"World-famous elevator back after breakdown" (front page, Chronicle, November 29).

Glad to learn of it.

I did speak to Leighton Toy and Peter Tantrum of the District Council, at their invitation, after the elevator cable snapped some time ago.

They were aware the situation was more than just a "concerned citizen" viewpoint, to coin a phrase. Three generations of my family had operated the Durie Hill elevator over some 40 years. I wanted assurances of elevator safety.


Those two gentleman answered all of my questions. Coming from an earlier engineering background myself, I know they answered honestly and directly.

They also pointed out that the emergency braking system did work after the cable broke — rather impressive after it probably needed to do nothing for 99 years.

After the November 29 Chronicle article, I could see from the major maintenance that the elevator should be good for another 100 years.

And a final engineering comment: about the "limits" which Peter Tantrum admitted in the article are difficult to adjust.

I say don't worry, Peter. I think from before you were born the elevator operators and all of Durie Hill knew that if the elevator had a full load, the car would miss its stop by a few inches and the patrons would have to take a small step upwards to exit.

Okay now, Whanganui tourism marketers, start the international advertising to bring those millions of tourism dollars to Whanganui, to visit "the oldest, the most unique working elevator in the world", which drops them into a 700ft (213m) tunnel deep inside a hill, which leads them to the "Rhine of the South" and a paddle steamer ride up the "living entity".

And all that is barely a start to the variety of tourism this city can offer.

What are we waiting for?



Fun without alcohol

It was interesting reading on Saturday (November 24) about the Whanganui District Council's discussion on a local alcohol policy.

Thanks Jenny Duncan and Kate Joblin for truly listening to citizens' and health officials' concerns.

But I did wonder when reading that one councillor seems to think we need alcohol to be able to socialise.

This view contrasted with what I had seen at the relaxed Rakaunui Market the night before at Pakaitore.

There I witnessed many families and groups of friends talking, playing simple games, eating yummy healthy food, listening to Ra Gastelloe music or making their own as they socialised. All without alcohol or the creation of waste.

I think more people need to enjoy the next relaxed evening on the next full moon on Sunday, December 23, between 5.30pm and 9pm.

Thank you, Aroha Beckham and Pare Kore, for creating such a wonderful, positive, relaxing place to be.


Council spending

I totally agree with Mr M. O'Donnell — why is Mr Fell spending the money in a upgrade of the [District Council building] reception, when that money could be put to a much better use.

Was there any consultation with the ratepayers? Can't recall any such thing.
Oh well, there has been some very flippant decision-making recently. Not impressed.


Assisted dying laws

Reverend Marvin M Ellison is an ordained Presbyterian minister and professor of Christian ethics in the state of Maine, US.

As in many other parts of the Western world, Maine is petitioning its lawmakers for an assisted dying bill. The Reverend is in favour of legalisation.

"Our faith traditions tell us that 'blessed are the merciful,' but it's not merciful to require the dying to suffer senselessly. Denying the dying person the freedom to end unnecessary, meaningless suffering is far from merciful; rather, it's torturous. Torture in any form is morally wrong." (PressHerald November 26).

In our own country, an increasing number of clerics of different Christian denominations speak out against the cruelty of forcing a dying person to suffer. To cite just one example, Anglican Assistant Bishop of Auckland Jim White and his two clerical co-authors made a submission to the Justice select committee favouring assisted dying under controlled circumstances.

If 70 per cent of New Zealanders want voluntary euthanasia/assisted dying to be legalised and only 42 per cent are declared non-believers (census 2013), that leaves 28 per cent who have faith affiliations but who are at odds with their fundamentalist dogmas prohibiting it.

This new wave of religious compassion blended with human experience holds hope for us all.


Send your letters to: The Editor, Whanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Whanganui 4500; or email editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz