Editorial: Decide now on tribute to Joshua

By Peter Fowler

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Having been a journalist for nearly 30 years I am hardened to most things, but there are still some events that make tears well in my eyes and make my heart sink.

So it was the morning 12-year-old Joshua Bennie died.

Two years later that grief is still raw, and has manifested itself in an ongoing debate in our paper and online over a floral tribute on a power pole near where Joshua's bike fatally crossed in front of a van. After following this debate closely in the week since editor Andrew Austin called for a solution, the issue has continued to fester, suggesting a lack of leadership.

What everyone on both sides of the debate are saying through our paper is they don't mind "something" at the scene of Joshua's death.

They particularly don't mind if that "tribute" helps remind other kids to be careful on the road so that Joshua's death is not in vain.

All that is needed is someone in a leadership position to help facilitate that tribute.

And that surely falls squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Barbara Arnott.

Mrs Arnott said last week a plaque should be placed on the school fence across the road, but the family and school say that wouldn't be effective because the fence is too low, taking us back to square one.

So come on, Mrs Arnott. Call a meeting of affected parties and help find a positive solution to an issue that continues to cause anguish for your constituents.

The parties all appear to agree on the right thing to do, but without your council's involvement they are "stumped." Apart from anything else, we owe it to little Joshua and his loved ones not to continue bickering over his death.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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