Opinion: Looking back, and forward

The Age of Reason

By Peter Carr

A friend suggested my final Opinion of 2020 should be in an upbeat mode. Which suggests that I start at the downbeat end of the scale and work upwards.

So, to start I have experienced some recent disappointments in our district. Firstly, the saga of the third bridge – a meeting I attended last week was a fine example of local council ‘delay it’ tactics.

Now to be fair I am not one of those barking for another bridge to provide an instant solution to easing traffic weight and flows off the two existing bridges. There are a couple of good solutions worth trying – now – to alleviate the strain by a simple re-direction of traffic flows.

But this is Waipā, where anything under two years is adjudged to be miraculous – and anything over three to be the norm. I empathise with the two Council roading officers who addressed the meeting – they are both very professional but laden with the Council’s ethos that delay (of anything and not just bridges) is preferable to a swift solution.

And Council: instead of waiting another three years for a roundabout at the end of Kaipaki Road perhaps you should not wait for someone else to be killed there before you take remedial action.

To give the Council a break perhaps we can look at the Cambridge retail scene. Just this week I took an old friend, who is in a form of confinement, for a refreshing ‘outside the walls’ lunch. The challenge was to chose a place that had a balanced menu, was licenced and  regarded as a provider of good coffee.

First piece of bad news: the coffee machine was broken. Second piece of worse news: the manager has been called away and nobody else is permitted to pour wine.

Folks this is 2020, not the old New Zealand style of Muldoonism restriction and poor levels of service that we were sadly accustomed to 40 years ago. This was an establishment in the heart of the new, bold and hopefully much-supported Lakewood development. Look around the town – there is an abundance of competition that will revel in this information.

So how is the retail sector doing? I recall some years ago being disappointed when retailers suggested the proposed by-pass would be the death-knell of their businesses. At the time I wrote in the Chamber of Commerce newsletter they should be thinking of their glass as half full and working to embrace Cambridge as a destination. And now – how long do you wait for a car park? The retailers must be smiling now so perhaps it is time to up the levels of service in some areas, carry stock rather than samples and ask your landlords to smarten up their drab buildings.

And at the professional end of the scale. With the growth in general medical practitioners in the town how about a full weekend service that also embraces Sunday?

But this is the upbeat opinion remember? So, as we drift (or perhaps rush) to the end of a very strange year let us marvel at the overall growth of Cambridge. Where housing areas are swelling dramatically, a new school is arising, more medical centres emerging and even medical specialists’ rooms.

And on that mixed note – let us all look forward to an improved lifestyle and greater freedom in 2021. A Happy Christmas to you all.

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