Keep Discovering

The Press- Yardley column. Feb 9

Saleyards Site Ripe for the Picking.

If ever there is a site that exemplifies the buttock-clench of civic embarrassment, the Addington Saleyards wins hands down.  Every time I drive past this  Deans Ave abomination, I have a Tourette’s-like impulse to discharge a few expletives.  It’s been well over a decade since the absentee Taiwanese owner, Ching-Ying Chiu, snapped up the site for $5.4 million dollars. Zoning battles raged with the council before Mayor Garry Moore grandly gushed in 2007 that he’d brokered a deal allowing the construction of luxury high-rise apartments. Five years on, with the financial crisis and the earthquakes, the state of stagnation remains.  The city council has confirmed to me they haven’t received  any consent applications to develop the site. The council’s enforcement manager, Gary Lennan , tells me that a fire hazard notice has been issued, it hasn’t been complied with, so the council is currently seeking a quote for the removal of the jungle of tumbleweed, and the costs will be recovered from Mr Chiu. Good luck with that! How can this wretched farce be resolved? Where are you, Mr Chiu? CERA’s Roger Sutton was challenged to compulsorily acquire the site last year. He won’t.  The notoriously non-communicative owner won’t even bowl that visual atrocity of a wall – our little Berlin , that sneers at Hagley Park.  If Mr Chiu can’t or won’t develop this prime piece of real-estate, our public authorities should have the courage to pounce. We need some regular “wins” on the road to recovery. Last year’s “early win” was the opening of the new AMI Stadium.  The saleyards site is ripe for the picking as 2013’s big win.

Scruff Justice.

So, one of our city’s finest cops has been hauled before court to plead guilty to assaulting an alleged criminal. Sergeant Craig Prior’s decision to grab him by the “scruff of the neck”, wasn’t professional, but entirely understandable. If some low-life  taunted me about  perving through and photographing my cellphone’s contents, after I’d accidentally left it behind, I’d  feel like punching his lights out. Yes, Sergeant Prior should be censured for failing to uphold “best practise”- to use a nauseating term. But to charge this cop, suspend him from duty and waste court time on such a trifling matter is extreme and absurd.

A Good Knight.

The nation farewelled our broadcasting lion yesterday. I first met Paul Holmes when, at 20, I became Newstalk ZB’s Overnight Host. He was an exceptionally generous coach and guiding force. On a local note, I’ll never forget Sir Paul’s abiding compassion, as we co-hosted the radio coverage on the morning of September 4, 2010,trying to make sense of the horror that had just monstered Canterbury.  Rest easy, Sir Paul.

( First published in The Press, February 9.)  7031646


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