Great initiative

GREAT to read about some kids building tracks and jumps and sorry to hear of the tensions surrounding their activities.

It’s amazing how productive kids can be when they are in control and when they get excited about something. Hopefully someone can channel their energies.

My son loves riding and is always trying to find a way to get to Onepu or Rotorua.

Travelling to bike trails is expensive and environmentally unsustainable so we are hanging out for closer options.

We wish the council and mountain bike club all the best for this initiative and will support them as we can.

F Shekell

Need to share resources

WANTED to say a big thanks to the everyone who has been putting in the effort to get our community some local space for mountain biking.

Mountain biking is such a wholesome, healthy, and family-orientated activity, that has the potential to help our community thrive both socially and economically.

Although some proposed locations may at first seem to conflict, with good design these conflicts can easily be mitigated. We need to push through the initial NIMBY (not in my back yard) resistance and aim for co-operation and sharing of resources to achieve a positive outcome for the wider community.

Active outdoor people have a lot in common, in their passion for nature and the outdoors, and we can surely find common ground to get in place some fantastic shared spaces, achieving all of the stakeholder’s needs.

I am excited to see what can be achieved at the council/community-owned Waiewe location, and am encouraged that there is engaged local support from young adults/teens keen to be involved to make it happen.

Well done Richard Hamer in bringing the groups together to work through the education, teething and timing concerns. I look forward to the time we have a far wider set of outdoor activity locations, within easy reach to all.

N Sandifer

Leave reserve to the birds

FOR 30 years I have enjoyed the tranquillity of the Waiewe Drainage Reserve and for the past 10 years put effort into assisting with restoring the area to a pleasant natural habitat with an all-weather walking track.

Already many species of birds are returning to the area – I saw a weka there this week and kiwi are known to pass through the area, and it has the potential to become the “Zealandia” of Whakatane attracting visitors from afar. I was therefore stunned to learn this week that there is a plan afoot to turn this popular walking area into a Mountain Bike Park.

Many thousands of hours of mainly volunteer work has gone into this project, not to mention the many thousands of dollars of ratepayers and taxpayers’ money.

It now seems that without consultation by the Mountain Bike Club or the Whakatane District Council the hard work by many hundreds of volunteers the biodiversity and tranquillity of the area are to be severely compromised if not destroyed.

Come on Whakatane District Council leave this area to the birds and assist the Mountain Bike Club to find a more appropriate venue.

Jacqui Hughes, ONZM

Reserve is a treasure

WE were rather disturbed when we read the lead article in Tuesday’s Beacon, “Mud Flies over Reserve.”

We live on Waiewe Street and our property backs onto the reserve. We have watched the reserve develop from an overgrown blackberry, gorse, willow, wattle and privet-ridden, muddy storm water easement to the beautiful restored area that it is now.

So many local people enjoy it daily and throughout the lockdown it was a very popular space for hundreds who walked, cycled and jogged through the track each day.

The restoration group and some locals, including a group from Trident High School, have worked for 10 or so years, and plan to continue to maintain this area for the benefit of all, including the birdlife.

The Waiewe Reserve is an ongoing project that is still very fragile. There is still a great deal on work to be done. A park bench is being erected in memory of some early residents who created a seat out of a fallen log and used to gather with their dogs.

There was no mention of this, or the birdlife, in the newspaper article.

A number of people wander through taking photos of birdlife that is now in abundance and some simply wander through to enjoy, to sit , relax and to share the beauty with their little ones. To take the best way home.

This reserve, so close to town, is a treasure to be enjoyed and respected … let’s keep it that way.

Pam Beaman and Doug McLean

Against the law to ride on footpath

Re: June Oswald’s incident. I too wish to express my concerns about the cyclist’s behaviour, not only on the Warren Cole Walkway. It is a great place for parents who I often see in the hundreds of times I have now enjoyed this amenity, riding with their youngsters in a safe environment for them to learn the skills of cycling.

But I too, have experienced the hundreds of times being overtaken from behind at speed by cyclists who seem to think I have eyes on the back of my head to see them approaching, and therefore there is no need to signal their approach.

These cyclists need to understand the person they are rapidly bearing down on likely cannot hear them approaching, often due to the wind, or like me, they have to wear hearing aids that amplify the wind noise to make matters far worse.

Years back, I was greeted from behind with a pleasant Asian voice, “I’m coming through” which was so nice and polite. Subsequently, the number of warning bells I have heard since would barely equal my fingers on both hands.

The majority come up behind with no warning, sometimes two abreast, which is a bit scary, even though I walk right on the left-hand edge by force of habit from my driving.

