Penny’s Piece December 2014

R_PennyGaylorSaving our Capital Connection

A group of us organised a Public Meeting for last week as part of the continued fight to save the Capital Connection.  Held in the Otaki Railway Station building, the Otaki meeting was one of a series in each of the Kapiti and Horowhenua towns where the commuter service picks up passengers. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written in my various columns about the threatened closure of our commuter train service.  But as the dedicated users and supporters expressed at the Public Meeting last week, we are not going away, nor is our commitment and enthusiasm for campaigning to save our train. The meetings endeavoured to foster debate, mobilise community action, and update people on what they can do to express their views to central government. The need to transport workers from our local towns to the employment in Wellington remains, and until the mammoth Kapiti and Wellington expressway roading projects are completed the need for managing road congestion remains.

However, the imperative for environmentally sustainable transport options escalates.  The use of public transport is growing internationally, and we too should be securing and future proofing the use of our railway services for public transport; not wiping it out. Government, central and local, rightfully constantly insist that employment and a high waged employment market will secure better standards of living for kiwis.  And here we have a commuter service that supports locals getting to employment in Wellington’s CBD, to what in many cases are undoubtedly higher salaries than what they must be able to earn in the likes of Otaki, Levin and Shannon, and delivers them safely in a more environmentally sustainable mode than a mass of vehicles clogging up the highway. The Capital Connection really does offer the dream solution.

Protecting our dunes

All through our summer holidays, people will flock to our beautiful local beaches and the Council’s defined beach access-ways are there to help prevent dune plants being trampled. People may think it’s fun or no harm to go over the dunes but they are the best natural defence we have against coastal erosion. Staying on marked tracks is important to protect the thousands of native spinifex plants that Council and restoration groups like the volunteers of the Waitohu Stream Care Group have planted to help stabilise the dunes and keep the sand on the beach. Exotic plants have colonised the dunes, but natives are better at grabbing the sand when it gets blown back up the beach, helping the whole dune ecosystem recover from prevailing storms.

Enjoying our break

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and hope you have a safe and fun time over the summer months. I’ll be home all through the summer break so if you need to get a hold of me, please don’t hesitate to call, 364-7534, or email penny.gaylor@kapiti.govt.nz.

 

Take care, Penny