Buses back af­ter com­mu­nity com­mit­ment

Rotorua Daily Post - - OUR PEOPLE - Ser­vice through Ford­lands to re­sume af­ter pro­posal to work with youth

Bus ser­vices will re­turn to Wrigley Rd af­ter a “mas­sive turnout” at a meet­ing be­tween Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil and the Ford­lands com­mu­nity.

Ser­vices will re­sume from Mon­day af­ter a pub­lic hui held on Wed­nes­day saw all par­ties com­mit to work­ing to­gether to re­solve is­sues which had caused the ser­vice to be tem­po­rar­ily re-routed.

The Ci­tyride bus ser­vice has by­passed Wrigley Rd in Ford­lands since Au­gust 28, af­ter a “series of in­ci­dents” threat­ened the safety of drivers and pas­sen­gers.

Ford­lands Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion chair­woman Petrina Marsh said they had a mas­sive turnout at the com­mu­nity meet­ing.

“There were some great out­comes and we’re look­ing for­ward to work­ing with out­side agen­cies to work with some of the youth in our com­mu­nity to tackle the is­sue.

“We were pleased with how many peo­ple wanted to be part of the solution, from youth to kauma¯tua and had a good turnout from our el­derly and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the gangs.”

Those at­tend­ing all sup­ported the re­turn of the Route 04 bus ser­vice, in­clud­ing Bay of Plenty re­gional coun­cil­lor Lyall Thurston, who voiced his de­sire to work col­lab­o­ra­tively to see the bus route re­in­stated.

“We are eager to see this re­solved quickly, but we need con­fi­dence that both drivers and pas­sen­gers are safe.

“Pub­lic transport is vi­tal to this com­mu­nity, as peo­ple in this sub­urb have lim­ited transport op­tions.

“It is our pri­or­ity to work with the com­mu­nity and we have agreed to ad­dress the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion with ur­gency.”

Route 04 trav­els through Ford­lands and along Wrigley Rd, but was re-routed straight along Sun­set Rd, af­ter a series of in­ci­dents left a bus driver in­jured.

The at­tack­ers were iden­ti­fied as chil­dren — one as young as 8.

A num­ber of dif­fer­ent pro­posed so­lu­tions were raised, in­clud­ing a com­mit­ment for the com­mu­nity to work with the of­fend­ing youths to get them off the street and back into ed­u­ca­tion.

Ma¯ori War­dens of­fered to have a pres­ence on buses over the com­ing weeks as well as in­creased po­lice pa­trol in the area. Thurston said, af­ter the com­mu­nity pro­vided re­as­sur­ance, re­in­stat­ing the ser­vice along Wrigley Rd was the most favourable op­tion. “The com­mu­nity has taken own­er­ship of the is­sue and we have as­sured them that we will sup­port this 100 per cent. “To achieve this we will be work­ing with the Ford­lands Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers and the Ma¯ori War­dens and con­firm­ing their sup­port of our ef­forts.” The coun­cil said re­in­stat­ing the ser­vice would re­quire the con­tin­ued sup­port of the com­mu­nity and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Once the coun­cil has con­firmed the pro­posed ac­tions will be met, a rec­om­men­da­tion will be put for­ward for the bus ser­vice to re­turn along Wrigley Rd ef­fec­tive from Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 1.

Ro­torua po­lice are sup­port­ing the coun­cil, the bus ser­vice and the com­mu­nity to­wards a res­o­lu­tion.

Area com­man­der Anaru Pe­whairangi said po­lice had re­ceived re­ports of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour on the Ford­lands bus route, along with one re­port of an as­sault.

“Po­lice are com­mit­ted to work­ing with our part­ners, in­clud­ing the coun­cil and the bus ser­vice, so all mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can feel safe and be safe as they go about their daily lives.”

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