Commemorate don't demolish:
Today I went for a walk to check out why our council would tear down a war memorial on the grounds it is an earthquake risk with little thought to why.
Did the council give any thought to the young men who gave their lives? Have the mayor and councillors walked through the Hall of Remembrance and looked at the photos of those men who perished, and feel nothing? Look at their eyes, full of hope to return to their loved ones - I think not.
To tear down a war memorial is nothing more than desecration and disrespect to those who gave their lives. A lot of those young men were killed before they even set foot on enemy soil, poorly armed, led by incompetent British forces, they had little chance to succeed.
Having returned to my home town to live I was standing by the bell tower when it chimed the hour, what a great gift to remind people of why we enjoy our freedom because those sacrifices were made by others.
I ask you and your council to hold off on demolition and turn it into a permanent memorial to include all wars. My brothers served in WWII and the Korean War and family history talks of great-uncles in the Boer War where they supplied their own war horses, etc.
Mayor Neil Volzke responds:
Graham, thank you for expressing your concerns. Council is aware that the decision to remove the bell tower might be a disappointment to some and it was not a decision made lightly.
It's important to note that the bells are what hold the historical significance and we intend to preserve and have them on display again in another location. Just where is yet to be decided but the bells will be stored safely in the meantime.
The bells have not been operational for a number of years and at the moment you can't see the bells as they are enclosed within the tower, so we're looking forward to being able to view them again.
The bells within the tower originally came from the old clock tower on the Broadway Post Office. Both the old clock tower and bells were erected as a memorial to the soldiers of Stratford who fell in the Boer War (1899-1902) and World War I (1914-1918).
Ongoing public safety and maintenance costs were at the forefront of the decision to remove the 1980s tower and moving forward, council was satisfied that the bells will be better displayed elsewhere. Council is committed to commemorating our fallen soldiers and the bells will continue to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the Boer War and World War I.
Make vandals pay
My wife said when the bike park started being built that it would not be long before the vandals struck.
Council never fitted cameras did you or there would be no more problem of this type?
Vandalism has been going on for years and yet no one has been caught or had to pay except the ratepayers.
Is it not possible to set about catching these vandals and having them or those responsible for their care pay for this damage?
I would like to suggest to the council that they pass a bylaw to allow them to impose a standing $1000 fine plus costs of the complete repair of the damage. I await to hear any constructive criticism on this matter.
L J Gooch
Mayor Neil Volzke responds:
Laurie, unfortunately, your wife's prediction has come true. The bike park and a number of other council facilities have been the target of mindless vandalism in recent weeks. You are right to say the cost of repairs falls back on our ratepayers and it frustrates everybody that this is the reality we face.
I can confirm that the bike park area is under camera surveillance and that with assistance from the police and Central Taranaki Safe Community Trust, we have been able to identify some of the culprits responsible for the damage and theft of signage.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of receiving cash compensation from the wayward juveniles involved in these incidents is very remote. However, on the occasions when council can seek reimbursement, we do pursue this course of action. A new bylaw is not required to do this.
As a community, we can all be vigilant when visiting areas like the bike park and if we observe suspicious activity, report it immediately by calling the police. Prevention provides by far the best outcome.
High vis clothing helps keep children safe:
"Spring forwards, fall backwards" - daylight savings have ended, meaning it's a little less dark when children go to school in the morning but it also means it's darker earlier in the evening.
I worry when I see children heading to and from school and things on their own, by bike or foot. Very rarely do I see them wearing anything high vis, meaning they aren't easily seen by motorists.
Children don't always cycle or walk in a straight line, and I fear one day a child will meander into the path of a vehicle and if they aren't easily visible then it might not have a happy ending.
Parents, please invest in high vis for your children and motorists, please always look carefully and be alert.