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LETTER to Editor: Redesigning our CBD

Monday 13 March 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTER to Editor: Redesigning our CBD

Dear Editor, The recent comments from our locals after the central business district (CBD) of Avarua was overrun with hundreds of cruise-ship passengers taking over the CBD made interesting reading. People noted the many visitors walking in the street as if streets were made for people and not cars.

Well, mass tourism and that debate aside, when there are thousands of passengers off of cruise ships, many, and maybe most, come from CBD’s around the world where the streets have been re-designed for people over cars.

Now it is an inconvenient truth that where this little country of some 20,000 people could be a beacon of light to the world, in so many important aspects of life we struggle around in the dark until the light is forced upon us.

Witness our on-going back-water record in protection of women, protection of our young college students from the Pa Enua, cannabis reform, education of our young on healthy eating, rainbow community tolerance, environmental decline.

As for being behind the times with streets and cars, witness the sea of cars that now greets us at the Avatiu roundabout where once magnificent local trees greeted us and our visitors every day. The owner of that treeless acre of cars now advertises about being “the biggest dealer”.

Then there were the magnificent toa trees in front of Takitumu School. The internet is full of studies that show that tree-lined streets encourage people to drive more slowly. Indeed, municipalities plant trees close to roads to slow drivers down. Bless us, we knocked the trees down in front of the school and made the road straighter, and put in steel rails to give the impression of a race course.

Back to the CBD question, and it is noted that we are said to be in the process of re-designing our CBD. CBD streets are not just thoroughfares for motor vehicles; they serve as public spaces where people walk, shop, meet, and participate in activities that make, in our case, island living enjoyable.

Where are the inspirational leaders we so badly require?

(Name and address supplied)

Hawaii flights

The article highlights that with Honolulu it gives Americans a couple extra nights in the Cooks, given the schedule has us arrive Saturday and depart Sunday (‘Still undiscovered’: Rebuilding North American tourist arket underway, Cook Islands News, March 8, 2023).  That is certainly a plus but it creates an issue as well.

The downside is we get back home on Monday, requiring an extra day off from work. Many, if not most, Americans get only two weeks’ vacation a year. The schedule means we can’t go for two weeks, so Americans are restricted to the 8-day trip. However, this also means most Americans can’t take another week-long vacation, unless it’s timed with a national holiday (which are limited in our summer when most go on holiday).

The old Air NZ schedule worked well for us in that it fit into a schedule that worked in whole weekly units without bleeding into a new week.

One solution is to work with Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui and Air Rarotonga to create a “circle” route. Hawaiian and Tahiti Nui both serve Seattle and LA, creating two gateways for North Americans and Europeans into the Pacific.

Hawaii-Rarotonga-Tahiti, that’s an easy sell for North Americans and Europeans, and is done in a way that would expose more Northerners to Rarotonga and the Cooks.

Marketing a three-for-one Polynesian holiday would be attractive, but current airfare structures more than double the cost when trying to book it this way, which is why an agreement would be helpful.

Patrick Chapman