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Steel ‘Guardrail Fence’ replaces removed toa trees at Apii Takitumu

Tuesday 7 February 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, Local, National


Steel ‘Guardrail Fence’ replaces  removed toa trees at Apii Takitumu
Matavera resident Renall Vogel, who strongly objected the removal of toa trees from Apii Takitumu boundary, poses with the new Guardrail Fence which is being erected to safeguard both the civilians inside the fence, and the road users if any car crash happens. 23020309/23020615

The installation of the new “Guardrail Fence” by the Cook Islands Building Supplies at Apii Takitumu is expected to be completed this week.

Measuring 117 metres in length, the fence made out of galvanised steel is supplied and manufactured by CSP New Zealand.

The purpose of this type of fence is to safeguard both the civilians inside the fence, and the road users if any car crash happens.

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) senior engineer John Bas explains the main objective of the system is not to completely halt a speeding car “therefore resulting to serious injuries for the driver”, but to reduce the impact force of the crash and at the same time, prevent the car from ramming through.

This system is designed for roads with up to 70 kilometre per hour speed limit.

Principal of Apii Takitumu, Maui Joseph said: “It’s good to see the fence up since 2021 when the ironwood trees were removed.”

“All the teachers are happy knowing our kids will be much safer. It has been worrying for us and the teachers when the kids are playing on the field and big trucks and traffic are speeding past.

“So this is a huge improvement.”

In January 2021, the toa (ironwood) trees which had graced the stretch in Matavera since the early 1960s were uprooted and destroyed. The removal of these trees was described as “dark days in the history of Rangiatea”.

The ICI proposal in 2020 included the widening of the road to the “true boundary of 10 metres legal road corridor”. Since the toa trees sat within the road corridor, they had to be removed, it said.

Matavera community members had strongly objected to the removal of all the toa trees at a public consultation called by ICI in December 2020.

Former chairman of Apii Takitumu and Matavera resident, Renall Vogel had also publicly voiced his objections.

Looking at the installation of the new fence, Vogel said: “I don’t know what else to say, it’s already been done … we will have to go with it.”

One of the concerns which was raised by the community and the school committee at the time was the maintenance of the fence, said Vogel.