuts and driv­ing at speed on the beach af­ter 10pm, Jan­uary 11. At­tempt­ing to video their ac­tiv­i­ties, he says he was threat­ened and in­tim­i­dated.

‘‘These in­ci­dents [with cars on the sand] are oc­cur­ring more reg­u­larly. The gates are not locked when they should, es­pe­cially at the south­ern end and the light­ing seems ex­per­i­men­tal . . .’’

Mr Eb­bett would pre­fer a cell­phone-con­trolled, ris­ing bol­lard sys­tem in place to al­low boat­shed and other ‘‘le­git­i­mate’’ users ac­cess.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett ac­cused Mr Eb­bett of liv­ing in a ‘‘par­al­lel universe’’ and ‘‘play­ing games’’ in­stead of tak­ing a more col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach with PCC over the beach is­sues.

‘‘It would be nice if rep­re­sen­ta­tives of beach users get to­gether and tell us that this [dif­fer­ent light­ing and gate sys­tems] is nec­es­sary, but we do not want to be held ac­count­able in this way.’’ If PCC va­cated how­ever, then the Cob­ham Court build­ing would fall un­der cat­e­gory two, and still be suit­able for of­fices with­out re­quir­ing multi-mil­lion dol­lar strength­en­ing work.

The city coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing three op­tions: to con­struct a pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity to suit its needs; en­ter a new site as an an­chor ten­ant; or find space within an ex­ist­ing prop­erty that meets cat­e­gory one re­quire­ments.

If PCC was to bring its build­ing up to cat­e­gory one stan­dards, it would need to be done by 2014.

Es­ti­mates on a new build­ing are about $15m, so it’s likely PCC won’t be the owner or de­vel­oper, but a ten­ant.

It is im­por­tant to not ad­dress this is­sue ‘‘in iso­la­tion’’ but dis­cuss the op­tions dur­ing the LTP re­view and take into ac­count the broader im­pli­ca­tions of a new build­ing un­der city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion plans, she says.

‘‘In a new city cen­tre the space could look very dif­fer­ent, so there is plenty of work to be done yet.’’

Pub­lic feed­back is vi­tal to help them come to a bal­anced and long-term so­lu­tion, she says.

‘‘The coun­cil needs to be pru­dent and trans­par­ent. We want to make the right de­ci­sion on be­half of ratepay­ers as well as meet our re­spon­si­bil­ity for post-dis­as­ter man­age­ment in the city. We want to know what peo­ple think.’’

Col­liers In­ter­na­tional real es­tate agent Wayne Dyer says find­ing ten­ants for the Cob­ham Court build­ing could be tricky in to­day’s prop­erty en­vi­ron­ment. Porirua is ‘‘yet to es­tab­lish it­self as a hub for of­fices’’ and mod­ern em­ploy­ers may look ad­versely on a build­ing that is not up the high­est stan­dards.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett says their build­ing meets the code for any other use than cat­e­gory one, so ‘‘it is not more a dan­ger than many other build­ings around town’’.

He says while they have ‘‘lim­ited op­tions’’ in terms of other cat­e­gory one sites, these have yet to be scoped.

His­toric mo­ment: Ngati Toa’s ‘‘aun­ties’’ en­ter­ing the marae last Fri­day. From left, at the front, Karanga Metekingi, Ilta Wells, Kahuwaero Katene and Utanga Wi­neera (in the wheel­chair) lead the way.

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