Community pressure and opinion can be a powerful thing. Just ask Ian Stephenson, who started a petition to get the speed reduced outside Mount Maunganui College after 13-year-old Breeze Brunton was killed in June by a logging truck as she stepped out to cross Maunganui Rd.
Mr Stephenson, who with partner Rani Dhaliwal petitioned to get the speed reduced by setting up an online petition, said he was ``absolutely pleased' with the outcome. Up to 2513 people signed online and print-out petitions set up by the pair.
"It has been some four months and 320 contributing hours since the petition was started and today I feel we did what we set out to do.
"It wasn't even on council's agenda, it was only public opinion that swayed them to set it as an important subject, and made them aware of an issue that [otherwise] could have taken many years to address," Mr Stephenson said.
He said reducing the speed to 50km/h was just one measure of a package, that would help improve road safety.
Informing students of their responsibility to play safe on the road, and encouraging parents to travel other routes would require a "team effort".
"Driver education and testing needs to provide some emphasis on the issue of speed and appropriate behaviour outside schools."
Mr Stephenson said he did not believe there was enough planning in the original design and function of drop off and pick up zones when schools were built.
"The Ministry of Education need to take responsibility for this and provide national guidelines, funding and resources to change all schools that feel they have an issue," he said.
The national guideline of 40km/h variable school zones should be implemented immediately, he said. Adding that Land Transport NZ needs to provide the appropriate regulations to make the zoning implementation easier.
Shanon Manning, the mother of Breeze Brunton, broke down in tears when the Bay of Plenty Times told her of the decision to reduce the speed limit along Maunganui Rd.
The driver of the truck was not believed to be speeding at the time he and Breeze collided, but Mrs Manning said she felt it could have made a difference in whether her daughter lived or died.
Speaking yesterday Mrs Manning wept with emotion.
"How wonderful, that's great. You're just making me cry, so that's good. That's lovely."
She said in a way Breeze had left a legacy _ one she would be happy about.
"At least her death didn't go unnoticed and everyone got behind [the campaign] and everything. I'm just so happy, she'll be happy too," she said.
"She's still so sadly missed ... we're still upset and it's going to take a long time."
Principal of Mount Maunganui College Terry Collett said he was "absolutely delighted" the speed had finally been dropped.
Mr Collett said he was grateful for all the work Mr Stephenson had done, and to members of the public and to council, for their support.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Latest from Bay of Plenty Times
'Pushed out on to the streets': Tenants lose as landlords sell, migration soars
'My daughter and I will be couch surfing yet again.'