Beach security queried
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.