This year the committee continued to focus its activities on initiatives contained in the Village Plan.
Our Village Plan guides much of the work we do in the community, bringing in support and funding from Porirua City Council (PCC) for our projects. This year our priorities with PCC were: the Muri Reserve community garden, road safety, and the Green and Gold trails.
We were very pleased when PCC confirmed its Village Plan 2015–2016 budget for Pukerua Bay would fund the community garden ($5,000), the Green and Gold Trails ($10,000), safety measures on Muri Road ($25,000) and the building of a foot bridge under the road bridge on State Highway 1 ($35,000). The last two items were unexpected and very welcome. Pedestrian safety on Muri Road was made worse in 2011 when the closure on the Muri railway station meant more people were walking on the road to and from the Pukerua Bay station in the dark. We have been asking PCC for years for safety measures on Muri Road, and are very pleased this will be done. In the absence of a safe pedestrian crossing across the main road by the shops, the bridge under the SH1 road bridge will provide a safe crossing option for people coming down Grey’s Road. These projects are expected to be completed by PCC this financial year (ending June 2016).
Unfortunately, one pedestrian safety project on which little progress has been made is the shared footpath and cycle track between the shops and Wairaka Road. We were expecting this to be done in the first half of 2015, and plans are ready for it. It has been held up at PCC by a lack of project management resources, and the Village Planning team is working to make progress on this for us.
The Green and Gold trails have been on hold for some time while we have focussed on other activities. However, the Te Araroa Trust has been funded this year to complete the trail along the escarpment and into Pukerua Bay, and we will work to connect this with the Green and Gold trails.
The resumption of work on the Te Araroa trail has changed our plans for part of our involvement in the trail. When Muri Station was closed, we were given the shelter on the northbound line for use in the community. KiwiRail moved it off the station and put it on a neighbour’s land, and we intended to use it as an shelter and interpretive centre along the trail. However, the Te Araroa Trust no longer needs it, and we now have to find an alternative use for it. Moving and renovating it will be expensive, and we have to decide on a suitable use for it.
We are currently considering a proposal from the Hall Committee to operate under the auspices of the Residents Association, rather than the school Board of Trustees. Our 2011 Village Plan includes support for the Hall Committee to improve the hall as a community resource.
This has been the major project we worked on this year, with Jonathan Harker and Geert van de Vorstenbosch leading the work on it. There is a keen group of people wanted to get started on the garden, but we have to negotiate with PCC to get access to the site and the right to use it for a garden. It appears likely that we will be given a licence to use the site for a garden, and we hope to be able to start work on it early in 2016. We have, with PCC’s help, negotiated access along the Muri Station platform to get materials onto the site. PCC has bought the materials needed to build a bridge from the platform onto the site, and will build it once we have the licence to use the site. The next steps are to confirm with Greater Wellington Regional Council that we can take possession of the remaining shelter building on the platform.
Local government amalgamation
This has taken up quite a bit of our time in the past few years, and this year was no exception. The Local Government Commission issued its proposal for the Wellington region, which we responded to. We surveyed the Pukerua Bay community, and included the views we received in our written submission on the proposal. We also appeared before the Commission to support our submission. In general, we supported the proposal, which has been our view for some time, but with a number of reservations to protect the Village Planning process and our access to local representatives. Although it seemed likely that the proposal would not gain enough support in a referendum to succeed, we were disappointed that support for amalgamation was not tested through a referendum.
Security around homes in Pukerua Bay come up as an issue at the end of 2014, with a number of burglaries in the village. Jonathan Harker organised for the Police to come to a community meeting to talk about Neighbourhood Support groups, and support people who wanted to set one up. The outcome of this meeting was that several streets (or sections of streets) now have Neighbourhood Support Groups established. If you are interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Support Group, please contact Senior Constable Simon Bygate (021 190 9637 firstname.lastname@example.org).
Once again, we supported the Beach Bash in early January, paying for publicity materials and helping distribute them around the community. This is still a popular event, and we will continue to support it.
