Editorial: From city parking woes to boiled eggs

By Anita Moran

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There's been a good selection of stories in our paper this week. Here are my thoughts on the good, the bad, the ugly and the quirky stories we have featured this week:

The good

I might sound like a broken record on this but I believe something needs to be done to rejuvenate the central city.

The downtown university campus, which has been talked about for several years, is one step closer after Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust announced it was contributing $15 million in funding.

The campus is proposed by the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Partnership (TTP), made up of four tertiary institutions - Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Waiariki Institute of Technology and University of Waikato.

The trust's funding joins the $15 million promised by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council through its Regional Infrastructure Fund, the donation of Durham St carpark land from Tauranga City Council, and financial support from the TTP.

It's hoped that over its two stages of construction, the campus would provide about 427 construction jobs and 272 tertiary operations jobs and mean more than $49 million in direct construction expenditures.

The campus is a great initiative and would certainly help bring the central city back to life.

Students living, working and spending money in the central city will be a positive boost.

Read more: Big benefits forecast for $15m boost to campus

The bad

In other central city news, city councillors this week put the brakes on the proposed free parking trial.

Shoppers will have to wait two months for the council to decide on free parking in the city centre despite a survey showing this was a big reason why people avoided going downtown more often.

A proposal to introduce two hours' free parking on streets and one hour in the Spring St parking building was defeated after the council decided it has not been given enough information.

The council eventually ended up agreeing to ask for more information after two earlier attempts for the three month trial to start next month were defeated.

Mayor Stuart Crosby is frustrated with the move to delay, saying the council should get on and do something because the issue has been discussed for the past five years.

The city centre is itching for action on this.

Surely a trial couldn't be that hard to implement and once under way it could hopefully give a clear indication of whether paid parking was the real issue keeping people out of the central city.

Read more: Parking trial delay irks retailers

The ugly

I'm used to not being cool. I've never been the most fashionable or trendy person and I am a bit of a stickler for the rules.

This week new figures revealed scooter injuries in the Western Bay rose from 116 at a taxpayer cost of $25,017 in 2011 to 347 at $106,702 last year.

The number of children getting injuries had almost tripled. The increase was greatest in 5-14 year olds, from 80 to 167 during that period.

Fractures to the arms, and head and facial injuries - particularly dental injuries - were most common, with some occurring when hand grips came off handlebars and when scooters folded unexpectedly, ACC said.

Safekids director Ann Weaver says although scooters provide children with valuable exercise, it is important to use safety equipment such as helmets, which are not mandatory for scooter users.

I hate it when I see children and adults on bikes, scooters, skateboards without helmets.

If they intend to share the road with motorists they need to take every safety precaution available.

Even messing around in the skatepark can cause serious injuries.

Parents hate to see their children hurt or injured, so why don't they all make sure their children have the best protection?

Apparently wearing helmets isn't cool, but it's not about being cool. It's about staying safe and preventing serious injury. People need to wake up and realise it is a simple step to help prevent avoidable injuries.

Read more: Scooter injuries triple in Bay

The quirky

New Zealanders seem to have a knack of breaking or creating odd world records.

This week, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic unofficially broke a world record by dipping toast into boiled eggs.

Two hundred and seven participants stood 10 to a table and, in time to a count over loudspeaker, dipped their toast soldiers into their soft-boiled eggs and ate.

Read more: Tauranga students break eggy world record

It will take up to eight weeks for Guinness World Records to go through the evidence the polytech provided and recognise the record. The polytech has to provide photographic and video evidence and independent official witness statements. Participants, who included students, staff and others involved with orientation week, had to be filmed entering and leaving the record area one at a time and filming had to be continuous.

The record stood at 178 and the team at the Polytech are positive they smashed the record.

I guess it is something each person could claim - they helped break a world record.

Well done team - it is one way to brighten the week.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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