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New kids on Okitu block stirring up a storm

Opinion Piece

Reading Monday’s article re a proposed speed limit not being low enough has me concerned. I acknowledge that some areas on SH35 need immediate attention, but certainly not Okitu.

I also went to an NZ Transport Agency community consultation in Tolaga Bay where the majority of people were concerned how slower speed restrictions would affect them. For a lot of them their job is driving, and speed restrictions will have an economic impact on their operations. One driver who drives that road twice a day said he believed that if all proposals passed it could be an extra 20 minutes drive each way.

For many years the road through Okitu has been a State Highway. In fact, it used to pass through Wainui up until 35 years ago when this was deemed unsuitable because there was a school and houses on both sides of the road.

The highway was diverted through farmland on the west side, and Wainui became a more desirable place to live.

In the past 10 years there has been a desire to live in the “Wainui area” so there have been several new houses built in Okitu, to live in this area. Before buying, people should consider the environment they are about to live in.

I would suggest that most long-term residents of Okitu don’t have an issue with the speed limit. It is the new kids on the block who are stirring up a storm.

This road is an excellent, wide road with a footpath well away from its edge. There are many roads narrower than this entering big cities in New Zealand with 70kmh speed limits or more.

If people are concerned about the safety of their children, they should accompany them and adequately fence their properties. Remember, this is a State Highway! There are some lovely, safe, quiet properties closer to Gisborne.

Colin Shanks