Constructive Construction?

Posted by Simon Gundry on 01/08/2014

Well it’s been a month now since I returned from my intrepid journey, taking a yacht across the Atlantic for an old friend. I see things haven’t changed around Devonport, or indeed the whole Peninsula area of the North Shore, as it seems like we are living in the middle of a giant construction zone.

As you probably know I have lived in Devonport my whole life, and there are sacred parts of this town I thought would never change. One of the last little bastions of green-ness has been changed forever, a view that bordered residential houses, the main road and the supermarket parking lot – the area I am talking about is Chinaman’s Hill, where you could walk from Victoria Road downhill and into Fleet Street by way of a small, steep walkway. Somehow, somebody in their wisdom, decided that the small walkway was inadequate and have replaced it with a winding concrete freeway for pedestrians, that my sources at the coalface at the Council assure me has cost over $200,000 to construct. I would like to know what consultation there was with the people of Devonport before this edifice to a faceless committee allowed this to happen. On closer scrutiny of this walk way, I see on the left hand side there is a drop off of over half a metre, which seems quite dangerous to me, for unwary women with prams and mobility scooter drivers especially. However I suppose a handrail will be constructed to make it all politically safe and correct.


I see also at the beginning of Memorial Drive in Devonport, two large stone walls have been erected, one on the left hand saying “Memorial Drive” and the other on the right hand side with a large red poppy. It seems all very nice and formal to show the entrance to our Memorial Drive, but is it really necessary? The locals know it is Memorial Drive, and the small plaques at the base of each Norfolk pine denoting each fallen soldier is a dead giveaway even to the thickest person. My men at the coalface at Council assure me the cost of these two walls was over $100,000. I wonder if the RSA had anything to do with it, I can fully understand their sentiments but at times things are better off left unsaid. Just to show that I am not always grumbling about works being undertaken around Devonport, I must say what a lovely job the contractors have made of repairing the retaining wall in Victoria Road that leads down towards the Picture Theatre. It is indeed a lovely job that these guys did. Again, my men at the coalface have indicated a price but I would say it was money very well spent.


I see the new wharf shed at Stanley Bay has finally been completed, but I see the guys reading the plans made a bit of a mistake by putting it the wrong way round. I mean to say the front should be facing the Bay and the back should be facing the Navy parking lot, and the reverse has happened so obviously they read the plans wrong. It’s not hard to read plans wrong, I have done it myself the odd time, but on this occasion they have done it with fairly dramatic effect. Also, did we really need a replacement shed there? As the old green shed was a bit of a classic. And, why does a shed like this small one, cost nearly a million dollars? It just seems that sometimes everything needs to be replaced, when it doesn’t really need to be, just for the sake of it. Now, Wynyard Street in Devonport - we need to keep an eye on it, it is one of the last little streets in our town where we have a bit of light industry happening. We don’t want all of Devonport to turn into what the main street has; a street of cafes, banks and real estate agents. We need a hardware shop, a tyre shop and garage, Kevin Johnson’s iconic boat building business and, of course, the Devonport Chocolate shop, along with the Aladino’s Products, the lighting shop, the dance studio and the accountant, and the physiotherapist. Wynyard Street should be saved forever as light industrial and commercial, so residents don’t have to leave the borough if they don’t want to. I see there is a move to change and tidy up Barry’s Point Road, which again would be a disaster.


Another thing we should keep a very wary eye on is the Fire Station in Devonport and the talk which continues to bubble away of relocation to the new Fire Station on Wairau Road, Glenfield. My sources at the Fire Brigade coalface assure me there are still rumblings and plans afoot to make the change at some stage to relocate. This would be absolutely catastrophic for the Devonport/Belmont community - obviously because there are a lot of wooden houses, and I am a true witness as to the speed of fire and damage it can cause in six minutes. This was the time it took to get a Fire Engine from Lake Road to my house, and not the 30 minutes or so it would take to get a fire truck from Wairau Road to Devonport in peak traffic. I would like to see Maggie Barry, with her strong voice for the North Shore, either confirm or deny there is a plan to move the Fire Station.

See you next month - Election month, and for God’s sake let’s make sure everyone is eligible to vote and votes to keep this country on a roll. There is no
doubt we have the finest leaders we have had for decades and our economy is bubbling away unlike so many other countries. Vote for Maggie, Vote for Blue.

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