National Party Leader
I can always tell when our community is angry. I get calls and emails from people letting me know their concerns. This is happening at the moment as people living in the Burrows Street and Avenues communities are making contact with me. They are very concerned about the proposal by the Department of Corrections to move its Community Corrections facilities to 36 Burrows Street in Tauranga.
More than 550 offenders will report to this site every week. They will meet their probation officers, attend skill development programmes and join community work teams.
Traffic and parking are major issues for many areas in Tauranga. I have been told that more than 90 per cent of the offenders who will be using this facility will drive there. That’s hundreds more cars, each week, in an area that currently has transport issues related to feeding into 15th Avenue.
The local community has serious, legitimate concerns. The community is made up of families who walk their children to school. Elderly use their mobility scooters on these streets and there are many local businesses nearby. It is also an area with churches and other community facilities.
I understand and agree with local residents that a centre like this would be better suited away from residential living and schools.
Although a final decision has not been reached I think the Department of Corrections needs to find a more appropriate site.
This Monday, September 23, I am holding my six-monthly MP question time at the Greerton RSA from 6.30pm. It would be great to see you there.