Letters to the Editor: speed limits and rates rises

The new Beaumont bridge has led to an increase in drivers speeding through the small South Otago...
The new Beaumont bridge has led to an increase in drivers speeding through the small South Otago town. Photo: ODT files
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the speed limit in Beaumont, the issue of rates increases, and the Highlanders' stance on marine reserves.


No feeling of safety sitting outside Beaumont Hotel

Last year, I raised the issue of the danger that patrons of the Beaumont Hotel face from passing traffic. The cause: an open road speed limit of 100kmh for traffic passing through Beaumont township.

Prior to completion of the new bridge, traffic was slowed by the need to stop at the old one-lane bridge and having to navigate a slow incline coming off the bridge past the hotel — this especially slowing the large trucks to a crawl as they passed the hotel. Now, with the new bridge, there is no slowing down. Traffic roars past those sitting outside the hotel, as I have done again last weekend.

Two things became apparent since I Iast raised this issue: the danger to hotel patrons has not lessened and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has not engaged in any consultation on this matter as they stated they would in reply to my first letter.

That Waka Kotahi has not fronted up to discuss the issue is regarded by many locals I have spoken to as a direct insult to the Beaumont community at large and shows a complete disregard for the safety of the patrons of the Beaumont Hotel. Millers Flat has an 80kmh speed limit, Clydevale 70kmh leading down to the bridge past a vet clinic that no-one sits outside and 80kmh on the other side of the bridge past a fertiliser yard, the fire brigade and the local hotel — all nowhere near the roadside.

A quote on the Waka Kotahi website states: "Our primary function is to promote an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable land transport system." There is no feeling of safety as the traffic roars past those sitting outside the Beaumont Hotel!

Dave Butler


[Roy Johnston, team lead — safety engineers, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Otago responds:

As earlier advised, a safety barrier was considered for in front of the hotel early in the design process for the new Beaumont Bridge. A decision was made to have no barrier at this point, so drivers of large vehicles parking on the highway shoulder could safely access the hotel. Instead of a barrier, a raised island and planting between the hotel and the highway for visual and physical separation was provided to manage concerns about people choosing to sit close to the highway.

NZTA safety engineers have reviewed what has been constructed and concluded that it appears to be acceptable given the decisions made during the design phase, noting there was no commitment to consult further as part of this review. We are now waiting for the completion of the independent post-construction safety audit before considering this further. With regard to speed, Waka Kotahi will consider speed management when we process further development of the speed management plan.

This could include Beaumont township if it meets the criteria for a lower speed limit.]


Recidivist speech?

Can Cr Steve Walker explain to myself, and maybe other readers, his meaning when he reportedly thanked Cr Vandervis for making a "recidivist speech" (ODT, 28.02.24).

This was at the end of Cr Vandervis’ speech on how rates should not be increased by up to 20%. Furthermore, he spoke of how this could be achieved by reducing DCC spending by not continuing with lesser essential projects.

Recidivism, I understand is to relapse into past criminal behaviour. If what Cr Walker has said was correct the headline would be much bigger than what was printed in the ODT.

If it is not correct then Cr Walker should on his own volition make a public apology to Cr Vandervis for denigrating his character.

John Neilson


People had chance for say on marine reserves

I think Highlanders should stick to rugby instead of weighing in on marine issues (ODT, 28.2.24).

If they had any real interest in the issue they would know about how much consultation there was with the South East Marine Protection Forum (SEMPF) process, which started in mid 2014.

After two years of interest-group consultation which included public meetings, including commercial and recreational fishers, SEMPF prepared a formal consultation document with a deadline for public submissions of December 2016.

After submissions were analysed recommendations were made in February 2018 to the ministers of conservation and fisheries. In June 2020 the proposed marine protected areas report was released with the ministers’ recommendations. A further round of public consultation followed with additional opportunity for submissions through to August 2020. Some of us have been waiting a further three years for the government decision.

There have been plenty of opportunities for the public to have their say.

To claim otherwise simply ignores the facts. I suggest the gentlemen concerned need to get their heads out of the ruck!

Roy Johnstone


Pay off the debt first

I agree with Councillor Vandervis — council should be looking at paying off the debt it has as quickly as possible. Does the council not realise that every time they increase the rates people’s rents go up. A good number of people are struggling now to make ends meet. Another way would be for councillors to take a large cut in what they get paid and put it against the debt — yeah right!

Lyn Miller


Address Letters to the Editor to: Otago Daily Times, PO Box 517, 52-56 Lower Stuart St, Dunedin. Email: editor@odt.co.nz