Colonial Knob mountainbike track given belated council support
Fluoride supporters given short shrift
Rob McIntyre is like a child on Christmas Day.
The Mana Cycle Group, of which McIntyre is president, was one of the big winners when Porirua City councillors considered council officers’ responses to the draft annual plan last Wednesday.
The group have bold plans to build mountainbike tracks below Colonial Knob and were seeking council approval and funding.
Their request for $40,000 was rebuffed when the draft annual plan was released last month.
But a compelling submission by McIntyre and his group during recent hearings swayed councillors, who have diverted $40,000 from the Bothamley Park restoration project.
‘‘We’re really pleased. There’s been a lot of interest and now we can really make things happen,’’ McIntyre said.
The $40,000 would enable the group to get started on the ‘‘easy’’ track from Raiha St through to Spicers and allow a strategic plan to be developed, he said.
It is hoped to begin that track in August.
Then the group will look at a track uphill from Camp Elsdon.
Further funding opportunities could now be sourced with confidence because the group had the council’s backing, McIntyre said.
Other recommendations from officers included:
More investigation into a splash pad in Porirua, which could cost $450,000 if built at Aotea Lagoon or $762,000 at the Aquatic Centre.
Consideration of a cross harbour walkway/cycleway connection.
Consideration of the appropriate future of the Cable House (above the beach in Titahi Bay).
Exploring a relationship with the Shine education initiative.
Investigating the need for a fully fenced playground at Te Rauparaha Park.
Liaise with Rotary Club of Porirua on the building of a sound stage at Aotea Lagoon.
last Wednesday, Porirua mayor Nick Leggett proposed that the amount the council gave to Wellington Free Ambulance be increased to $30,000. The current annual allocation is $7000.
This was passed unanimously, although councillor Ken Douglas said it raised a wider issue.
‘‘ Contributions to Wellington Free Ambulance could fall from central government on to ratepayers and I have serious questions about this,’’ he said.
The only issue of contention that required a vote was the decision to contribute to the Regional Amenities Fund.
Leggett proposed the figure of $144,000 in the draft annual plan Porirua City councillors are fully supportive of their officers’ recommendations about fluoride in the city’s water. It was noted at the draft annual plan discussions that the council supported the Ministry of Health recommendations, which allow for safe levels of fluoridation.
There are no plans to make changes to the council’s policy.
Anti-fluoride campaigners – nearly a third of the 52 submitters – made lively be reduced to $50,000, but four councillors – Denys Latham, Izzy Ford, Tim Sheppard and Bronwyn Kropp – argued there should be no payment towards this fund.
Ford said after the meeting that residents of the eastern part of the city would not get anything from the council’s support for Te Papa or Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.
‘‘ Surely some of these attractions can pick from a large pool of funding,’’ she said.
‘‘To me it seems sensible to put money into something local.’’
It was also recommended that submissions during the hearings.
The campaigners were not in favour of a public referendum on the issue.
An email to Porirua City councillors from one of the submitters, Mary Byrne, said the campaigners preferred a tribunal-style hearing on the subject, as had happened in New Plymouth and Hamilton.
‘‘The council has no right to cause harm, even if the public is unaware of harm,’’ she said. the flooding situation in Hongoeka be addressed, but more than the planned $50,000 was going to be needed.
Chief executive Gary Simpson said funds would have to be diverted from the village planning budget.
The future of the Marines Hall in Titahi Bay would be discussed at a later date following public consultation, Leggett said.
The annual plan will formally adopted on June 25.
Izzy Ford: What about residents in the east?
Ken Douglas: Who should pay for Free Ambulance?