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The Press – Yardley column. Feb 16

A cycling city.

Cr Aaron Keown’s propensity for kite-flying defies all limits, but the free-ranging councillor might have finally stumbled on a nugget of common sense. Keown is right. The $69 million package of 13 city-wide cycleways is a stirring proposition that should be actioned.  Enough of the lip-service and the lofty 30-year strategic plans. Enough of the faffing about.  City Hall could pave our roads in reports, given their compulsive obsession with producing weighty, worthy dust-gathering tomes, that deliver buggar all.  Let’s just do it. Spread over three years, which is as long-term as we are allowed to think in Christchurch, the annual funding provision of $23 million, wouldn’t necessarily require a rates increase. It’s a question of priorities. This portfolio of signature cycle routes would immeasurably enhance our credentials as a cycling city. Separating bikes from the general traffic flow benefits all road users. Similarly, a network of separated commuter cycle routes is needed. The CCC and SCIRT must step up their efforts to identify gift-horse opportunities to incorporate separated cycleways into the road reconstruction programme. SCIRT’s Angus Bargh cites the shared-use foothpath on Fitzgerald Ave as a recent achievement. May it be the first of many.

Dare to Dream.

What a pack of sad-sack, self-defeating gloomsters we have in Picton. This week’s public meeting in Picton was dominated by local business people predicting 80% of Picton’s businesses would go bust if the ferry terminal shifts to Clifford Bay. Even the Marlborough Mayor appeared to indulge in the chicken-little rhetoric.  Perhaps this slavish dependence on the ferry trade, explains why Picton remains the ugly duckling of South Island Tourism – a scuffed, second-rate, drive-through port town. It’s failure to blossom into becoming a premium destination in its own right, is the product of benighted thinking. Picton should be so much more. A job-rich, beautifully developed resort town, capitalising on its world-class natural wonders.

Swamp politics.

Boy, Winston can certainly pick them.  In the lead-up to the 2011 Election, a revitalised Peters remarked to me, ‘That fella Prosser, from North Canterbury….he’s a great prospect. A smart chap.” The good people of the Waimakariri thought otherwise, with only 538 voters entrusting Prosser with their electorate vote. But the double-dipping perversities of MMP ushered Prosser to  Parliament via the party list. Prosser continues NZ First’s long legacy of paddling in the swamp of race-baiting.  What amuses me is that Prosser got so enraged after being barred from taking a pocket knife on a plane. I would have thought  loose-cannon curmudgeons, demanding they have the right to be armed with a knife in-flight, would be prime candidates for the “no fly” list. Would you want to be sitting next a knife-wielding hothead at 35,000 feet ?

( First published in the Weekend Press. Feb 16) 7031646

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1 Response »

  1. What a hypocrite Keown is! I remember him going on about what a waste of money $30 on bus lanes was, but now’s he’s saying more than double that on cycleways is a good idea?!

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