This is an ongoing issue in Pukerua Bay, and we continue to look for opportunities to make it safer to travel through and around Pukerua Bay. As well as the initiatives funded through the Village Planning process, we are in communication with NZTA about safety at the southern end of the village. In particular, we want to reduce the speed of many vehicles entering town so they are travelling at the speed limit when they reach the Grey’s Road intersection. We have also had a proposal from a community member to improve pedestrian safety on Rawhiti Road outside the school, and we are pursuing that with PCC.
We are very pleased that work has started on building the Transmission Gully road. This community has fought hard for this for many years, and it will make travelling through Pukerua Bay much safer when it is completed.
The footbridge under the SH1 road bridge will also improve pedestrian safety, especially for people from Grey’s Road, Elizabeth Street and St Mary’s Estate.
The past 12 months have been relatively quiet for Civil Defence (this should be interpreted as a good thing!). There have been two events where Civil Defence was involved. In March the Porirua Emergency Response Team (PERT) carried out a citywide activation exercise. Many of the Civil Defence Centres (CDCs) around Porirua were activated for several hours to test the resources allocated for each CDC and communications with the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Members of the PERT team led the activation of many of the CDCs but some were staffed by either CDEM volunteers (those that have completed the basic training) and one was even run by members of the public. The Pukerua Bay CDC (Pukerua Bay School, Rawhiti Road) was opened and set up and communications with EOC were successfully established. The outcome was that most CDCs operated well and communications by and large are good.
The other event of note was the storm event of May 14th. The Porirua EOC was activated (without a Declaration) and PERT was again involved with manning communications at EOC and out in the field performing reconnaissance and sandbagging. Pukerua Bay was affected in the form of a sinkhole outside 4 Te Kura Rd, surface flooding and people not being able to get to work or get home due to flooding outside Pukerua Bay.
These types of events are good reminders for everyone to make sure their households are prepared to look after themselves if necessary. If you want more information on how to prepare your household have a look at the It’s Easy Prepared Households Edition (download a PDF copy here). If you’d like a hardcopy please feel free to get in touch with the Pukerua Bay Civil Defence Co-ordinators Geert van de Vorstenbosch (021 036 7606, email@example.com) or Robyn Moore (022 652 8608, firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also feel free to contact either one of them if you are interested in joining the Pukerua Bay Community Response Team or PERT.
Submissions to councils and other authorities
We made a submission to PCC’s Long Term Plan for 2015–2025, in which we encouraged the Council to make greater use of partnerships with community and groups, such as schools, to achieve their objectives. We also supported a gradual move to balancing the books, rather than a rapid balancing, which could reduce services.
We also submitted on the proposal to restructure local government in the Wellington region, and appeared at the hearings run by the Local Government Commission to explain our views.
We would encourage everyone in the community who is interested in the plans of local councils to review their proposals and make submissions on them, as residents can influence decisions, and councillors appreciate know what people’s view are — it helps them make their decisions.
We have run a couple of these to weed the garden at the intersection of SH1 and Wairaka Road, which have been sparsely attended by residents. Our latest attempt raised the issue of traffic safety when working next to the state highway, and we are now working with PCC to put in place a process that will allow us to have larger numbers of people working safely close to the state highway. This could result in greater involvement by the Council in these events.
I want to thank the committee members — June Penhey, Jonathan Harker, Geert van de Vorstenbosch, Pauline Morse, Kate Dreaver and Dagmar Pesendorfer — for their contribution this year. We hope to recruit some more members this year, as that will allow us to achieve more things for the community.
I also want to thank Porirua City Council for the support they give us. We have good relationships with the Northern Ward councillors (particularly Bronwyn Kropp who is our PCC Liaison Councillor who attends most of our monthly Committee meetings) and officers — particularly those in the Village Planning Programme — and their support allows us to achieve the goals established in our Village Plan. I also want to thank Regional Councillor Jenny Brash for her continued interest in what we are doing.
Iain MacLean, Chairperson
3 November 2015