Whangarei mum demands crossing

By Lindy Laird

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A concerned mother says the Whangarei District Council is showing a lack of concern for children's lives by saying no to requests for a pedestrian crossing outside Totara Grove Primary School.

"Little children have to make big life decisions every day of the week just after 3pm when they have to run the gauntlet," Bridgette Henare said of busy Corks Rd.

During a public forum at the last meeting for the year, Ms Henare appealed to the council to consider children's safety when making its funding decisions.

"Whether or not the budget allows, children's lives are at stake here," she said.

Councillor Kahu Sutherland agreed the Tikipunga school had "a hell crossing - this one needs to be prioritised".

But the council's hands were tied, rather than its ears not hearing, Mayor Morris Cutforth told the Advocate.

Putting pedestrian crossings at a number of urgent sites was among work deferred until the next financial year, in all a $26.5 million bundle of rain-checked infrastructure and works projects.

At its December meeting, the council formally agreed to defer those projects because of expected sales of some council-owned properties not going ahead, the proceeds of which were expected to go into the works budget.

Mr Cutforth said that while his sympathies were with the Totara Grove school community, it was also "unfair if one school jumped the queue".

Ms Henare, whose four children crossed busy Corks Rd on school days for the past few years, said the Denby Heights housing subdivision, Spedding Rd bypass and increased traffic to the Tutukaka Coast meant a higher number of vehicles were being shunted along the road.

School principal David Hain said the safety and traffic-flow problems would soon be compounded by a large subdivision being developed, with its access road off Corks Rd right beside the school.

He suggested a "kea crossing". "It only requires an island, a couple of painted lines on the road and two posts."

- Northern Advocate

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