Oh my God what a wonderful summer it has been, it would have been the best I have had for many years. Personally I have been kept busy helping out at Lake Karapiro driving an umpire boat for many secondary school rowing regattas. I don’t know how our country would be without the thousands of volunteers who help out at sport throughout the country. In saying that, volunteers are becoming a dying race and I don’t think I will be happy with the state of kids’ sport in 10 years’ time.
It’s time we did something about it now, I have said this many times before in this column, volunteers are not only topline rugby and netball coaches, they can be just helpers. Sweeping out sheds, putting up flags and pads in the early mornings, putting out the soccer nets for the soccer teams, managing different kids’ sports events – there’s not much to it. Parents and grandparents even, who were thinking of semi-retirement, get your bottoms off the couch and volunteer. It’s a great social activity as well, you can make some good friends on the sidelines of the field, pitch or court.
A couple of months ago I mentioned the local ride share service which Auckland Transport are running in Devonport. This may now be of interest to you all, last October the Local Board were told that Auckland Transport had budgeted in their business case for the ride share, that there would be a subsidy of $14 per person and they were expecting 1400 rides per week. This being a total subsidy cost per week of $19,600.
This is a joint venture between Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Authority. Early in April, Auckland Transport reported back to the Local Board on the ride share’s first four months of operation. Using the same numbers of $19,600 per week, that actual subsidy over the four months per ride was $41.48. I’m not sure whether this includes normal business costs such as insurance and depreciation which would of course be in addition to this sum. The whole idea behind this subsidised scheme was to reduce congestion around the roads in Devonport, which I can tell you, first hand, has not happened. The average number of riders per booking being 1.15 persons this scheme has actually increased congestion, as the vehicles normally return empty. The home base for these vehicles is actually in Diana Drive in Glenfield, a long way from Devonport. Auckland Transport has told my impeccable source, that they plan to run this for 12 months. That is a subsidy of 52 weeks of $19,600 which is a staggering amount of $1,019,200.00 – the way I see it, it is irresponsible of Auckland Transport to continue to run this trial and it should be dropped immediately.
There used to be a bus service that ran to and from the ferry building in Devonport, arriving in time to let people catch the scheduled ferries and collecting passengers on the return trip. I have it on good authority that the buses that now run to the ferry building actually leave before the passengers have disembarked from the ferry. Here’s a thought, how about we get the buses to return to providing a service to coincide with the departures and arrivals of the ferries, surely that would get some of the commuters off the road?
It seems that Ports of Auckland have got their way over the concrete mooring dolphins, 90 metres off Queens Wharf, hence an encroachment into the Harbour of another 90 metres. This is even after Mayor Goff stated that on his watch there would be no more encroaching into the Waitemata Harbour by Ports of Auckland. I heard him on the radio last month, saying that this would be a temporary encroachment and would be removed after other wharf facilities were completed to enable us to take these mega cruise ships. I see a Tui ad in this.
While we are talking about Ports of Auckland, I have it on very good authority and from impeccable sources that the three huge cranes that miraculously appeared overnight at the Ferguson container wharf have not been able to be utilised due to the instability of the foundations to the wharf they are sitting on. The cost of these cranes was in the tens of millions of dollars, and they are sitting there, an eyesore, and unable to be used. I’d like to hear somebody from Ports of Auckland come out and explain to ratepayers what is going on here. Are we looking at more concrete going into our Harbour, Mayor Goff? Let’s be honest about this.
Just remember everyone, “Evil happens when good men do nothing”. Local Body Elections will be upon us before too long.