Letters to the Editor

Helensville bypass?
I cannot believe that the Bypass for Helensville continues to be discussed.  This tropic [sic] crops up with the elderly of Kumeu/Huapai and now in Helensvile [sic], from time not [sic] time but until such time that these communities can be economically self sustaining with populations similar to Huntley [sic] I would not expect it will ever be a NZTA priority.  Certainly any such bypass is not on the present NZTA 30 year wish list.
What has been discussed, and it is only talk at this point, is an alternate route North that connects the existing NW motorway with the Kaipara Coast Highway providing route diversity in the event of an issue with SH1 North of Auckland.  The intent being to provide connectivity with Wellsford and all points North in the event there are issues with SH1.  These hold ups have been increasingly evident over the past few years and when the present ongoing upgrades to SH1 have been completed one would expect that planning for this route diversity should be undertaken.
As to the unintended consequenses [sic] of this bypass, one should look to Pokeno and note that it has taken 30 years for the commercial centre of this township to recover form [sic] their bypass.  Perhaps someone is trying to drive down the value of commercial property in Helensville so they can increase their portfolio.
Brent Bailey

The arguments in favour of a bypass of the Helensville township has come up again because it is needed and a lot of residents acknowledge this. Brent Bailey, in his position as an elected member of the Rodney Local Board would do well to find out what the locals in Helensville really want. In June 2017 the Nor-West News reported that “The draft local board plan is out for consultation until June 30. A targeted rate where residents would pay more to help fund transport infrastructure has been proposed. The Rodney Local Board is proposing a targeted rate to get transport infrastructural issues, such as unsealed roads, fixed faster.
But it also had plans to pump more into parks, sport and recreation - with planned expenditure rising from $7 million in 2016-2017 to $8.9m in 2017-2018.
“Rodney doesn’t have a public swimming pool or multisport facilities, but previous work has shown a clear and growing demand for them,” the plan said.”
I doubt that these plans were ever the top priority for most Helensville locals, and if the interest in signing the TARRA petition is anything to go by they are still not.
Mr Bailey’s reference to Huntly is just nonsense. In 2015 Huntly had a population of 7,700, in 2017 Helensville had a population of 3080, in 2016 Kaukapakapa had 2979 and in 2013 Parakai had 1620. Even allowing for the difference in the census dates that still totals 7,679; I would expect that by now we would be well ahead of them in population!
As for Pokeno, which was taken off SH1 in 1995, barely 23 years ago, and in 2005 had a population of 500, the Pokeno Our Place website, http://www.pokenocommunity.nz/history.html, sheds some light on the town’s history. “By the mid-1960s, however, the pace of life in Pokeno seems to have begun to slow a little, with the population having reached a plateau and only a modest level of building activity. Between 1961 and the century’s end the village population settled between 500 and 600 and there seems to have been a gradual ebbing away of shops and services. That said Pokeno’s position as a refreshment stop on State Highway One cushioned it, to some extent, from downturns in the rural economy such as occurred in the late 1980s.
After more than a century as a popular rest stop on the Great South Road, Pokeno was bypassed by State Highway 1 in 1995. Before this an estimated 11,000 vehicles passed through the town each day. With the bypass some Pokeno residents predicted that the town would go into decline, such as had occurred with Te Kauwhata further south.”
According to Country Life, 10 April 2015, however “Pokeno is located off State Highway One, 53 kilometers south of Auckland. There were fears the village would die when it was by-passed by the motorway 18 years ago.
Dines Group project manager, Colin Botica says “We can’t construct the sections fast enough. As soon as we put them on the market, they’re going instantly.”
Now, it’s estimated Pokeno’s population will be between 5000 and 6000 by 2046.”
The size and history of Pokeno would appear markedly different to that of Helensville after all it is not passing motorists or tourists that are driving the Pokeno growth, but rather the development of sections in an area in which it is nice to live. Similar development has been taking place in and around Helensville and Kaukapakapa, however the township is suffering because of the heavy traffic passing through the centre of town. Any business operator in Commercial Road will tell you that it is hard to hear a customer, talk on the telephone or keep the shop clean from the noise and dirt created by a succession of heavy vehicles going past. A Dirtworks truck and trailer, a logging truck and trailer, a Winstone’s truck and trailer etc., none of which would ever use the “alternate route north” that Mr Bailey suggests, but would, I am sure, be happy to use a bypass between Mt Rex and the Parakai roundabout.
I, for one, would like to see Helensville’s main street made in to a nice place to work and shop, just like Pokeno. Helensville has always been a rural town, supported by the local and surrounding residents, it never has nor ever will be a tourist mecca. Helensville should be a destination town, not just a place to pass through because one has been told to take SH16 as an alternate route north, although this promotion will certainly make people more aware of Helensville and can only help local business.
Brian Hale

