Bill Cashmore
Franklin ward councillor, Deputy Mayor
We are a pretty tough and resilient bunch here in Franklin. March and April this year have been like
no other I’ve experienced. We have had almost half the yearly rainfall in 35 days! Although we are all
sick of the pressure and stress these weather events bring, they also bring out the best in many
people.
We are helping one another and especially looking after the more vulnerable in our
communities. We are seeing neighbours helping others clear their properties of flood damage,
people preparing food for families they don’t even know, and commuters clearing blocked road
lanes so they can get to and from work.
We have families taking tea and home-made biscuits to
contractors who have been continually clearing the roads and drains as fast as they can.
A big thanks needs to go to these teams who are putting marathon efforts to keep the infrastructure
up and running as best they can.
That includes staff from Auckland Transport, Vector, Auckland
Council’s Healthy Waters, Watercare, Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Coastguard,
Police, Ambulance, Fire Services, and of course all the volunteer groups. Thank you one and all, you
are indispensable and highly valued. All over Auckland we are seeing the very best in people.
In other news, I was honoured last week to open the expanded and improved “Punchbowl” kiwifruit
pack-house and cool-store in Glenbrook. Rob Craig and his team of builders, contractors, suppliers
and a large staff are to be congratulated on this enterprise. It features state of the art grading
automation and quality control, robotic packing strapping, and a cool store with automated stacking.
3 million trays pass through this facility before export and if you didn’t know it was there you would
just drive straight by and admire the beautiful country-side.
All over Franklin behind hedge rows and shelter belts there are entrepreneurs at work growing
businesses, employing people in real jobs, and creating export earnings. This is why Franklin has one
of the fastest growing GDP’s in NZ. One of the things Rob mentioned in his speech was how
proactive and helpful his planners and builders found the Auckland Council consents staff were.
Council staff grasped the tight time frames this project was under to be ready by harvest and worked
collaboratively to help make it all happen.
That was great to hear and proves that with the right
people involved and a joined up process things can go well and prove that consenting can be made
easy.