Fashions may have changed since summer of 1976, but civic concerns seem to have remained much the same here in Dargaville

Familiar themes during 44 years

by Andy Bryenton

A small notebook delivered to the Kaipara Lifestyler this week details a community survey run by the Dargaville Jaycees in 1975, and highlights that the same concerns and aspirations prevailed then as now. The detailed questionnaire delved into matters of governance, roading, tourism and civic planning.

Respondents then, as now, listed their major concerns for the town as issues like dog control, refuse disposal, waiting times to see a doctor and the council-funded beautification of Dargaville’s town centre.

Some of the plans of 1975’s citizens have come to pass. Question 10 asked if a ‘borough picture theatre’ should be established; today, we enjoy the facilities of the ANZAC Theatre. Question nine queried whether the Hobson and Dargaville civic authorities should merge, and if they did so, would it be prudent to elect a mayor or simply rely on a chairperson of councillors.

Question seven drew a response, which has only come to fruition in 2019 — the desire for a round-the-clock police presence.

Others’ recommendations, such as banning all dogs from Dargaville, and imposing a strict 30-minute parking limit in the retail district, were not taken up. Of course, some of the questions asked remain pertinent today.

Question 12 asked ‘do you think efforts should be made to enlarge the population of Dargaville by industrial expansion?’ Question 15 pointedly enquires whether ‘tourism through the district suffers as a result of the condition of State Highway 12’.

Moreover, (no surprises) when asked ‘are you positively annoyed at the state of the surface of Normanby Street?’, a whopping 82 per cent of residents confirmed they were irate. The more things change, the more they stay the same.