Kapiti Observer : January 9th 2012
Your community partner for more than 60 years MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2012 IN BRIEF Inside Garden showcase, page 2 Shingle threatening birds? Page 3 In honour of Sir Peter, page 9 Petrol explosion Static electricity has been blamed for a petrol container blowing up in the face of an Otaihanga teen. The 19-year- old was at his Greendale Dr home filling his car from a 20-litre plastic container when it exploded shortly after 11am on Wednesday, said Paraparaumu Fire Brigade station officer Jason Brinck. ''It sort of went bang in his face and caught the grass and garden on fire. There was no other ignition sources, so it had to be static electricity . . . it's fairly rare but it does happen.'' The teen called 111 and when firefighters arrived he and a neighbour, who had heard the explosion, were using a garden hose to cool his burns and douse the fire in the garden, said Mr Brinck. He had minor burns to his face and feet. ''We just cooled him down, applied plenty of water until [the ambulance] arrived and extinguished his garden fire. It would have been five to six metres by a couple of metres, it went up in the trees as well. ''He's a bit of a lucky chap really. He's got a few blisters on his lips.'' The man was treated at the scene by Wellington Free Ambulance. Editorial 04 298 5019 -- Advertising 04 298 5019 -- Fax 04 298 2073 -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- kapitiobserver.co.nz. Taste of summer: Hayley Wil- kins, left, and Lotomalie Kere- some, right, enjoy an IRB ride with surf lifesavers Lydia Crighton, front, and Jayden Matthews, back, off Otaki beach on Friday. The free IRB rides were part of nine days of activities on the beach organised by Otaki councillor Penny Gaylor. About 30 people turned out for the surf club tour and free IRB rides, which Ms Gaylor said are always a hit. Last year I took my four-year- old son on there and he curled up into the foetal position. For an hour afterwards he was silent and I thought I had permanently scarred him but then he came out of his shell and was so excited about the whole thing.'' Ms Gaylor said this week there will be a pilates session at the beach, as well as sand cas- tle building, a dune walk and a circuit exercise class. The daily activities start at 10.30am near the surf club. Road changes stir debate By TASHA BLACK and RANDALL WALKER Separating traffic: Passing lanes have been closed and the speed limit dropped on State Highway 1 between Otaihanga and Waikanae. CONTINUED Page 3 The permanent closure of passing lanes and drop in speed limit from 100 kmh to 80kmh between Otaihanga and Waikanae on State Highway 1 has met with mixed reactions. The changes, made by NZ Transport Agency to improve safety on the stretch of road after two fatal car crashes on Sept- ember 30 and December 30, will be made permanent in March with a widened flush median. Until then, the changes will be enforced with signs and road cones, a NZTA spokesman said. Emergency Medical Services Doctor Chris Lane, who has attended many accidents on the section of road, repeated his call for a physical median barrier, like the one down Centennial High- way, saying a flush median was not enough. People can still kill themselves and have horrific injuries at 80kmh. What needs to be done to pre- vent that happening is for cars to be separated and the only way of doing that is by putting in a median barrier.'' Sergeant Ron Walker said it was a step in the right direction. I'll reserve decision until I see it myself, but I would personally like to see a proper [physical] bar- rier there.'' Plans for a physical barrier required a roundabout at the intersection of SH1 and Otaihanga Rd, due for construc- tion in mid-2013, due to access issues for properties along the stretch. The Kapiti Observer spoke to a number of Waikanae residents, who did not want to be named, who felt the changes had missed the point. But Andrew Fraser, who commented on the Kapiti Observer Facebook page, summed up their view: It's not the road that kills people -- it's the people behind the wheel.'' One person said it would have been better to shorten the southbound passing lane and reduce the speed limit to 80kmh before the bend where the crashes occurred. Waikanae Community Board chairman Michael Scott said the changes were too little too late''. The community board had staff involved in writing to NZTA about the median barrier around the Otaihanga curve previously. There were grandiose plans for a median barrier all the way along but the critical point has always been at the end of the passing lanes going south where they meet the curve. For my own point of view I'm not sure that closing the passing lanes solves the problems, bearing in mind that we had the passing lanes closed earlier [last] week and we had another accident. So the issue isn't really the passing lane so much as driver fatigue and driver education on what is a difficult piece of road.'' Reducing the speed limit was a useful step'' to take, because it was a harmonisation'' of the speed limits between Parapara- umu and Waikanae. He said the board would follow up with NZTA on its approach about the median barrier around the curve. Mayor Jenny Rowan said the Kapiti Coast District Council welcomed the closure of the pass- ing lanes and drop in speed limit.
January 5th 2012
January 12th 2012