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Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand, Lion New Zealand and Shockwave) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club.
I was going to come out this month with a bit of a bombshell, but I’ve been given a bit of a head’s up from this Magazine’s legal team that I probably shouldn’t go down that road until I have all my ducks in a row. But what I can tell you, is that it is something to do with Consultants, and the cost of Consultants in our lives these days.
It’s funny, because recently I was asked by a founding Devonport family to look at a family grave that had fallen into a state of disrepair. Part of the problem was the plasterwork was over 100 years old, and probably by using local sea sand, was starting to fall off the side of the grave marker. This had slightly tilted too, with the erosion of time. So, I went up there and had a look at the situation. After spending most of my life in the concrete construction and foundation trade, I thought an easy remedy would be to underpin the grave by digging down to solid ground, by hand, and placing concrete with a couple of bars of steel to rectify the failing situation. This was duly done, by myself and a young apprentice. It took us an afternoon last October. We used concrete from work we were doing in the area, which would have been ten times the strength of the concrete that would have been used over 100 years ago. Our next intention was to get one of my guys to chip back all the failing plaster, and completely re-plaster three sides of the grave marker to bring it back into first class condition. This again, would have taken no more than a day. All up, costs would have been pretty moderate.
Several weeks after I had done the underpinning job, I received a “STOP! STOP!” phone call from one of the founding family’s relations telling me the Auckland Council had got onto them and told them to stop work until they had given the Council the information of what was actually going on with the grave.
We duly spoke to the Council, who informed us that a Consultant had to be involved. The cost of this Consultant was several thousand dollars. So, now after meeting with the Consultant and the family, we were informed as to how to go about the works, which was exactly how I was going to do it anyway. What I do know is that the Consultant demanded a lot bigger fee than we, the actual contractors, will be paid for actually doing the work. How often do you see this scenario around our city?
Now we get on with the point of, again, parking meters. Could somebody please tell me what jurisdiction Parking Wardens have for wandering around the side roads, checking for expired registrations and warrants. Sure, I can understand them prowling the streets of the towns like Devonport, Takapuna, Browns Bay etc. the shopping precincts, picking up long stay parking and as a sideline, the warrants and registrations, but what jurisdiction do they have to be a kilometre or two away prowling the residential streets, keenly tapping their ticket boxes across their knees in anticipation of gathering a big haul. Can somebody tell me please, do they have a target to make in fines? Is there a bonus scheme for zealous wardens?
Another thing I am sick of, are these new New Zealanders smoking outside restaurants and bars and throwing their butts into the gutter. Recently I was sitting in a café in Devonport, and a new New Zealander was sitting in front of me having a cigarette and chucked his butt in the gutter. I picked it up and went to hand it back to him and he looked at me as though I was mad. I indicated to him that he should put it in the bin, but he turned his back and walked away. So I put it in the bin. I think we should all self regulate ourselves, and make sure we pick up rubbish and put it in the bin, even if it’s not ours, then pick it up – it makes the place look a lot tidier.
I have a few queries about what is happening around town…. One is Esmonde Road. What’s happening there, can somebody please tell me? That work was meant to be completed in December, according to the information board I read when I was again sitting in traffic. Also I have wind of a Devonport consortium going to Auckland Council with plans to build a three level carpark where the New World carpark is currently. I have it on good authority that this consortium will completely fund the project, therefore no money would be coming out of ratepayers’ pockets, in an attempt to get the parking right off the waterfront and in front of the Esplanade Hotel, and the ferry carpark. Then turning that lovely area into a park, for all to enjoy. At the moment, visitors come off the ferry and walk straight into a carpark. This carpark would be long term paying parking for people, and free for short time New World and Devonport customers. The way I see it, in Devonport, it is nothing but a free carpark for out of towners. Commuters who are not from Devonport are driving down and leaving their cars all day in free parks. It’s time they started paying for their parking. There are cars parked right along the waterfront as far as North Head – Devonport has become a long term parking spot. I’m over it, it’s time for a change.
Channel Magazine: Issue 74 March 2017