Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Council Response

Well, Kevin Deacon of the Special Projects And Parking Management department of the Hastings District Council has replied to my email regarding the hospital staff parking invasion.

He says - and I quote: 

"... we are looking to mark the individual carparks on the street to ensure that vehicles are kept well clear of driveways.

Tradespeople are able to obtain cones to reserve a parking space, when undertaking planned maintenance or repair work, should they not be able to park on the property.

We hope that the road marking and advice for tradespeople will go some way towards helping residents cope with this change that has occurred on your street"

Wow! The Council seems to think that marking the parking spaces so people can see better where to park, and providing cones for tradespeople, is going to solve our problem. Really?! I mean... really?! Like marking parks so people can park in the lines, and providing cones for tradespeople goes in ANY way to deal with the issue? IT DOESN'T!

The cones for tradespeople are only of use IF the tradie knows at least a day in advance that they will be working on the property AND if they go there BEFORE 8am to place the cones - even though they may not be working on the property until the afternoon.
Our visitors STILL have nowhere to park. The disabled taxi, and the community services vehicle, who pick up the lovely guys in the wheelchairs, STILL have nowhere to park up. The careworkers who come every day to feed and shower the gentleman with dementia, STILL have nowhere to park. My neighbour in the middle flat, who has two small children, STILL has to park his car several streets over, because he has nowhere else to park.

With the streets becoming a parking lot, it makes it extremely difficult for those who collect the rubbish, recycling, and the bins, and now takes them much longer to do it.

As the duly elected council, it is their responsibility to see that residential areas ARE residential and NOT industrial sites or parking lots. We pay rates to live in a suburban area, NOT to live in a parking lot. The hospital staff HAVE a parking lot, and the fee charged is very reasonable - the price of a cup of coffee a week. They should be using their parking lot, not turning quiet suburbs into parking lots and disadvantaging others. It really is not acceptable.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Natural Pest Control In The Garden

One of the most common questions I get from people who visit my garden is "If you don't spray, why aren't your plants all eaten up by bugs? Are you sure you don't spray?" (yes, many do actually ask that).
When you spray, you tend to kill ALL the bugs -
 both good and bad. Yup, most people realize that. What they don't realize is how long it takes for the good bugs to come back.
The bugs that eat your plants are like the rabbits of the bug world - they live short lives, and reproduce fast and in large numbers. 
Take for example the aphid. According to entomologist Stephen A. Marshall: in optimal environmental conditions and lacking any predators, parasites, or disease, a single aphid could produce 600 billion descendants in one season. That's a lot of aphids!

The bugs that feed on them, on the other hand - the predatory bugs - are like the wolves and lions of the bug world. Longer lived, slower to reproduce, and they don't reproduce in the same kind of numbers. Each praying mantis will only reproduce once in its life time, the male being cannibalized during mating, and the female dying after laying eggs. The egg cases hold around 200 eggs each, and many of those won't hatch due to exposure and predation.  

So when you spray, the destructive bugs come back quite quickly, but the predatory ones don't, which leaves your garden very vulnerable. It can take a few years (and patience and frustration) of not spraying to establish a bug-based pest control system.

Meanwhile, it is important to ensure there are food supplies for the good bugs in early spring and late autumn. Wild fennel is a fantastic plant to have tucked away in a corner of your garden. It flowers early in spring, and late in autumn, and provides nectar, when little else is available, for the lady bug (eater of aphids), and the parasitic wasp (killer of white butterfly caterpillars). This will ensure they are in your garden before the aphids and white butterflies are.
It is also important to provide shelter for over-wintering - someplace that isn't going to be disturbed by your yard and garden activities - to keep them there, so they are in your garden before the pests arrive. Pinterest and the internet in general are full of ideas and instructions for building 'bug hotels', from the very simple to the very elaborate.

Of course, it doesn't mean the good bugs will do all the work - although they are more efficient than spraying (my neighbour sprays profusely, and still complain bitterly about the bug problem). You still need to do your morning rounds - picking the stink bugs out and dropping them in a bucket of soapy water, collecting the snail and slugs you find and putting them out on the pavement or drive for the thrushes to eat, wiping off any white butterfly eggs you find and killing any of the caterpillars you see, and pulling out anything too heavily infested with aphids.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Frimley Ave has been Invaded.

This post is a little bit different from my normal, But I really feel something needs to be said on this issue

Frimley Ave was a nice, quiet little suburban street - until we got invaded. We got invaded by the little black beetle from Aussie, which was a bit of nuisance, but we dealt with. Far more insidious was the invasion of hospital workers.
Since the hospital instigated a $1 a day parking fee for its staff, these people have emptied out of the carpark, and into the surrounding streets. Now our residential street parking is crammed full of hospital staff too cheap to pay $1 a day for parking. Really? Have these people not been to Auckland... or Wellington?
Suddenly the residentials have no residential parking. Our visitors have nowhere to park. Our tradies are parking in communal driveways -a big no-no, but where else is there? Everytime someone wants to come or go from one of the flats on that driveway, the tradie has to stop work, move his vehicle out to let the people in or out, then park back up in the driveway.
The disabled taxi, and the community services vehicle, who pick up the lovely guys in the wheelchairs, have nowhere to park up. The careworkers who come every day to feed and shower the gentleman with dementia, have nowhere to park. My neighbour in the middle flat, who has two small children, has to park his car several streets over, because he has nowhere else to park.
For the sake of $5 or $6 a week, for the price of one cup of coffee every week, hospital staff with good paying jobs are more than happy to disadvantage the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the people on benefits and pensions, and the struggling families with small children. Shame on them!

This photo was taken at 9.26 am this morning. Not ONE SINGLE CAR in this picture belongs to a resident, a resident's visitor, a tradesperson working on a resident's property, or a careworking visiting any of the elderly or disabled people on the street.
ALL of these cars belong to hospital staff that park here ALL DAY. The spaces you see between some of the cars are driveways, and a little hint here - there are actually more driveways than spaces, hmm...

I have contacted the local council, the district health board, and the local paper. So lets see if anything gets done.

This OUR street, and we want it back!