Are you prepared for a natural disaster? - 22/05/2008by Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon
Disasters occur! The tragedies in Myanmar and Chengdu are graphic reminders of our fallibility and nature's excesses.
So, are you prepared for a disaster in Wanganui? The most likely disasters in Wanganui are flooding, earthquake, storms and volcanic eruption, though you need to be prepared for all types of disasters. Our civil defence experts at Council suggest you have an emergency kit available, a family plan as to what to do if disaster strikes and to read the back page of the Yellow Pages telephone directory.
This week's full Council meeting had a huge amount of business to consider. Much of the business is quite complex and would faze engineers, financiers and environmentalists, let alone lay people doing their utmost for the interests of the city. It is very impressive how much information you absorb on Council and how many issues councillors learn to understand. On Thursday we will also be listening to those people who are presenting submissions to Council's Annual Plan. What upsets our constituents? It seems it will be our policies on the environment and tourism. I look forward to hearing submitters' issues.
Cr Sue Westwood and I will be assisting Council managers in our submission to Horizons Regional Council – Lower Whanganui River management and flood protection scheme. We believe Wanganui residents need more time to understand the ramifications of the Horizons plan for flood mitigation. We also wish to have drawings of what is proposed for the stopbanks so that we can see the impact of the structures on our riverbanks. Other concerns are the cost of the project and over what period of time should we pay it back. Loan repayments should be over a longer period of time rather than a shorter term, to prevent the full cost being borne by today's ratepayers. If repayment is spread over 50 years, the cost to the ratepayer today would be more acceptable. The four identified flood plain areas are Balgownie, Kowhai Park, Putiki and Moutoa Quay and the staged development of each area needs more debate.
With all of these issues to contend, it is no wonder we watch Coronation Street and Boston Legal for light relief!!!