I even enquired at the cycle shop I usually pass, and they assured me all their cycles are sold with a warning bell.

Further on, on Valley Road to Arawa Road, there is a plainly marked cycle lane on the roadway, But no – a great proportion of the adult cyclists I meet ride on the footpath with the exception of the more serious cyclists out on their training runs.

Oh, and I have been a keen cyclist myself, having clocked up over 30,000 kilometres in my time, including a ride around Lake Taupo in 1997, and had never ridden on the footpath. It used to be against the law for the greater part of my life.

Norman Izett

Cyclist should be charged

ACCORDING to the Land Transport Act 1998, a bicycle is considered a vehicle.

Therefore, why is the cyclist who ran into and knocked over an elderly lady not being charged with careless use of a vehicle causing injury (which a haematoma surely is)?

The arrogance of this cycling duo beggars belief.

Lycra loather

Saddened but not surprised

I WAS saddened, but not surprised, to see that a woman had been knocked down while walking on the Warren Cole Walkway and I hope she is now recovered. This has nearly happened to me so many times I no longer walk there.

During this frustrating, boring (for all age groups) but necessary period, we have been encouraged to exercise where possible within our “bubbles”, for most this has been by cycling or walking. However, all should be able to do this safely but sadly this is often not the case, particularly when using a dual-purpose walkway/pavement.

Unfortunately the cyclists who do not either use their bells or call out when approaching, particularly from behind , are giving the rest a very bad name, and appear to be in the majority. This will ultimately lead to opposition to the creation of more of these facilities.

I agree it is good to see young people active but they should “play by the rules” and exercise social responsibility. I understand that the Waiewe Reserve has been considered by the Whakatane Mountain Bike Club as a venue for a mountain bike park and this is being considered by the council. At the same time consent has been given for houses to be built at the reserve entrance off Appenzell Drive reducing an access point. It will be difficult to establish an environment that is safe for all to use.

The Whakatane Mountain Bike Club say it would be professionally built and maintained and I am sure this would be the case, that where the teenagers have built was not one of the areas within the reserve identified by them, but they also state that they would refurbish the track made by the teenagers – which is accurate?

I feel for the many volunteers who have put hours of work, and not a little money into creating this beautiful, peaceful environment. I walk my dog here three or four times a week and it is a lovely space, however, over the last few weeks I have nearly been knocked over on a number of occasions by cyclists, branches are broken at the entrance to their bike track and little or no attention is paid to other users of the area. It is sad.

There must be solutions to this issue, which is not confined to this reserve. We all want to exercise safely, this is not a case of “not in my backyard” but how can the whole situation be managed for the benefit of all?

Maybe as a start:

  • The council could paint a white line down the middle of dual-purpose walkways/pavements (with appropriate stencils) to separate users
  • Pedestrians are more aware of the surroundings and all users
  • Cyclists sound their bells or call out, particularly when approaching from behind pedestrians or other users such as those in invalid carriages
  • During cycling proficiency classes, consideration of other road/walkway users is emphasised and the use of the bell is taught.

Hopefully if we all work together, we can find an outcome that will benefit all.

Gaynor Clements

Thought-provoking read

GREAT to have the Beacon in hard copy again. Thank you.

What a sensible and thought-provoking Youth Voice opinion from Joshua Carter in the May 6 issue.

I am bilingual by virtue of my birth and immigration and a te reo Maori speaker by choice. I can testify personally to the richness of learning a new language and the insight it gives to the culture of its people.

We are in the fortunate position of having te reo Maori readily available to us. I for one am happy that it is being used more and more.

Te kai o te rangatira, he korero.

Kia ora.

Hannele van der Molen

We need to go forward

ON Sunday morning I listened to Pastor Abby at the Whakatane Liberty Church. She based her service on Jesus turning water to wine when the supply of wine had run out at a wedding. She likened it to the stages of the life of a butterfly.

The past is a caterpillar (the old wine) and the present is a chrysalis of change and development and the butterfly as the future (new wine).

I see this as where we are in the stage of the coronavirus. Are we going to be a white butterfly or a monarch butterfly?

We, our churches, our businesses, our communities, our towns, our provinces and our country are in the chrysalis going through the metamorphosis of change. Are we going to be a common white butterfly or a monarch butterfly. The caterpillar can’t go back. Change is happening.

There are visionaries suggesting great steps to be monarchs.

Are our councils or government leaders presenting the visions to be monarch butterflies in the changed future or is it too late? We need to go forward with vision. We can’t go back.

Maurice Eddy