First impressions of a place are important, and if we have any civic pride we must be mortified at the impression Kerikeri gives to our visitors, and indeed to our own people. The impression the entrance to Kerikeri gives is one of a shabby, down-at-heel muddle.
While extending the footpath all the way along Kerikeri Rd is commendable, the finish to the project across from Access Rd is a disgrace. If a town planner has been involved it would surprise me, as no thought seems to be have been given to the scorched earth gap between the path and the road where a dried up mess of weeds are growing and will require ongoing, undesirable maintenance spraying. If the path had been taken to the edge of the road there would be no need to factor in weed control, or if a landscaping strip had been incorporated with hardy grasses or native plants it would have solved the problem while also beautifying the area.
The other problem is at the roundabout into Kerikeri, which has an ever-growing plague of signs, and while being ugly, must also be a distraction to motorists and is a blight on our amenity values.
I do not understand why both of these problems are allowed to exist, and would like to know when council intends to remedy this on behalf of the community.
A Far North District Council spokesman said Ms Brown had highlighted an issue at the intersection of Kerikeri and Access roads that the council was aware of and was working to address. He agreed that the new berm had become infested with weeds and was now very unsightly.
The original plan was to have had the area grassed, but mowing the berm next to such a busy section of road, with an 80km/h speed limit, would place contractors at unacceptable risk. The likelihood was that one lane would have had to be closed to traffic every time the berm needed maintenance. That would not be acceptable to drivers or the council.
A post-construction safety audit of the Access Road intersection, conducted in December, had provided possible remedies, however. A final decision had not yet been made, but it was likely that the berm would be covered with permeable concrete, making it maintenance-free and safer for all. That work would be scheduled during the next budget round.
Meanwhile the roundabout at the top of Kerikeri Rd was state highway, and it was the NZ Transport Agency's responsibility to monitor and control areas bordering it.