Wellington Scoop

Why must they replace the kerbs?

The elusively observant Maximus (on eyeofthefish) has bravely identified wasteful spending by the Wellington City Council – its continuing obsession about replacing kerbs with the same again.

Here’s what Maximus has written:

One area that the Council could trim their budget back on is roading. They could start by sacking the entire team at Traffic, who are the biggest waste of space in terms of us workers trying hard to get projects through the Council. No imagination, no flexibility, no concern for anything except cars and parking and loading docks, none of which ever seem to get used the way that the Traffic Department want.

But it is the Roadïng department that really get up my nose. Ripping up kerbs, and re-laying new kerbs in exactly the same place, must be on someone’s books as a worthwhile activity, but why? How many millions a year go into this pointless activity?

How many people ring the Council each year and say “the concrete kerb outside my house is 20 years old and needs replacing, please spend my rates on that”? I suspect none.

All true. Any of us can name streets where we’ve seen the kerbs ripped up and replaced, for no visible reason. There are many suburban streets where the pavements are unnecessarily wide (with few pedestrians), and the roads are dangerously narrow (with too many cars). But when the kerbs are dug up and replaced, the proportions do not change.

Maximus was, however, expounding on a wider topic – that of how the council is going to allocate money for strengthening and restoring heritage buildings.

There is lots of money in the Council’s budget, it just needs to be spent better… The Council needs urgently to think of some other means of distributing funds for strengthening for heritage buildings. WCC has so far been brilliantly pro-active, leading New Zealand at the speed of assessing our existing building stock. Other Councils are woefully far behind, and some have not yet even really started. But we need to not let the lead we have built up get diminished. The next stage is the crucial one – how should the Council allocate heritage strengthening money, and to whom?

A question which is a concern for every Wellingtonian.