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10 months ago

Selwyn Times: July 19, 2016

4 Tuesday

4 Tuesday July 19 2016 Your Local Views Critical thinking shortage Graham Townsend writes this week’s opinion piece about the lack of critical thinking when it comes to topics such as climate change I’ve spent a lifetime teaching science. If you define science to include critical thinking, I count the efforts of New Zealand as a total failure. Why? Because critical thinking is the ability to examine evidence and conflicting claims without allowing prejudices or personal interest to intrude. And critical thinking, sadly, is in seriously short supply today. This is what the pioneering psychologist William James meant when he said that “A great many people think they are thinking, when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” An example: climate change. Comment threads and twitter feeds are full of unsupported prejudice rather than fact. “Climate change is not happening”; “scientists are all lying to get more funding for their research”; “climate always changes, it’s not our fault”; “we are due for a new ice age so climate change is good”. People who post this rubbish ignore that fact that science is a merciless process of critically analysing both the raw data and the predictions made from them. I invite any lay-person who thinks they can do better to submit their own analysis to the global science community. Fame and possibly fortune awaits you if you can prove the current consensus wrong. So why do these denier memes refuse to die? Simply because we can’t face the conclusion that we – all of us – are changing the climate. That unpleasant fact hits at the heart of our whole lifestyle: our love affair with cars, jet skis, quad bikes and flying. So the hands go over the ears and we start coming up with excuses and lies. Let me state this clearly: every major national science academy around the world has examined the evidence and they are all seriously concerned. So what do we do? Individual actions are not enough – we need policy changes at a national and international level. Politicians generally follow public opinion – they will do nothing until we demand action. And that won’t happen until enough of us face the truth. That brings me back to education and critical thinking. H.G Wells famously said “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe”. That’s never been truer or more urgent than today. Use your vote wisely. Footpath funding boost • By Caitlin Miles FUNDING FOR footpath extensions has had a 500 per cent increase. The original budget for footpaths was $50,000 which then got increased to $100,000. The district council decided to increase the budget to $500,000 in the annual plan for 2016-2017. This will allow for 6km of new footpath to laid later this year and into 2017. Mayor Kelvin Coe said the district council decided to increase the budget because of the comments made about footpaths in submissions received about the annual plan. “As a result of submissions the council plans to increase the budget for footpath extension work from $100,000 to $500,000,” Mayor Coe said. The council received 47 submissions from the public about footpaths, cycleways and walkways. The extensions will be district wide and will provide new sections of footpaths on both sides of the street and getting new footpaths to connection to schools. District council corporate services manager Greg Bell said the increase in cost will be covered from the increased income or expenditure savings made by the district council from 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. Rolleston Residents’ Association chairwoman Nicole Reid said the association had asked for funding to rise from $100,000 to $200,000. “We asked for it to be doubled but they SELWYN TIMES EXTENSIONS: Footpaths that stop abruptly will be extended. ​ put $500,000 which was quite a bonus,” Ms Reid said. District council transport asset manager Andrew Mazey said the work on extending the footpaths will be spread around the district. “Councillors were keen to ensure that the benefits of such work should be spread across the district as some smaller townships have requested footpath extensions for some time that needed to be addressed,” Mr Mazey said. District councillor Sam Broughton said this will connect the townships better. “Some well established and older communities only have one footpath along a road or not complete footpaths so this is about filling in those blanks,” Cr Broughton said. 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday July 19 2016 5 News Boost for heritage properties SICON FOURTEEN HERITAGE properties will get a makeover and repairs thanks to a funding grant. The district council granted $40,000 of funding to go towards restoration and maintenance work on the historic buildings. Tod Cottage in Lincoln has received $2500 for the roof to be re-done. The cottage on East Belt was built in 1858 and owned by pioneers William and Mary Tod who arrived in Canterbury in 1841. They lived in the house which also served as Lincoln’s first school as they educated their own children and other local children there. St John’s Church on High St in Leeston was granted $5500 to rebuild a brick fence which was damaged during the September 4, 2010, and February 22, 2011, earthquakes. The church dates from 1872, the church building also suffered earthquake damage and it too has been restored. Ellesmere Heritage Park Trust received $8500 to relocate a historic cottage from Wabys Rd in Southbridge to the heritage REBUILD: St John’s Church in Leeston will have its brick fence rebuilt after it was severally damaged in the earthquakes. park, located on Leeston Rd in Leeston. The trust plans to complete some preservation work on the building and develop it into a display for the public. Trust chairman Chris Peacock said it was a good step forward. “Securing the funding was important and now that we have that we can keep moving REPAIRS: Repairs to Tod Cottage in Lincoln will include reroofing the building. forward and work on getting the consents to have it in the park,” Mr Peacock said. The owner of a historic stable block in Glentunnel, located near the Millennium Walkway, also received $2000. The stables were built in 1877 and were used by the workers at the Homebush Brick and Tile Works to stable horses. The money will be used to install new beams to support the roof which has weakened over the years and with age. District council strategy and policy planner Jessica Tuilaepa, said keeping the heritage buildings in good condition is important. “The council is pleased to be able to fund work which will allow heritage buildings of importance to the community to be preserved for future generations to enjoy,” she said. Heritage grants were also made to 10 other property owners and three owners of heritage trees to undertake projects. In Brief REAPPOINTED Contracting company Sicon Ltd has been reappointed by the district council to operate the Pines Resource Recovery Park until 2022. Sicon has been operating the plant since it opened in 2006. It has also been reappointed to manage the district council’s water services network. Both appointments were made following service reviews and contract negotiations. FIRE OFFICERS APPOINTED Seven new rural fire officers have been appointed to manage volunteer rural fire forces in Selwyn. After recently completing training, Kelvin Green, Nigel Birse and John Hinchcliff have been appointed at West Melton, Edward Dance at Darfield, and Robbie Lambie, Bryan Smith and Kyle Steans have been appointed into district-wide roles. FARMING SEMINAR Canterbury sheep and beef farmers are being promised an afternoon of inspiration and motivation at the FarmSmart seminar to be held at Addington Raceway on July 28. It starts at noon and concludes in the evening with a panel discussion around genetic modification. Those wanting to attend should email theresa.laws@beeflambnz.com or sarah.oconnell@beeflambnz.com Organic Training College Learn from the experts Start a career in organics. Reduce your footprint and produce a regular supply of your own fruit and vegetables. Programme Information college@bhu.org.nz www.bhu.org.nz | 03 3253684 Courses • Organic Distance Programme Part time 1 year, enrol anytime • Year 1 Introduction to Organics 44 weeks, starts August 2016 (Lincoln Campus) • Year 2 Applied Organics 46 weeks, starts August 2016 (Lincoln Campus) All fees under $500 ‘Famous for their roasts!’ SCHOOL'S OUT! Treat the Kids! Kids two course special from RESTAURANT & CAFÉ Open daily from 6.30am - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner $ 10 Seniors SPECIAL Two courses Soup/Roast or Roast/Dessert $ 20 We are family friendly. Great Kids menu plus designated play area. Special available lunch only Monday - Saturday 12pm - 2.30pm Conditions apply. Racecourse Hotel Motorlodge 118 Racecourse Rd, Sockburn, Christchurch. Ph 03 342 7150 www.racecoursehotel.co.nz (opposite Riccarton Raceway)