Hutt News : May 17th 2011
www.huttnews.co.nz TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 INSIDE: Letters 12 About Town 23 What's On 27 Crossword 27 Sport 61 Tool library for Great Start on gardening Dig this: Great Start Children's Garden Club members, from left, Andrew, Matthew and Melissa Fono and Bella Milne, show off some of the seeds and tools available to local families at the new Community Tool Library. By SIMON EDWARDS A lack of tools to garden and do home repairs will no longer be an obstacle for Taita and Pomare families if a new initiative at Great Start House gathers momentum. Julia Milne, gardening volunteer and tutor at the Barnardos-backed centre at 5 Cooper St, says the shelves and racks in a new Community Toy Library are already filling up with rakes, spades, saws and hammers. The tools were mostly donated, recycled but sturdy, old-school implements rather than modern cheap imports that would snap and break, Mrs Milne said. Another volunteer has cleaned them up and sharpened them. More donations were needed to get a comprehensive range. Anyone can borrow a tool for up to a fortnight -- longer by arrangement -- and fill in a register, leaving their contact details. The scheme is one of a range of initiatives consolidating Great Start s reputation as one of the city s most active and practical community centres. On the weekend the Children s Garden Group s new clubhouse was opened, with autumn leaves raked up for the compost heap, followed by an arts and craft session and nibbles. Seeds from plants grown in the com- munity garden have been dried and sorted, and are available to local families to plant. Mrs Milne said she had shown about 30 families various gardening skills, on the condition that they in turn show others. She was confident the self-sufficiency word was spreading. Great Start has a new walking group and was establishing a sewing circle. It was also backing Taita resident Helen Hamilton s Taita Timebank, which involves members trading skills, with no money changing hands. For example, an hour of lawnmowing or an hour of car repairs earns one token, which can be used to buy an hour of someone else s skill. Members are already starting to enrol. Enquiries are welcome -- phone 567 5437. IRL 'uncertainty' is damaging By SIMON EDWARDS CONTINUED Page 3 ' My point is that when I broke the news, the minister could have come out then and said the mayor doesn't know what he's talking about'. I would have been quite happy about that. ' Ray Wallace Hutt mayor If there s no intention to relocate the state-owned science agency Industrial Research from its cur- rent Gracefield base, come out and point blank deny it. That s the challenge Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace is putting to Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp. Last week Mr Wallace was warning that the loss of IRL would be the Hutt s biggest set- back in a generation. In a press statement sent out early last week, Mr Wallace said the Government had announced recently it was considering breaking up the crown research institute, which employs 325 scientists and other staff, and splitting it between Christchurch and Auckland. By the end of the week he d toned that down to an assertion that it was an option being con- sidered, and that a government source had told him it had already been talked about within Cabinet. My point is that when I broke the news, the Minister could have come out then and said the mayor doesn t know what he s talking about . I would have been quite happy about that. They ve virtually said no com- ment by their making out that they re waiting for the findings of the High Value Manufacturing Review, which is months overdue already. My view is that if there s nothing for us to worry about they should be coming out point blank and saying we ve got the wrong end of the stick. Even the uncer- tainty is causing the city damage. A spokesperson for Dr Mapp s office confirmed on Friday the minister is waiting for a copy of the High Level Manufacturing Review report. It s with the minis- try and is due to be handed over to Dr Mapp later this month. He ll give it consideration and his recommendations will go through to Cabinet. I can confirm it hasn t been up before the ministers yet. Right on our deadline yesterday Dr Mapp sent a brief statement to confirm he is awaiting the report, which he maintains is only weeks overdue from its original time- line. IRL will have a continuing presence in the Hutt Valley, he added. Mr Wallace says since late last year a city council-led team has been working on a Technology Valley initiative aimed at boosting Hutt Valley s reputation as a sig- nificant player in high technology industry, research and develop- ment. IRL has been talking about a $20 million site upgrade and reb- randing, and the council is looking at an improved access road and redesigning that part of Gracefield to accommodate IRL s plans. Mr Wallace says several signifi- cant Seaview and Gracefield buildings and sites are due to change ownership -- not least with Mainfreight shifting its operation to Wellington rail yards -- and talks have happened with tech- nology and science companies which may be attracted here. The potential extends to Upper Hutt, which has more land available than Lower Hutt, including the under-used ex-CIT site. Mr Wallace says IRL is the lynchpin to it all. They are an international suc- cess story. They ve been integral to all our planning that has gone on. The Mayor says he s heard reports that within Government circles a view that everything needs to start gravitating towards Auckland is taking hold. The idea is that [New Zealand] is really only the economy of a large city and that the focus should be Auckland. If that s true we ll fight it because that s the wrong attitude. We re not going to take this lying down. [Upper Hutt Mayor] Wayne Guppy reminded me that with AgResearch, they were told no, it s not going to go and then over night it was gone. They were led down the garden path, as he puts it. Mr Wallace maintains breaking up IRL would cost the Govern- ment $200 million in relocation costs. Some staff had already told him they won t shift to Auckland. IRL could lose 50 per cent of its staff, together with intellectual property, and the organisation s productivity would go backwards at least three years. The mayor said the Hutt Valley has been in economic decline for years and that s because there has been no plan . Of at least 20 major businesses operating in the Hutt Valley in the 1960s, only four remain -- with a serious threat some of those will be lost .
May 24th 2011