Yay for participatory democracy…
Obviously, the demise of our green recycling bins matter, with almost 10 000 signatures already on the Council hosted ePetition (how ick is that particular moniker?), which doesn’t close until May 13. This was one issue that spread like a virus through the pc’s of most Wellingtonians some weeks ago. I am unsure if there is a hard version of the petition as well…?
But, seeing as the Council magnanimously provides such a forum, we really should endeavour to make ourselves aware of the issues that are burning for our fellow citizens, and, in this very spirit, here are, along with the recycling bin issue, the current most significant matters…
Opened: 12 March 2009
Closes: 12 June 2009
Submitted by: Ashley Hewitt
Petition Details: Stop the Wellington Go Buses lining up on Onepu Road and surrounding roads causing traffic congestion.
Background information: I am petitioning to get the Wellington Go buses to stop blocking the roads on and surrounding the Kilbirnie bus station because it is dangerous and Motorists are forced to drive round the buses into oncoming traffic which will cause an accident, if it hasn’t already.
Opened: 6 March 2009
Closes: 6 April 2009
Submitted by: Rowan Bettjeman
Petition Details: Street performers are a great part of the Wellington culture. However bagpipes need to be addressed. It is a beautiful sounding instrument when played appropriately. However can be noise pollution.
Background information: Please sign this petition if you have experienced noise pollution from any musical street performers and would like a harsher screening process put in place when Wellington City Council gives out street performer permits.
The bus issue is, I guess, relevant in more ways than is stated by the petitioner, who is obviously petitioning from a driver’s perspective. Also of concern is the fact that the Coutts Street/Onepu Road intersection is an important crossing for the elderly residents residing in the Rita Angus resthome on the corner of the intersection. The blockage immediately south of this intersection means that the intersection itself becomes one of traffic light-controlled indeterminacy – hardly an ideal situation when it takes the average RA resident a good minute or so to get across the large intersection (although i admit that the phase length is favourable to their efforts). While I have obvious sympathies for PT operators, this does seem to me to be a real area of concern, and one that could/should be addressed by the Council rather than Go Wellington. The road-width here is pretty generous, and I imagine could accommodate a bus-only lane feeding into the bus depot, as well as separate southbound and northbound traffic lanes (and probably a cycleway to boot). The lane-widths, street-side parking, and traffic island may need rethinking, but I am sure it could all be done in the name of safety… If I were drafting this petition, it would be along those lines…
The bagpipe issue on the other hand, would at first seem to be a bit more frivolous. The fact that its written expression is somewhat less than compelling in its contradictory nature and recourse to issues of aesthetic taste, obscures the fact that this is (apparently) a very real issue – if recent events in Dunedin are anything to go by (see also this article, and this discussion), where some poor piper subjected to the all powerful RMA threat… I guess that, if we evaluate this dispassionately against a strict criteria of decibel limits – bagpipes played at full volume peaks at 122 decibels outdoors, noisier than the sound of either a nightclub or a chainsaw, which rises to 116 decibels, and apparently also almost up there with a concert performance by the Who (126db). This has led the EU to place limits on bagpipe playing, and as bagpipes have no volume switch, it effectively bans bagpipe playing altogether – including in Scotland.
However, as I have recently learnt in another forum, you can’t divorce the phenomena (in this case decibel nuisance) from the wider cultural history that must be at play here (in this case centuries of Scottish subjugation), so I can only hope that the petition fails in its attempt to set the clock back a bloody 250 years or to, the last time that bagpipes were banned after the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s clansmen at the battle of Culloden…