Checking with communities

The Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown has changed the pace of life for many —  neighbourhood walks are a popular pastime, while others wrestle with working from home. In Dunedin’s outer suburbs, where resilience is the norm, our community boards are ready to step up and take a leadership role when needed. The Star reporters Brenda Harwood, Simon Henderson, and Jessica Wilson got in touch with community board chairmen and chairwomen to help gauge the city’s mood.

Alasdair Morrison. PHOTO: THE STAR
Alasdair Morrison. PHOTO: THE STAR
Waikouaiti Coast

Residents of the city’s northern coast are ‘‘doing fine’’ in lockdown so far, Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Alasdair Morrison said.

‘‘Everybody had good training last year about what is involved in lockdown, so [we] have adjusted to it well.’’

Locals were resilient, and were generally taking the situation in their stride, he said.

With general stores in Blueskin Bay, Karitane, and Waikouaiti able to open under Alert Level 4, residents were able to pick up essential supplies in their neighbourhoods.

‘‘How things go from here will depend on how long the lockdown lasts. If we are able to go to Alert Level 3, then some of our local businesses will be able to trade.

‘‘I’m sure that would be very helpful for everyone,’’ he said.

In the meantime, board members were ready to help if and when required.

Scott Weatherall
Scott Weatherall
Saddle Hill

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall encouraged all to stay safe as the team of 5million once again battened down the hatches for the good of the country.

‘‘Out in the beautiful Saddle Hill Community Board communities we are just embracing the slower pace of life, so great seeing families out and about and enjoying this simply stunning spell of weather we are having.’’

The board was seeing a significant number of people taking their dogs for a drive to the many beaches along ‘‘our beautiful coastline’’, so Mr Weatherall wanted to remind people to stay close to home and only head out in the car for essential travel.

‘‘Thank you to the Dunedin and Mosgiel police for taking such a community minded out-and-about proactive policing approach.

‘‘It’s wonderful seeing our police staff in our communities — also a special thank you for your amazing response when there was a report of a missing 3-year-old late last week. The positive outcome was a blessing.

‘‘Just a reminder to check in with family, friends and neighbours to see how they are travelling at this uncertain time and also remember a simple hello and smile will not spread Covid-19 — strangers are just friends we haven't met just yet.’’

Francisca Griffin. Photo: supplied
Francisca Griffin. Photo: supplied
West Harbour

West Harbour residents are mostly well equipped and are dealing with Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown well.

‘‘We are looking after each other,’’ West Harbour Community Board chairwoman Francisca Griffin said.

‘‘We’ve been here before and we can do it again.’’

In the week since lockdown began, board members had been checking on neighbours and their elders, who were ‘‘doing fine just now’’.

‘‘People I've come across are philosophical about this and seem willing to do their bit,’’ Ms Griffin said.

Local businesses had really stepped up to support the community, Port Chalmers Pharmacy becoming a vaccination hub and the local Four Square well stocked and delivering food to residents.

Board members were available to step up whenever they were needed by the community, she said.

Joy Davis has announced her intention to stand for the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board. Photo...
Joy Davis

If you need some support reach out and ask.

That is the message from Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairwoman Joy Davis to members of the community.

“If anyone needs any support then they should reach out to a community board member, who may be able to help or put them in contact with a person or organisation that can help them,” she said.

During Alert Level 4, the community board used its social media page to share information with the community, such as ways to get support and messages from the Dunedin City Council.

She was pleased to see Mosgiel people were complying with the rules and restrictions, Mrs Davis said.

Residents were wearing masks and keeping a 2m distance when outside for exercise.

Many even crossed to the other side of the road to avoid getting close to others.

“That’s really great.”

The foodbank was moderately busy, she said.

People were picking up items themselves, rather than them being delivered.

“Generally speaking, it’s pretty quiet.”

Paul Pope
Paul Pope
Otago Peninsula

There are plenty of well-mown lawns and happy dogs on Otago Peninsula.

Residents made the most of the good weekend weather by riding their bikes, tending to their gardens and walking their pets, Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope said.

Otherwise, things were relatively quiet.

“I think people, like everybody else in the country, are just waiting and seeing what’s sort of happening,” Mr Pope said.

The public water tap in Portobello was closed when the lockdown was announced, but community board members were able to operate it twice a week.

That allowed residents who were not on reticulated water to get their tanks filled.

It also gave board members a chance to check in with the community.

“There’s lots of mask-wearing,” Mr Pope said.

“People seem to be well behaved.”

A few essential local stores, including a pharmacy and medical centre, were open.

The board was able to share key information on social media, such as stores’ opening hours, which was helpful.

Some locals had noticed people from other areas visiting the peninsula, so he wanted to remind people to stay within their neighbourhoods, Mr Pope said.

While he could understand the temptation to visit — especially with the “beautiful cycleways” and “fantastic” weather — it was important people kept to their own community to protect themselves and others.

“We always welcome visitors but perhaps they’ll be a little bit more welcome once we get over this.

“At the moment, as I say, we all just need to stick together in our own wee areas.”


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