The TARRA petition requesting NZTA to construct a bypass is available at Helensville Copy & Print for those wanting to add their signature.

Christmas Parade Support
Letter to the Editor, 11th January 2018
Following our local Christmas Parade I couldn’t help but notice the absence of floats and participation by our schools and pre schools. In out area we have 6 preschools and 7 schools. Only 1 school (well done Helensville Primary) and 2 preschools (Thank you Sunnydays and Gumboots) entered our parade.
Each of any of these institutions is quick to expect Community Groups and Business to support their activities i.e. Gala/Agriculture Days, Sports events, Education Trips etc.. surely to gain support you need to give support.
I cannon believe that there are not parents / caregivers / supporters / or even senior students who given the information and encouragement would be more than willing to contribute.
There is a small group of hardworking locals who give their time willingly to organise these events and all that is asked in return is SUPPORT!!
Thanks, Yvonne Hilton

My Opinion - Health? Whose Health?
Letter to the Editor, 27th January 2018

The Helensville Community News

Re: In Support of ‘MY OPINION’ – Health? Whose Health?

Holly Southernwood makes a very important point in her opinion piece in your January 2018 Issue about implications for the community if it were to lose the existing pharmacy.
The pharmacy provides an essential level of health service in terms of advice and supply of over the counter and prescription medicines and as such is a vital contributor to the health and wellbeing of the community.
One wonders whether a decision by the Helensville District Health Trust that might result in the loss of pharmaceutical services to the community is consistent with the Trust’s vision ‘to be the healthiest rural community in New Zealand’.
Similarly one wonders whether a decision by the HDHT that resulted in the loss of pharmaceutical services to the community would be inconsistent with the Trust’s objective as stated in their Trust Deed ‘to provide services and facilities for the health and well being…to the South Kaipara Community’.
What in some situations may be a simple operational decision might be more complex when viewed from a governance perspective and the objectives of a Trust Deed.
We trust that those charged with decision making on behalf of the community hold the health and wellbeing of the community central in their decision making in this matter.
Yours sincerely
Bev & Tony Silvester-Clark
Helensville Residents

This month Chorus are laying Ultra Fast Broadband cabling throughout Helensville. This will mean the footpaths on both sides of the commercial area will be dug up, disrupting business access and activity. Recent fiascos in Northcote Point and Grey Lynn in the process of creating cycle ways have seriously jeopardised business viability, including contributing to the failure of iconic fashion house Andrea Moore. Auckland Transport is responsible for those situations and is responsible for our business footpaths in Helensville. It would seem that advocacy for our local business interests would be helpful.
Yet when I asked North West Country (Business Improvement District) about informing businesses of footpath disruption, and whether they were planning to inform property owners, the reply from Gary Holmes was “we are not involved in nor responsible for informing businesses or property owners of this government led initiative”. So who should their members look to for guidance and leadership?
Surely this is exactly what a business association is for. The Chorus personnel leading the Helensville project told me face to face in the street that Gary of the business community would be informing businesses.
Numerous anecdotes indicate that connecting to the new network once it is available is far from straight forward. It seems there will be no support from the BID for their compulsorily levied members. What are we paying for?  Are our representatives more focussed on bowing to Auckland Council than looking after the members who fund their existence?
Holly Southernwood

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